House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), candidate for speaker of the House, arrives at a Republican speaker election meeting in Washington, D.C. on October 24, 2023.

(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Tom Emmer, Third GOP Speaker Nominee, Drops Out After a Few Hours

As former President Donald Trump attacked him, some progressives argued that "Democrats should only support a speaker that would disempower the Freedom Caucus through a power-sharing agreement."

Just hours after Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives selected Majority Whip Tom Emmer as their third speaker nominee in as many weeks, the Minnesota congressman dropped out of the race Tuesday afternoon.

Congressman Lance Gooden (R-Texas) toldCNN that Emmer "wanted to do what's best for the conference and he didn't have the votes so he pulled his name down and got a standing ovation, and so now we're moving onto the next phase," which is a Tuesday night candidate forum.

Emmer's short-lived campaign followed failed bids by Reps. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) in the weeks since a few far-right Republicans joined with Democrats to oust former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), whose January election required 15 rounds of voting.

Over two dozen House Republicans opposed Emmer's bid, leaving him short of the 217 votes necessary for election to the leadership role, and former President Donald Trump—the GOP's 2024 presidential front-runner, despite his legal trouble—spoke out against him on Tuesday.

Trump said on social media that Emmer "never respected the Power of a Trump Endorsement, or the breadth and scope of MAGA," his campaign slogan Make American Great Again, and "voting for a Globalist RINO," or Republican in name only, like him "would be a tragic mistake!"

While some GOP opponents of Emmer tried to paint him as too "moderate," progressives on Tuesday stressed that the Minnesota Republican is anything but, given his record on the 2020 election, reproductive healthcare, the climate emergency, and more.

"So Republicans have picked Tom Emmer as their next speaker nominee. I hear some people alleging he's 'not as bad' as some options," DemCast's Nick Knudsen said on social media Tuesday before the congressman withdrew.

Emmer voted against "the Violence Against Women Act, ensuring our right to contraception, improved red flag laws and banning of high capacity magazines, establishment of a January 6th commission, capping insulin costs at $35, bipartisan infrastructure, and the banning of wage discrimination based on gender (to name a few)," he highlighted. "Sounds pretty bad to me."

Indivisible on Tuesday reiterated a message the progressive group sent last week to every single House Democrat, which says in part that "while House Republicans remain in disarray and are unable to elect a speaker, Democrats have been united around their shared values—prioritizing people over politics and governing effectively."

The message notably went out before Republicans made clear that they won't support temporarily empowering Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) to pass spending bills before a potential government shutdown in mid-November.

"Indivisible encourages all House Democrats to stay united and only consider plans that also include a strong power-sharing agreement," the group added. "An agreement would disempower the Freedom Caucus and empower Democrats to meaningfully govern, mitigating Republican disarray. Any agreement would also need to be codified in the rules of the House."

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