Divided House Republicans meet once again to elect a speaker | ET REALITY


House Republicans will meet Tuesday to vote once again on a presidential candidate, as the partisan dispute that has paralyzed the chamber enters its third week.

Seven Republicans are now vying for the seat, reflecting deep divisions within the House GOP. The party began meeting at 9 a.m. and had to remain cloistered behind closed doors for much of the day, holding multiple rounds of secret voting to try to unite. around one of them, each time eliminating the one who obtained the fewest votes.

Even before voting began Tuesday, one candidate, Rep. Gary Palmer of Alabama, dropped out. He said the House needed a speaker three weeks ago and that “if withdrawing my name can help speed up that process even a little bit, then I will gladly step aside.”

If a candidate is chosen, a vote in the House of Representatives could take place as soon as Tuesday afternoon, but there is no guarantee that the winner will have the 217 votes needed to be elected, a threshold that has eluded both latest nominees.

“I don’t think anyone has that right now,” Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida, one of the candidates, said Monday night. “I think we’re going to have to work for it.”

The House has been frozen since Oct. 3, when far-right rebels forced a vote to impeach Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Eight Republicans backed that measure along with Democrats, who remained united behind their own leader, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York. In the weeks since, Republicans have repeatedly tried, unsuccessfully, to unite around a successor, even as wars rage abroad and a government shutdown looms.

“Although I would not have carried out the eviction, we have done it; here we are,” said Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, referring to the motion to impeach Mr. McCarthy. “The American people are watching this and we’re looking at candidates and we’re going to run and see who we want to support.”

Among the leading candidates for president are Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the Republican leader; Donalds, a charismatic younger member of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus; Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee; and Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, an evangelical Christian and attorney who plays a prominent role on the Judiciary Committee.

Donalds said Monday that he would work through the night to try to get more votes.

“We need to get back to work,” he said. “We need to finish our accounts. We have to continue fighting to secure our border.” And he added: “I believe I am the member who can help us unite our conference.”

Other contenders include Rep. Jack Bergman of Michigan, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general; Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia, who last week filed a surprise challenge for speaker; and Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, former chairman of the Rules Committee.

“We have a good group of people across our conference,” said Rep. Mike Garcia of California, who represents a district won by President Biden. “These eight or nine are great candidates, but the reality is that there are probably three or four who are in a better position than the others. Tomorrow we will open that black box.”

Garcia said he supported Emmer because he voted to keep the government open, unlike some of his competitors. It is important to me to have a leader who “is not intentionally pushing the government toward a shutdown,” Garcia said.

A lesser-known candidate, Rep. Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania, dropped out Monday night as discussions began about the next nominee.

Meuser said his constituents were furious and wanted the House to get back to work.

“The American people, my constituents, are furious,” he said. “They are frustrated, they are angry. They don’t blame anyone, just the eight, they don’t blame Joe Biden. “They are blaming us, they are blaming me.”

All but two candidates in the race, Emmer and Scott, voted to oppose certifying Biden’s 2020 victory in at least one state.

All but two, Hern and Johnson, voted in favor of a stopgap spending bill introduced by McCarthy, the president at the time, to avoid a shutdown. Mr. Donalds was absent from the vote.

Catie Edmondson, Robert Jimison and Kayla Guo contributed with reports.

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