“It is incumbent upon us now to decide upon a consensus candidate who can serve as a trusted caretaker and a good steward of the gavel,” Johnson wrote. “We must govern well and expand our majority next year.”
House Republicans’ razor-thin majority has magnified and empowered the small group of lawmakers who ousted former speaker Kevin McCarthy.
Johnson joins a crowded field including Emmer (Minn.), Republican Study Committee Chair Rep. Kevin Hern (Okla.), Jack Bergman (Mich.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), and Rep. Austin Scott (Ga.) — who challenged Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) last week.
And that’s just the early contenders.
Lawmakers have until Sunday at noon to make their candidacy official before a Monday night candidate forum and a GOP Conference vote Tuesday morning.
Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry said he isn’t worried about a big candidate pool making it harder to settle on one pick. “We have a process, we have conference rules,” he said.
“Monday we are going to come back and start over,” Majority Leader Steve Scalise said Friday.
The new crop of contenders will spend the weekend working the phones and recruiting allies to do the same as they build their platform for the speakership. It’s the same way Jordan spent last weekend.
With McCarthy, Scalise and Jordan all felled by divisions within the conference, it is not likely that these new candidates can get the 217 votes needed to secure the gavel without a major repositioning within the House GOP.
“The space and time for a reset is, I think, an important thing for House Republicans,” McHenry said Friday, explaining why he thought the weekend break in the process was necessary.
McHenry promised that the House will hold a floor vote once the Republican conference settles on its next speaker candidate, the third in as many weeks. He did not, however, ask for the conference to advance a resolution to empower him to push forward legislation if the House falls short once again to elect a speaker.
Nicholas Wu contributed to this report.