By Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent @StacyBrownMedia
In the high-stakes Speaker of the House race, nine Republican candidates have stepped forward to vie for the gavel. Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan’s withdrawal ignited a contest that brought new and familiar faces to the forefront, while all 212 Democrats continue to support House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, a path forward to electing someone to lead the chamber remains unclear.
The competition among the candidates remains fierce, with each aspiring to secure the elusive 217 votes needed from
the House Republicans to claim the top spot in the House of Representatives. Here’s a look at the contenders:
1. Rep. Tom Emmer: The House majority whip from Minnesota has positioned himself as a candidate committed to delivering “historic change.” His bid received early support from Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who praised Emmer’s experience and ability to step into the role on day one.
2. Rep. Kevin Hern: The Oklahoma Republican, chair of the influential Republican Study Committee, is working hard to gather support. His earlier nomination by the House Freedom Caucus in a previous race indicates his conservative solid credentials.
3. Rep. Jack Bergman: A 40-year veteran of the US Marines, Bergman has a unique background. His military service and experience on the House Armed Services Committee have bolstered his qualifications for the Speaker’s position.
4. Rep. Austin Scott: The seven-term congressman from Georgia is a vocal ally of McCarthy and is making another run for Speaker. He emphasizes his long career in business and his dedication to conservative principles.
5. Rep. Byron Donalds: A Florida Republican and Freedom Caucus member, Donalds seeks the speakership to promote a conservative vision for the House and the American people. His alignment with far-right members was evident in previous protests against McCarthy.
6. Rep. Mike Johnson: The Louisiana Republican, who serves as the House Republican Conference vice chairman, has also thrown his hat into the ring. He emphasizes his experience and dedication to the conservative cause.
7. Rep. Pete Sessions: Hailing from Texas, Sessions describes himself as a “conservative leader who can unite the conference.” His past leadership roles in the National Republican Congressional Committee and House Rules Committee bolster his credentials.
8. Rep. Dan Meuser: Announced as a candidate by House GOP conference chair Elise Stefanik, Meuser brings business and political experience. His position on the Financial Services and Small Business Committees adds to his qualifications. 9. Rep. Gary Palmer: The Alabama Republican and chairman of the Republican Policy Committee is in the running. Palmer has advocated for conservative values and has experience on various House committees.
On Tuesday, Oct. 24, House Republicans plan to hold a candidate forum to assess the contenders, and it remains to be seen who will emerge as the top choice to lead the party in the House of Representatives.
In the background, the recent removal of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) continues to cast a shadow, particularly as the Nov. 17 government shutdown date approaches and war rages in the Middle East and in the North between Russia and Ukraine. Meanwhile, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) sent a scathing letter to Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and the other seven MAGA Republicans who supported the vote to remove McCarthy.
Multiple congressional journalists posted the sarcastic but damning message online. McClintock responded to an earlier letter that Gaetz and his far-right extremist wing of the Republican Party sent to their colleagues. Those who opposed Jordan’s speakership indicated that if it required something to persuade them to “vote with the team,” those lawmakers were “prepared to accept censure, suspension, or removal” from the conference. Although he claimed it was an error, Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, the eighth vote-getter who supported McCarthy’s removal, was also mentioned in the letter.
“Dear wayward colleagues,” McClintock’s letter began. “Your letter of October 20, in which you graciously offer to martyr yourselves as long as you can get your way, is perhaps the most selfless act in American history.” He continued, “I was certain that your stirring example of party discipline and loyalty to ‘vote with the team,’ as you so eloquently phrased it, would have inspired our Republican colleagues’ who refuse to vote’ with the Republican majority.” “We truly don’t deserve you,” he wrote.
McClintock suggested that his colleagues “plan your martyrdom in the only way that truly matters: to have the wisdom to see the damage you have done to our country and to have the courage to set things right before it is too late.”
He said he had included a proposed resolution “that perhaps one of you can offer as we begin the fourth week of national paralysis and as the world burns around us.” He signed off: “Your secret admirer, Tom McClintock.”