Update: When it became clear later on Tuesday afternoon that Emmer did not have the support needed to become speaker, especially after Trump spoke out against him being the nominee, Emmer dropped out. He had been the nominee for a mere few hours.
Earlier on Tuesday, Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN) received the nomination for Speaker of the House after the conference went through several rounds of ballot voting, making him the third nominee for speaker over three weeks.
Earlier this month, eight Republicans joined with all Democrats to oust Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as speaker after Rep. Matt Gaetz filed a motion to vacate the chair. Among the other candidates running for speaker this time included Republican Reps. Gary Palmer (AL), Pete Sessions (TX), Austin Scott (GA), Jack Bergman (MI), Kevin Hern (OK), Byron Donalds (FL), and Mike Johnson (LA).
Following Emmer’s nomination, however, 26 Republicans have already declared that they would not vote for Emmer on the House floor, way beyond the amount of defections he can afford to lose.
He had also won less votes than House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH), the Republican Party’s second nominee, did in conference. Jordan also had less defections on the House floor, assuming these 26 do not change their mind.
Although Emmer, who had served as the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) chairman for 2022, won enough votes to become the majority whip against Reps. Drew Ferguson (R-GA) and Jim Banks (R-IN), that too had been a contentious fight.
Further, Emmer may have won on accident, given that a Republican member admitted to accidentally voting incorrectly.
As Townhall covered at the time of the whip race, concerns abound from members with regards to Emmer’s feelings toward former and potentially future President Donald Trump and how he is perceived to be less conservative on certain issues. This includes but isn’t limited to social issues, which has many members concerned.
Rep. Rick Allen (R-GA) says he’s “very concerned” about House Speaker candidate Rep. Tom Emmer’s (R-MN) vote for the Respect for Marriage Act, which federally recognized states’ same-sex and interracial marriages.
CNN’s @mkraju: “Any way you would vote for him?”
Allen: “No.” pic.twitter.com/W66GpBRXmK
— The Recount (@therecount) October 24, 2023
Scott Perry, leader of the House Freedom Caucus, said he “never” says “never” against a particular candidate but makes clear he has concerns about Tom Emmer’s votes on spending bills. “I’m concerned about that,” he said this AM pic.twitter.com/MIEaHmvs9d
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 24, 2023
When it comes to concerns with his relationship with Trump, POLITICO covered responses to certain issues, such as a lack of endorsing Trump in 2024. As the outlet also covered, Trump is reportedly opposed to an Emmer speakership.
Upon Emmer actually getting the nomination, though, Trump put out a TruthSocial post airing his grievances with such a pick, early on referring to him as a “RINO” and lamenting Emmer “never respected the Power of a Trump Endorsement, or the breadth and scope of MAGA…” Trump was particularly fired up about how Emmer “fought me all the way, and actually spent more time defending Ilhan Omar, than he did me,” adding Emmer “is totally out-of-touch with Republican voters.”
“I believe he has now learned his lesson, because he is saying that he is Pro-Trump all the way, but who can ever be sure?,” Trump wondered.
“Voting for a Globalist RINO like Tom Emmer would be a tragic mistake!,” the post reads in conclusion. If House Republicans take Trump’s position, Emmer could very well be doomed.
In September of last year, National Review put out a deep dive report on Emmer’s views, which read in part:
…Emmer, who has served as the NRCC chair since 2019, has generally aligned with the middle of the GOP establishment — his 2021 ACU score was 74 percent, making him the 202nd-most conservative Republican in Congress according to that scale. Aspects of his record on immigration and cultural issues have invited criticism from some conservatives.
Emmer’s overall record reflects a more moderate streak: His Heritage Action scorecard rating for the 117th Congress was 89 percent — 60 members away from the lowest-scoring Republican, Representative Brian Fitzpatrick — and behind both Ferguson and Banks, who were both awarded 95 percent ratings from the conservative advocacy group. In an emailed statement, NRCC communications director Michael Adams told NR that “Chairman Emmer is focused on the most important issue right now: firing Nancy Pelosi and electing a conservative Republican House majority.” But aspects of the NRCC’s chair record have also invited criticism from both social conservatives and some Trump-aligned activists and commentators.
On social issues, the top Republican raised eyebrows by voting to codify the right to same-sex marriage earlier this year, and was one of just nine Republicans to join House Democrats in voting to block the Trump administration’s ban on transgender soldiers in the military in 2019. (Banks and Ferguson were both among the 182 Republicans who voted against the measure.) Emmer has also backed efforts to mandate sexual-orientation and gender-identity (SOGI) protections for government contractors on four different occasions, including in a 2016 vote for the ratification of a 2014 Obama executive order. All of these initiatives were the subject of fierce criticism from social conservatives. Heritage Action, which opposed the measure — known as the Maloney Amendment — argued that “in practice, it would have required federal contractors to grant biologically male employees who identify as women unfettered access to women’s lockers, showers, and bathrooms.”
The feud between Banks and Emmer looks to be spilling into the speaker’s race as well, with Banks speaking out against the idea of electing such a “moderate” member. Banks won’t be voting for Emmer.
Right at publication time, Banks’ office sent out a press release confirming he will not vote for Emmer. “House Republicans need to get back to work so we can fight the Biden administration’s radical woke agenda, secure the border, stand with Israel, and cut wasteful spending. First, we need to elect a Speaker who is committed to that conservative agenda,” the statement from Banks read. “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. 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,” the statement continued, airing grievances about Jordan’s run for speaker.
BANKS says House Rs shouldn’t put one of the “most moderate members of the entire Republican conference in the speaker’s chair,” per @jordainc
“I hope there’s a change along the way.”
Adds that he wont vote for Emmer on the floor: “Emmer’s not a conservative” https://t.co/MoTdS2ilzm
— Olivia Beavers (@Olivia_Beavers) October 24, 2023
“That betrays the conservative values that I came here to fight for. So I hope there’s a change along the way. He doesn’t have the support in the room right now,” said Banks, who previously ran against Emmer for whip in a heated race
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 24, 2023
And yet another concern is that Emmer may be a Republican who Democrats feel they could work with and may even express a willingness to help get the gavel. Earlier on Tuesday, before Emmer even won the nomination, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) expresed the willingness to sit out the vote to lower the threshold.
— Heather Caygle (@heatherscope) October 24, 2023
NEWS in @PunchbowlNews AM — House DEM leadership already beginning to think about purposeful absences to allow EMMER, who voted to certify election, to ascend if there are steep GOP defections https://t.co/G2hp4IgwBs
— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) October 24, 2023
Yet another way Democrats might become involved is if Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) puts forth his resolution to empower Acting Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-NC). That plan had been briefly considered last Thursday, when Jordan was still the nominee, but was quickly scrapped. Many members, including Banks and Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) were particularly vocal in their opposition and outrage about such a plan.
House Republicans will break until 4:00pm on Tuesday.
“Emmer” and “Tom Emmer” have been trending over Monday and Tuesday on X in response to the possibility and now reality of Emmer becoming the nominee, with “No to Emmer” also trending. Many users have taken to the platform to express their concerns.
Rep. Tom Emmer:
-Democrats want him to be Speaker
-Wants to nuke the electoral college
-Voted to certify the 2020 election
-Voted for every Ukraine aid bill
-Defended Rep. Ilhan Omar
-Has a 69% Liberty Score
If this is the best Republicans have to offer,…
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) October 24, 2023
Tom Emmer has won the secret GOP
Vote to be the Speaker nominee
We the People do NOT want Tom Emmer
Time for the Patriot 20 to do what they did to McCarthy in January and hold the lime against this RINO https://t.co/08p0klCkvk
— DC_Draino (@DC_Draino) October 24, 2023
Tom Emmer has just received the nomination to be the House Speaker.
This was done via a secret ballot.
We can expect some Republicans to block this on the floor, but Democrats are now saying they will help get Emmer over the finish line.
The GOP establishment has given the…
— Joey Mannarino (@JoeyMannarinoUS) October 24, 2023