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What to know about Speaker hopeful Tom Emmer

After Republicans voted Friday to no longer back House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) as their Speaker nominee, the House is scrambling to find a new candidate.

That decision came after Jordan failed for a third time to garner the 217 votes needed to secure the gavel.

Several GOP members have since announced that they are running for the role, while others are spending the weekend making calls about potentially entering the race. The next nominee will be the third in 17 days — after a historic vote ousted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) was first nominated for the post, but resistance to his candidacy forced him to withdraw a day later.

The field of those vying to be the new nominee is quickly becoming crowded. The House will return Monday evening to choose a new nominee.

In a letter to fellow House Republicans, Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) announced Saturday that he would be seeking the nomination.

Here’s what you need to know about Emmer.

Time in the Minnesota House of Representatives

Before being elected to Congress, Emer served three terms as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2005 to 2011.

He served on several committees while in state office, including committees for Finance, Health Care and Human Services Policy and Oversight, along with the State and Local Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections Committee.

Emmer announced in 2009 that he would run for governor — even receiving an endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R).

The gubernatorial race attracted national attention because Target donated $150,000 to a political action committee that paid for advertisements supporting Emmer’s run. However, protests erupted over the donation.

Emmer ultimately lost — by less than a percentage point — to his Democratic opponent Mark Dayton, who served in the office until 2019.

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Two terms running the NRCC as a member of the House

Emmer officially announced he would seek the Republican nomination for Minnesota’s 6th District after former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) announced she would vacate her seat.

He received endorsements from several conservative groups, including the Tea Party Express and Young Americans for Liberty, as well as many Minnesota legislators.

He beat out Joe Perske in the general election, earning 56 percent of the vote.

Emmer then served a full two terms as the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) from 2019 to 2023.

Elected as House majority whip

When Republicans gained control of the House in the 2022 midterm elections, Emmer ran for the House majority whip, successfully earning the coveted spot once held by Scalise.

Whips are responsible for assisting the party leadership in bringing the party’s bills to the House floor, counting votes on key legislation and maintaining communication between the leadership.

“It is an honor to be entrusted by my colleagues with the role of Majority Whip. Now the hard work begins,” Emmer said in a statement released at the time. “It’s time to unite our conference and deliver on our promises to the American people.”

Emmer, a former hockey coach, has said being whip is “the best coaching job I’ve ever had.”  

After 15 rounds of voting to elect McCarthy as Speaker during his first week in the role, Emmer said in May that he was prepared to change the minds of the GOP and gather members to work together.

The whip’s office has also reportedly become a key gathering place for Republicans throughout the year as they have grappled with internal division.

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Announces a Speaker bid

After the Republican conference pushed Jordan aside in a secret-ballot vote Friday, several people stepped forward to be McCarthy’s successor.

Emmer officially announced he will enter the race for Speaker in a “Dear Colleague” letter to fellow Republican members Saturday morning.

The whip is the highest-ranking lawmaker to jockey for the position, after Scalise withdrew. He is likely to emerge as a front-runner.

He’s endured leadership races in the past, a fact that could help him secure the gavel.

In his letter he said his previous leadership experience will help him achieve a successful Speakership.

“Each week has brought new challenges,” Emmer wrote. “But delivering historic change should not be easy.”

McCarthy endorses him after Jordan failures

Even before Emmer officially threw his hat in the ring, he received a huge boost. McCarthy endorsed him as his successor.

“He is the right person for the job. He can unite the conference. He understands the dynamics of the conference,” McCarthy told Punchbowl News. “He also understands what it takes to win and keep a majority.”

Emmer has also received support from another GOP ally: Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.). Buck refused to support Jordan on the House floor, casting his ballot for Emmer instead.

But, the race is still anyone’s game. Members have until noon Sunday to file their candidacy.

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