Mike Johnson becomes fourth Republican nominee for House speaker in chaotic race

Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, who was selected as the Republican nominee for House speaker earlier on Tuesday, announced his withdrawal from the race just hours later, citing his desire to unify the party and end the chaos. Emmer faced strong opposition from former President Donald Trump, who called him a “RINO” (Republican in name only) and said he was not loyal to his agenda. Emmer also failed to secure enough support from the hardline Freedom Caucus, which has been blocking the speaker election for weeks.

Emmer said he made his decision based on his relationship with the Republican conference, and not because of Trump’s influence. He said he would support whoever emerges as the new nominee. “We’ll get it done,” he said.

Mike Johnson

Johnson wins majority in secret ballot

After Emmer’s withdrawal, Republicans returned to their closed-door meeting to choose another nominee. The attention quickly turned to Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, who was the second highest vote-getter in the morning’s internal ballots. Johnson, 51, is a lower-ranked member of the House GOP leadership team and a close ally of Trump. He is also a former constitutional law attorney and a staunch conservative.

Johnson won a majority of votes in three rounds of secret balloting on Tuesday evening, beating Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Elise Stefanik of New York. He was announced as the new nominee by Stefanik, who is the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference. Johnson was greeted with cheers and chants of “Mike! Mike! Mike!” by his colleagues, who surrounded him and posed for selfies in a show of support.

Challenges ahead for Johnson

Johnson faces a tough challenge ahead as he tries to win the speaker’s gavel on the House floor on Wednesday. He needs at least 217 votes to become the speaker, which means he can only afford to lose a handful of votes from his own party. However, there are still about 20 GOP holdouts who have not committed to any nominee, and some of them may vote for someone else or abstain.

Johnson also has to deal with the opposition from Democrats, who have been criticizing the Republicans for their inability to elect a speaker and reopen the House, which has been unable to pass any bills since Kevin McCarthy’s ouster on October 3. Democrats have accused Republicans of being beholden to Trump and his base, and of ignoring the urgent issues facing the country.

Johnson said he is confident that he can unite his party and lead the House effectively. He said he has a good relationship with Trump and respects his role in the party, but he also said he is willing to work with Democrats on common ground issues. He said he wants to restore order and civility in the House, and focus on the people’s agenda.

“I’m humbled by this opportunity,” Johnson said. “I’m ready to get to work.”

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