Home Top Stories Rep. Mike Johnson plans to launch House speaker bid if Jim Jordan falters

Rep. Mike Johnson plans to launch House speaker bid if Jim Jordan falters

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Rep. Mike Johnson plans to launch House speaker bid if Jim Jordan falters

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WASHINGTON — Another Republican is prepared to throw their hat in the ring if GOP nominee Jim Jordan stumbles in his quest for the speaker’s gavel.

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., a member of the GOP leadership team, plans to jump into the race if Jordan, R-Ohio, can’t secure the 217 votes needed by early next week, according to a source familiar with the lawmaker’s plans.

“If Jordan cannot get to 217, Johnson intends to step up,” the source said. “Many members are asking him to do so.”

Politico first reported that Johnson likely will run if Jordan drops out.

In a statement Friday, Johnson said he is fully backing Jordan, the chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee, and working to get him elected speaker.

“Jim is the elected Republican Conference nominee, arguably our best known conservative champion and a trusted friend and brother to me,” Johnson said. “I am doing all I can to help him become our next Speaker so we can get Congress reopened and return quickly to the urgent business of the American people.”

Johnson, who was first elected to Congress in 2016 and has served as the GOP Conference vice chair since 2021, is popular and well-liked among his Republican colleagues, and has carefully avoided making many political enemies on Capitol Hill.

If the math doesn’t work out in Jordan’s favor for a floor vote, Johnson would seek to be a consensus candidate, attempting to bridge hard-right conservatives and moderates who have been waging a war against each other in the 10 days since Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was unceremoniously stripped of the speaker’s gavel in a historic vote.

Johnson, 51, has followed a path similar to two of his political mentors: Majority Leader Steve Scalise, a fellow Louisianan, and Jordan. All three served as head of the Republican Study Committee, the largest caucus of conservatives in Congress, before moving up to leadership posts.

But after defeating Jordan and winning the nomination for speaker on Wednesday, Scalise abandoned his bid the next day after it became clear he could not cobble together the 217 votes needed on the House floor.

On Friday, Jordan won his party’s nomination for speaker on his second try, defeating little-known Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga. But in a secret-ballot vote, 55 Republicans said they would not back Jordan on the House floor. That means Jordan has his work cut out for him this weekend: To win the speaker’s gavel, he can only afford to lose four GOP votes given the party’s miniscule majority.

Johnson is likely to have company if Jordan bows out. Some of Jordan’s other supporters are also being mentioned by GOP colleagues as possible contenders if another nominee is needed.

They include Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., Republican Study Committee Kevin Hern, R-Okla., and Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., who was nominated for speaker by fellow Freedom Caucus members in the January race that ended up going 15 rounds on the House floor.

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