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Louisiana Rep. Johnson nominated for speaker, full House vote on Wednesday

Louisiana's Rep. Mike Johnson received 128 votes in the closed-door GOP speaker election, but still needs 217 to win on the House floor. Democrats in the House are delighted at what they describe as "chaos."

Published: October 24, 2023 11:01pm

Updated: October 25, 2023 1:22pm

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., won the House speaker nomination on Tuesday night, becoming the fourth candidate to do so after the ousting of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy three weeks ago.

Johnson, vice chair of the House GOP conference, lost to House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., earlier on Tuesday but Emmer eventually dropped out due to opposition from enough Republicans to sink his ascension to the speakership on the House floor. 

Rather than stay in the running for speaker after Emmer’s exit, Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., who competed against Johnson and Emmer on Tuesday, dropped out and endorsed Johnson. 

Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., also ran in the election earlier Tuesday. He entered the race a second time but came up short against Johnson, who also defeated GOP Reps. Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee, Mark Green of Tennessee and Roger Williams of Texas. Johnson received 128 votes in the third round to clinch the nomination.

In a test vote, Johnson received yes votes from all but three Republicans in attendance. There were reportedly 19 GOP members not there and Johnson said he plans to reach out to them.

Johnson also said his “intention is to go to the House floor tomorrow” and make his win official, adding that the conference is united.

“Democracy is messy sometimes, but it is our system. This conference that you see, this House Republican majority, is united,” he said after the vote.

In the GOP conference meeting on Tuesday, Emmer won the nomination after five rounds with 117 votes, which is less votes than Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, when he ran for the speaker nomination. Emmer received slightly more than House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La. 

Jordan lost 3 rounds of voting on the House floor and Scalise dropped out before his nomination went to the House floor due to a lack of votes.

Emmer had a high hill to climb after 26 Republicans voted against him in a closed-door test vote plus former President Trump publicly opposed his nomination.

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., was one of the Republicans who voted against Emmer on Tuesday.

"I’ve supported every Republican nominee to be Speaker of the House so far, but I will not vote for Tom Emmer on the House floor. The left-flank of our conference blocked Speaker-designee Jim Jordan then nominated the single most liberal member of leadership to continue business as usual in Washington," he said in a statement.

"They are holding our conference hostage and pushing Republicans to betray our voters and abandon our promises to the American people. I won’t go along with it,” Banks also said.

The House hasn't had a chamber leader for 3 weeks since the Oct. 3 ousting of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. No votes have taken place in the House since McCarthy's removal.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who introduced the motion to vacate the chair, which led to McCarthy's ousting, also endorsed Johnson.

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, R-Fla., said a floor vote on Johnson is expected to take place Wednesday at noon.

In the meantime, Democratic members of the House appear delighted at the repeated GOP attempts to elect a speaker in mocking what they call "chaos" in the Republican Party. In a post on X, Rep. Steven Hosford, D-Nev., posted a meme that said: “I would like to see the chaos,” with the words “House Republicans,” below.

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