Republicans Pick Mike Johnson As Latest House Speaker Nominee

U.S. Representative Mike Johnson is surrounded by fellow members as he speaks to reporters after securing the nomination for House Speaker from the Republican conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. October 24, 2023. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Republicans have picked Congressman Mike Johnson as their latest nominee for the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

He is the fourth nominee put forward after three others failed to win enough support from colleagues, and the second nominee of the day.

Mr Johnson was selected after three rounds of voting late on Tuesday.

The House has been without a Speaker and has been unable to pass bills since Kevin McCarthy was ousted on 3 October.

The selection of Louisiana’s Mr Johnson, 51, was announced by House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik.

Republicans only hold a narrow majority over Democrats in the lower chamber of Congress, so their nominee can only afford to lose a handful of votes from their own side to win.

Mr Johnson’s nomination came only hours after the prior nominee, Majority Whip Tom Emmer, dropped out after failing to attract enough support.

It remains unclear whether Mr Johnson will have the 217 votes – a simple majority in the House – that he needs to win the gavel.

In voting earlier on Tuesday Mr Johnson came in second place to Mr Emmer, before the Minnesota representative withdrew after former President Donald Trump spoke out against him.

According to Ms Stefanik, in the final round of voting Mr Johnson received 128 votes while Congressman Byron Donald came in second with 29.

Mr Johnson’s nomination is expected to receive a full vote in the House as soon as Wednesday afternoon. If he fails, Republicans will be back to the drawing board once again.

Wisconsin Congressman Mike Gallagher told Politico that he doubts that Mr Johnson could win enough votes in the House.

“We keep doing the same thing over and over again, which I think is the definition of insanity, last time I checked,” he said.

Mr Johnson is a lawyer and former talk radio host who has served on the House since 2016. He is also the former chairman of the Republican Study Committee and is considered a close ally of Mr Jordan.

In 2020, Mr Johnson was considered a key player in the bid to object to Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.

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