Tom Emmer drops out of contention for House speaker, hours after winning GOP nomination

Key Points
  • Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota ended his bid for House speaker just hours after securing the nomination.
  • Emmer's nomination quickly ran into trouble with dozens of Republican lawmakers and former President Donald Trump opposing him.
  • Emmer is the third GOP nominee for speaker whose candidacy has failed in recent weeks
House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, a Republican from Minnesota, speaks to members of the media following a House Republican caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 23, 2023.
Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota dropped his bid for speaker of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, just hours after he secured the nomination, with former President Donald Trump and dozens of Republican lawmakers expressing opposition to his candidacy.

Emmer, the Republican majority whip, is the third GOP nominee for speaker whose candidacy has failed in recent weeks. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana previously dropped out after failing to secure enough Republican support. 

The House leadership crisis has now entered its third week with no clear way to end the impasse as the Republican party remains deeply divided.

The lower chamber is paralyzed without a speaker, unable to pass spending legislation as the clock ticks toward a Nov. 17 government shutdown. Congress is also unable to respond to President Joe Biden's call for emergency security assistance to Israel and Ukraine.

Emmer prevailed over a crowded field of eight GOP candidates to secure the nomination after several rounds of voting Tuesday morning.

But the Minnesota Republican's candidacy quickly ran into trouble with 26 GOP lawmakers still opposed to his nomination. Emmer could only afford to lose four Republican votes, as Democrats have lined up in lockstep behind their nominee, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York.

Emmer's nomination suffered a serious blow Tuesday afternoon when Trump derided him as a "globalist" and not a true Republican.

"Voting for a Globalist RINO like Tom Emmer would be a tragic mistake," Trump said Tuesday in a post on Truth Social.

Trump took credit after Emmer dropped out. "I absolutely must have had an impact," he told reporters outside of the New York courtroom where he's facing a $250 million civil fraud trial. "I was never treated particularly well by him as you probably have heard, and he wasn't MAGA, most people are MAGA in the Republican Party."

Emmer was relatively moderate compared to many other Republican lawmakers. He voted to certify Biden's 2020 election victory and also voted for spending legislation in September that averted a government shutdown.

The House leadership crisis was triggered when a faction of eight Republicans, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, ousted then Speaker Kevin McCarthy in an unprecedented no-confidence vote. Democrats refused to save McCarthy's speakership, leading to the California Republican's downfall.

Jeffries has said Democrats are willing to work with Republicans to end the House leadership vacuum, but there does not appear to be any bipartisan plan that has enough GOP support.

— CNBC's Emily Wilkins, Brian Schwartz and Kevin Breuninger contributed to this report.

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