Republicans exude optimism as fourth speaker candidate heads to the House floor
House Republicans were jubilant when they coalesced around a new speaker nominee after a day of marathon-closed door meetings on Tuesday.
GOP Conference Vice Chair Mike Johnson, R-La., became speaker-designate on Tuesday evening, the fourth Republican nominee in three weeks.
But House GOP lawmakers insisted that their conference is finally on the same page and ready to unite under Johnson’s leadership — teeing up a House-wide vote Wednesday just after noon.
‘My wife…and I were talking, and I said, if we can get somebody like a Mike Johnson, we would be very fortunate,’ Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., told reporters after the vote.
‘I think he would be an excellent choice because… he’s very cerebral,’ Burchett said. ‘And he’s kind of a goober… but I dig that about him. There’s an old saying in east Tennessee, ‘He’s cleaner than a hound’s tooth.”
Burchett was one of eight House Republicans who voted to oust ex-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., three weeks ago Tuesday. He said Johnson ‘brings something to the table that’s lacking in Washington.’
Rep. Michael Cloud, R-Texas, one of the original 20 lawmakers to oppose McCarthy’s speakership bid in January, called Johnson a ‘capable’ and ‘good man.’
‘I think it was important to make sure that we got the right person for the American people,’ he told Fox News Digital.
Johnson also scored the support of leadership like Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., the No. 2 House Republican who was tapped as McCarthy’s original replacement — before dropping out of the race due to mounting opposition.
‘Mike is honest, hardworking, and principled — he is a great man and will make a great speaker. I look forward to continuing to work with my good friend to get this country back on track and deliver results for American families who deserve better from Washington,’ Scalise said in a statement.
House Republicans had gathered earlier in the day for a speaker election where Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., came out on top. But opposition, including from former President Donald Trump, forced him to drop out hours later.
GOP lawmakers hastily scheduled another candidate forum where Johnson emerged on top after previously coming in second to Emmer.
A subsequent roll call vote where members were called upon by name to say whether they would support Johnson on the floor saw no one vote against him, and just a few lawmakers voting ‘present.’ Johnson vowed to uphold conservative values in a press conference after the vote, in which all the House Republicans present flanked him and jubilantly cheered.
However, multiple lawmakers estimated that about 19 members were missing — a significant factor in the Wednesday vote.
Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., who opposed House Republicans’ second speaker-designate, Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said ‘I don’t think so’ when asked if the absences will pose a problem for Johnson.
And Rep. Ben Cline, R-Va., told Fox News Digital, ‘All the different factions came together, and we’re confident that the members who weren’t here will recognize the unity that we have [and] importance of the mission ahead.’