House Republicans chose their fourth candidate for speaker Tuesday night after a series of failed efforts to fill the top position in the chamber, which has been vacant for more than three weeks.
Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) won the nomination after a series of internal straw polls. He quickly held a private roll call vote that night to determine if he had enough support to succeed in a vote on the House floor. No other Republican members received support in a roll-call vote, but three members voted “present,” and 23 were absent, according to PunchBowl.
Assuming the House votes along party lines, Johnson can only afford to lose four votes from his party. Johnson reportedly told members he wants to negotiate with urgency and get a House floor vote as soon as possible. He gained support from two members on Wednesday morning who voted “present” in the roll call the night prior, CNN reported.
Johnson, 51, is a fourth-term member of the House. He is the vice chair of the House Republican Conference and the former chair of the Republican Study Committee.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) this month became the first speaker to be voted out of his position in U.S. history. Republicans have nominated four candidates for speaker since, with three dropping out after failing to unite the party. Johnson was the second candidate chosen Tuesday after Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) won a secret ballot vote but dropped out of the running within hours.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) won the nomination last week but failed on three House floor votes before dropping out. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) was the first candidate chosen but dropped out before calling for a floor vote.
Debates over nominees have focused on voting records and frustration from allies McCarthy and Scalise with the rules process that led to their failed speaker campaigns.
Former President Donald Trump expressed support Wednesday for Johnson.
“My strong SUGGESTION is to go with the leading candidate, Mike Johnson, & GET IT DONE, FAST! LOVE, DJT,” Trump posted on Truth Social.