New name emerges in House speaker race

October 15, 2023
Robert Ayers

U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson's (R-LA) name has been thrown in to the race for House speaker. 

The Washington Examiner reports:

The continuing battle for the gavel might have a new Republican contender if speaker-designee Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) fails to secure the votes needed on the House floor. Multiple GOP members are floating Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) as an interested candidate if Jordan is short 217 votes, per a source familiar.


The House is still in need of a speaker following the ouster of former speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

Since then, two clear frontrunners have emerged to take McCarthy's seat: U.S. Reps. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Jim Jordan (R-OH). Initially, Scalise narrowly won the House GOP's nomination. But, after it became clear that he did not have the necessary votes to become speaker, he withdrew his name from the running.

As a result, Jordan became the frontrunner, earning his party's nomination. It appears, at the time of this writing, that Jordan is still the frontrunner, but it is still not clear if he actually has the support needed to become speaker.

It is true that House Republicans have the votes that they need to put a candidate of their choice into the speaker chair. But, they have yet to unite behind a candidate. Jordan is said to be about 12 votes shy of the 217 vote threshold.

This is why other names are being thrown into the mix, in case Jordan's bid - like Scalise's - should fail.

Is Johnson the guy?

Before we get to this question, Johnson, himself, has made it clear that, for now, he is standing behind Jordan.

On X on Friday, he wrote:

I have been humbled to have many Members from across our Conference reach out to encourage me to seek the nomination for Speaker. After much prayer &deliberation, I have decided at this time not to enter the race but to defer to one of my closest friends and brothers, Jim Jordan.

Johnson followed this message up with another one, writing:

Jim Jordan is our elected GOP Conference nominee, arguably our best known conservative champion, and a trusted friend & brother to me. I am doing all I can to help him become our next Speaker so we can get Congress reopened & return quickly to American people’s urgent business.

So, it is clear where Johnson stands.

As to the question of whether Johnson has more support among House Republicans than Jordan, the answer, at the time of this writing, remains unclear. Jordan is said to be very popular.

What now?

It appears that, for now, House Republicans' plan is to see if they can get everyone to unite behind Jordan. It also appears possible that a floor vote may be held regarding a Jordan speakership.

If this effort succeeds, then Jordan will become the next speaker. If not, then it will be on to the next candidate, which may just be Johnson.

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