Nine Republicans are running for U.S. House speaker. Here’s your guide to the field. | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

WASHINGTON – The nine Republican candidates to be speaker of the U.S. House were set to make their cases to their colleagues Monday evening, as the House Republican Conference restarted its process to choose a candidate.

The chamber has been in turmoil since eight Republicans voted with all House Democrats to remove Speaker Kevin McCarthy from the post last month. The conference has been unable to unite behind a single candidate.

Nine men are now jockeying for the position, having filed by a noon Sunday deadline. Next the conference is expected to hold a vote or likely multiple votes behind closed doors Tuesday to try to settle on a nominee, then bring that nominee to the floor.

With the exception of Minnesota’s Tom Emmer, the House majority whip, the group is not particularly well known outside of their districts.

Seven of the nine voted at least once to object to certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election, in line with former President Donald Trump’s position.

With Republicans holding only a 221-212 majority, any would-be speaker will need near-unanimous support from Republicans — a tall order for a deeply divided conference largely still loyal to the former president, but with some members in vulnerable seats.

“It’s a nearly impossible task,” Peter Loge, a professor at the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University, told States Newsroom. “Because you have to be as conservative and angry and election-denying as Matt Gaetz, but as reasonable and a believer in compromise and democratic institutions as the New York moderates. And you can’t be both at the same time.”

In hopes that Republicans will rally around whoever the party nominates this time, Rep. Mike Flood of Nebraska introduced a “unity pledge” for members to sign. As of Monday afternoon, eight of the nine candidates — all but Gary Palmer of Alabama — have signed the pledge, according to Flood’s office.

“Everyone running for Speaker should sign this,” Michigan Republican Jack Bergman, one of the nine contenders, wrote on X.

Loge said the field can be divided into long-term members with institutionalist tendencies –– Emmer and Texas’ Pete Sessions, for example –– and newer members such as Florida’s Byron Donalds, who are more in line with the conference’s anti-establishment wing.

The next speaker will immediately face a challenge in passing spending bills or a short-term funding measure to keep the government open past a Nov. 17 deadline, as well as an aid package to Israel and Ukraine amid ongoing wars and a farm bill reauthorization.

States Newsroom put together the guide below to help readers get to know the candidates:

Jack Bergman of Michigan

First elected in 2016, Bergman is a retired U.S. Marine Corps lieutenant general. He sits on the Armed Services, Veterans’ Affairs and Budget committees.

He’s said his priorities as speaker would include funding the government, especially the military, homeland security and aid to foreign allies.

In announcing his candidacy, Bergman suggested he would stay in the position only through the end of the current Congress,

“We need a leader who shuns permanent power and recognizes the current crisis of leadership,” he said.

How he’s voted:

  • Certifying the 2020 election: No
  • Sept. 30 continuing resolution to keep government open: Yes
  • Sept. 28 Ukraine aid bill: Yes

Who’s supporting him: Other members of Michigan’s House GOP delegation. They are John James, John Moolenaar, Tim Walberg and Lisa McClain.

Byron Donalds of Florida

A member of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, Donalds is a favorite of the Trump wing of the party. He voted against certifying the 2020 election and has said as recently as July that President Joe Biden is not legitimate.

First elected in 2020, Donalds, 44, is the youngest to join the field and has been in the House for the shortest time.

He has said his priorities would be to improve border security and “responsibly” pass funding bills.

He sits on the Financial Services Committee. Before coming to Congress, he worked in the finance industry.

The only non-white Republican candidate for speaker, Donalds would be the first Black speaker.

How he’s voted:

  • Certifying the 2020 election: No
  • Sept. 30 continuing resolution to keep government open: Did not vote
  • Sept. 28 Ukraine aid bill: No

Who’s supporting him: fellow Florida Republicans Carlos Gimenez, Mario Diaz-Balart and Mike Waltz.

Tom Emmer of Minnesota

Currently the No. 3 House Republican, Emmer is considered by some the frontrunner for the top spot and has McCarthy’s endorsement.

In an appearance on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” on Sunday, McCarthy praised Emmer’s experience as part of his leadership team.

“He sets himself, head and shoulders, above all those others who want to run,” McCarthy said.

Emmer also developed relationships across the conference when he chaired the House Republican campaign operation in the 2020 and 2022 cycles.

Emmer is one of only two candidates for speaker who voted consistently to certify the 2020 election results. That could make his path harder with the most fervent Trump supporters in the House GOP.

Emmer posted a video of Trump on Monday saying that he had “always gotten along” with Emmer and saying he would stay out of the speaker race. Emmer wrote that as speaker he would continue their “strong working relationship.”

He won his House seat in 2014 following an unsuccessful run for Minnesota governor.

In his letter to colleagues announcing his candidacy, Emmer highlighted national debt and spending, national security and border security as major issues.

How he’s voted:

  • Certifying the 2020 election: Yes
  • Sept. 30 continuing resolution to keep government open: Yes
  • Sept. 28 Ukraine aid bill: Yes

Who’s supporting him: McCarthy.

Kevin Hern of Oklahoma

The chair of the conservative House Republican Study Committee, Hern could seek support from budget hawks.

The Institute for Legislative Analysis, a limited-government group, gave Hern the highest marks of any candidate for fiscal and tax issues.

Hern has not been shy about his leadership aspirations. He publicly weighed a run for speaker shortly after McCarthy stepped down, but opted not to join that race. He has said he at one time dreamed of being an astronaut.

In a letter to colleagues, Hern said Congress has not run well for decades, citing the number of unauthorized programs and a lack of regular order for spending bills. He also listed illegal immigration and drug overdose deaths as problems that Congress should address.

Hern won a special election for his House seat in 2018. Hern owns several McDonald’s franchises in Oklahoma.

How he’s voted:

  • Certifying the 2020 election: No
  • Sept. 30 continuing resolution to keep government open: No
  • Sept. 28 Ukraine aid bill: No

Mike Johnson of Louisiana

As the vice chairman of the House Republican Conference, Johnson is something of an establishment candidate. He’s also a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, which Rep. Jim Jordan, the conference’s previous nominee, chairs.

But Johnson also has conservative bonafides, having previously chaired the House Republican Study Committee.

In his letter to colleagues asking for support, Johnson highlighted the national debt, border security, crime and inflation as major issues.

An attorney, Johnson was on Trump’s defense team for the former president’s Senate impeachment trials in 2019 and 2020.

How he’s voted:

  • Certifying the 2020 election: No
  • Sept. 30 continuing resolution to keep government open: No
  • Sept. 28 Ukraine aid bill: No

Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania

Meuser announced Sunday that he’s running for speaker.

Before being elected to the House in 2018, he served as former Pennsylvania Gov. Tim Corbett’s Secretary of Revenue from 2011 to 2015. He has a background in the financial industry.

He sits on the House Financial Services Committee and House Committee on Small Business.

In his candidacy announcement on X, Meuser wrote, “Our current challenge as a Conference is not policy or fundraising but unity. Throughout my life, I have been a fervent proponent for teamwork and the greater good over individual gain.”

Meuser said in the statement that his vision for the speaker’s office includes prioritizing the needs of every member’s district, a “transparent” steering committee that meets weekly to discuss priorities and legislation, more inclusive fundraising among members, and to “decentralize communications,” as well as use the office to serve as a “hub for member inquiries.”

Meuser also outlined a budget and economic growth commission.

How he’s voted:

  • Certifying the 2020 election: He voted to certify Arizona’s election results, but objected to those from his home state.
  • Sept. 30 continuing resolution to keep government open: Yes
  • Providing aid to Ukraine in September’s supplemental spending bill: No

Gary Palmer of Alabama

Palmer called for GOP unity in his speaker candidacy announcement.

“There is a distinct difference between our vision for a prosperous and strong America and the vision of the Democrats that has done so much harm,” Palmer said in his statement on X.

Palmer said he “decided to step forward” as a candidate “to do what I can to put our differences behind us and unite Republicans behind a clear path forward, so we can do our job for the benefit of the American people.”

His statement also cited the concerns American families have about the cost of living, child safety, crime in urban areas, fentanyl, federal bankruptcy and national security.

Palmer was first elected to the House in 2014.

Palmer serves as the chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee. He also sits on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, as well as the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability.

He led the Alabama Policy Institute for 24 years before joining Congress. The Alabama Policy Institute is a conservative think tank with core values surrounding free markets, limited government and “strong families,” according to the organization’s website.

How he’s voted:

  • Certifying the 2020 election: No
  • Sept. 30 continuing resolution to keep government open: No
  • Sept. 28 Ukraine aid bill: No

Austin Scott of Georgia

Scott received 81 votes when he ran for speaker earlier this month against Jordan, an Ohio Republican.

“If we are going to be the majority we need to act like the majority, and that means we have to do the right things the right way,” Scott said in his announcement Friday that he will run again for speaker of the House following Jordan’s withdrawal.

He is one of only two members to vote consistently to certify the 2020 presidential election.

Scott has been a House member since 2011.

Scott sits on the House Armed Services Committee and the Agriculture Committee. He chairs the House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities, Risk Management and Credit.

How he’s voted:

  • Certifying the 2020 election: Yes
  • Sept. 30 continuing resolution to keep government open: Yes
  • Sept. 28 Ukraine aid bill: Yes

Pete Sessions of Texas

Sessions has been in Congress the longest of any of the candidates.

Sessions was initially elected to represent the eastern Dallas district in 1999 and continued to serve until he lost to Rep. Colin Allred in 2018. Sessions was then reelected in 2020, this time to represent the district surrounding Waco.

He chaired the National Republican Congressional Committee from 2009 to 2012. Republicans regained control of the House in 2010. He also chaired the House Rules Committee from 2013 to 2019.

Sessions voted against the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act last year, as well as the codification of same-sex marriage.

In 2019, Sessions was caught in a scandal when he was referred to in an indictment of two men charged with violating campaign finance rules.

How he’s voted:

  • Certifying the 2020 election: No
  • Sept. 30 continuing resolution to keep government open: Yes
  • Sept. 28 Ukraine aid bill: Yes



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