Watch CBS News

Rep. Mike Johnson wins GOP nomination for speaker

get the free app
  • link copied
Emmer drops out of House speaker race 01:12

Our coverage of the latest developments in the House speaker race continues here. Catch up on earlier reporting below.

Washington — Rep. Mike Johnson won the GOP nomination for House speaker Tuesday night, defeating Rep. Byron Donalds and becoming the fourth speaker designate selected by his party since Rep. Kevin McCarthy's historic removal as speaker — and the second in a single day.

The third nominee, Majority Whip Tom Emmer, dropped out of the Republican race for speaker just four hours after he was elected Tuesday. He failed to persuade far-right members of the conference to support him on the floor. Over 20 opposed him during a roll-call vote, and former President Donald Trump expressed strong opposition to Emmer shortly after he won the nomination, posting on Truth Social, "Voting for a Globalist RINO like Tom Emmer would be a tragic mistake!" He said Emmer was "out of touch with Republican voters."

Asked Tuesday evening by reporters whether Trump's opposition had been a deciding factor in his withdrawal from the speaker race, Emmer replied, "I made my decision based on my relationship with the conference." 

There was a potential sign of trouble for Johnson — McCarthy, who was not a declared candidate, received 43 votes in the final round of voting, well more than the 29 votes won by Rep. Byron Donalds, who was an  official finalist in the race.

U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson
U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) leaves a House Republican conference meeting in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill on October 24, 2023 in Washington, DC.  Getty Images

After the Republican conference meeting ended, Johnson spoke briefly to reporters and said that his intention is to go the House floor Wednesday for a noon vote. He did not disclose the tally of the roll call vote in the conference to gauge support for his nomination, but said he was "very confident" he could win the 217 GOP votes he needs to win the speaker's gavel on the House floor.

Earlier Tuesday night, Ohio Rep. Max Miller suggested there was growing support for restoring McCarthy to the speakership. "I actually think that we may be on a merry-go-round," Miller told reporters. "Who knows, we might end up back at Speaker McCarthy. He's still got the most votes on anybody in that room." 

Johnson, who was first elected to Congress in 2016, voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results.

The House has now been without an elected speaker for three weeks, which means that it has not been able to consider or pass legislation to address a rising number of domestic and foreign crises, including providing aid for Israel or Ukraine.

Jack Turman contributed to this report.


Mike Johnson becomes the next GOP speaker-designee

Rep. Mike Johnson won on the final ballot for GOP speaker, defeating Rep. Byron Donalds, according to a tweet by Rep. Elise Stefanik. Johnson won 128, and Donalds received 29 votes. McCarthy, who was not a nominee, received 43 votes, and there was one other vote of "present."

Johnson, a former radio host from Louisiana, was first elected to Congress in 2016. He voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election results.

Jack Turman contributed to this post.

By Kathryn Watson

Williams, Green out of speaker race after second ballot as Republicans move to third round of voting

Reps. Roger Williams of Texas and Mark Green of Tennessee are no longer in contention for the speaker nomination after the second round of votes by Republicans. 

The race now is a head-to-head contest between Donalds and Johnson as the GOP conference moves on to a third ballot, according to Stefanik.

Johnson continued to earn the most votes with 97, followed by Donalds with 31 votes, Green with 21 votes and Williams with 20 votes. Republicans not on the ballot earned 34 "other" votes, while there were three "present" votes, according to Rep. Randy Weber of Texas. 

Thirty-three of the "other" votes were cast for McCarthy, Rep. Kat Cammack of Florida said.

Williams was eliminated from the race as the lowest vote-earner, and Green withdrew his candidacy.

By Melissa Quinn and Alejandro Alvarez


Johnson won the first round, says Rep. Dan Meuser

Rep. Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania gave the vote tally in the first round of voting in the GOP conference to reporters:

  • Mike Johnson 85
  • Byron Donalds 32
  • Mark Green 23
  • Roger Williams 21
  • Chuck Fleischmann 10

With the lowest vote tally, Fleischman was dropped from the ballot. Meuser also said that 30 votes were cast for other candidates.

Rep. John Duarte, of California, had a slightly different tally. He told reporters Johnson had 84 votes, and 31 votes were cast for other candidates.

By Jack Turman

Republicans move to second round of voting; Fleischmann eliminated

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann is no longer in the running, according to Rep. Elise Stefanik, having been eliminated in the first round of voting. 

Reps. Byron Donalds, Mark Green, Mike Johnson and Roger Williams remain in the speaker race. Stefanik tweeted that Republicans are moving forward to the second ballot.

By Kathryn Watson

Republicans begin vote for fourth speaker nominee

House Republicans have begun voting on the first ballot for their speaker nominee after convening to elect a fourth candidate just hours after Emmer, who won the conference's nomination earlier Tuesday, withdrew his candidacy amid growing opposition.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, the chair of the Republican conference, said on social media that five candidates are on the ballot: Donalds, Fleischmann, Green, Johnson and Williams.

By Melissa Quinn

House will not vote on speaker tonight

A vote on the next House speaker won't happen Tuesday night, according to the Democratic Whip's office. 

"Members are advised that House Republicans are planning to adjourn and votes are no longer expected in the House today," a notice from House Minority Whip Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts said. 

House Republicans are expected to vote within their conference for a new speaker nominee this evening.

By Caitlin Yilek

Hern drops out of contention for speaker nomination

Rep. Kevin Hern, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, told reporters that he decided to forgo his candidacy for speaker and is instead supporting Rep. Mike Johnson.

"I think he'd make a great speaker. He's a great human being, he'd be a person everybody can trust that will lead this great conference forward to do the things we need to do in the Republican Party, get the Congress opened back up and do things we need to do," the Oklahoma Republican said.

Hern added, "It's time for us to get back to work and Mike Johnson can do that."

By Melissa Quinn

The new GOP speaker candidates

GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik tweeted the full list of candidates shortly before the candidate forum was to begin this evening. Reps. Byron Donalds of Florida, Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee, Mark Green of Tennessee, Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, Mike Johnson of Louisiana and Roger Williams of Texas, are running.

Rep. Ralph Norman said Republicans would expedite the candidate forum by having candidates each give just one-minute speeches before votes begin. 

Members are not expected to give nominating speeches for the candidates.

Votes are expected afterwards.

By Kathryn Watson, Ellis Kim


Republicans to hold another candidate forum at 6 p.m.

House Republicans are planning to hold another candidate forum at 6 p.m., now that Emmer has dropped out of the race, Republican members told reporters. 

Candidates must declare their bids by 5:30 p.m., giving members little time to prepare. 

By Ellis Kim, Kathryn Watson


Emmer drops out of the speaker's race, hours after becoming nominee

Rep. Tom Emmer has dropped out of the race for speaker, mere hours after Republicans elected him as the GOP nominee, according to several House Republicans. 

Emmer walked out of the building as House Republicans held a 4 p.m. conference meeting. He did not respond to reporters' questions about whether he was still in the race. 

House Republicans have now lost their third speaker-designee in less than three weeks. 

Asked Tuesday evening by reporters whether Trump's opposition had been a deciding factor in his withdrawal from the speaker race, Emmer replied, "I made my decision based on my relationship with the conference." 

By Scott MacFarlane, Kathryn Watson


Emmer leaves Republican conference meeting, won't say if he's still in the race

House Republicans are in the middle of a 4 p.m. conference meeting. Not long after the meeting began, Emmer walked out of the building. It is not yet clear why he left.

Emmer did not respond when reporters asked if he's still in the race.

Emmer and his allies have been trying to win over a couple dozen GOP holdouts. 

Kathryn Watson, Nikole Killion


Conservative opposition to Emmer emerges

Shortly after Emmer was elected as the GOP's nominee for speaker, several conservative lawmakers publicly announced plans to vote against him when the House convenes for a formal floor vote.

Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana called Emmer the "single most liberal member" of Republican leadership and accused the "left flank" of the conference of blocking Jordan's nomination.

"I've supported every Republican nominee to be Speaker of the House so far, but I will not vote for Tom Emmer on the House floor," he said.

Banks, who lost to Emmer in the conference's race for majority whip in November, accused those who withheld support for Jordan of holding the broader House GOP "hostage and pushing Republicans to betray our voters and abandon our promises to the American people. I won't go along with it."

Rep. Anna Paulina Luna of Florida proclaimed on social media that she would not be supporting Emmer in a floor vote.

"This morning I voted for Rep Donalds for Speaker. Followed by Rep Johnson. Rep Emmer does not have votes to be speaker and I will be unable to support him on the floor. So, I'm going to ask Rep. Mark Green to throw his hat in the ring. We need to get a speaker!" she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Rep. Troy Nehls of Texas told reporters some of Emmer's past comments are "causing him some problems today," though he didn't specify what the statements were. Still, the Texas Republican cast doubt on Emmer's ability to garner 217 votes and again pledged to nominate Trump for speaker on the floor.

"I told Tom Emmer I won't be the one that would tank him. If he can get to 216, he could probably have me at 217," Nehls told reporters. "But when it gets to my name and there's 10, 12, 15, I think Donald Trump is our answer." 

Emmer can only afford four defections in a vote on the House floor to still win the speakership.

By Melissa Quinn

Johnson, who came in second, helping Emmer flip holdouts: "We are going to finish this tonight"

Rep. Mike Johnson, who came in second to Emmer in the final ballot, told reporters he's trying to help Emmer flip the remaining holdouts. 

House Republicans will continue discussions at a 4 p.m. conference meeting, he said. 

"We are going to finish this tonight," and will meet "for as long as it takes," Johnson said. 

Asked if that means taking this all the way to the House floor, Emmer responded, "Yes." 

By Nikole Killion

Trump blasts Emmer as a "RINO" and a "globalist"

Trump made it clear Tuesday that he opposes Emmer as speaker, posting on Truth Social Tuesday afternoon that Emmer is a "RINO" and a "globalist" who "fought" him all the way.

Emmer voted to certify the 2020 election results after Jan. 6, 2021, but signed onto an amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn the presidential election results. 

"I have many wonderful friends wanting to be Speaker of the House, and some are truly great Warriors. RINO Tom Emmer, who I do not know well, is not one of them," Trump wrote. "He never respected the Power of a Trump Endorsement, or the breadth and scope of MAGA—MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!"

"He fought me all the way, and actually spent more time defending Ilhan Omar, than he did me—He is totally out-of-touch with Republican Voters," Trump continued. "I believe he has now learned his lesson, because he is saying that he is Pro-Trump all the way, but who can ever be sure? Has he only changed because that's what it takes to win? The Republican Party cannot take that chance, because that's not where the America First Voters are. Voting for a Globalist RINO like Tom Emmer would be a tragic mistake!"

A day ago, Trump declined to endorse in this round and said he was "trying to stay out of it." In the last round, Trump endorsed Rep. Jim Jordan, who failed to secure enough support on the floor to win the gavel.

By Kathryn Watson

No secret deals for Emmer, colleague says

Emmer told GOP colleagues he won't strike any secret deals to become speaker, Republican Rep. Dusty Johnson told reporters. 

This is a departure from former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's approach. He quietly made deals with the most conservative members of the conference in order to win the speakership in January. 

"One of the things that I think won a big round of applause inside the room was that Tom Emmer said, 'Listen, we're not gonna do this shell diplomacy," Johnson told reporters. "We're not gonna break up in small rooms. I'm not gonna say one thing to you differently than what I'm gonna say to you." 

Johnson said Emmer is "putting on a master class in there, about how to stand in the fire, answer questions in front of a room of 200, frankly, very opinionated members, and I think he's winning converts." 

By Kathryn Watson

Emmer faces difficult path to gavel after roll call vote, with about 20 holdouts

Following his win, the Republican conference held a roll call vote to gauge Emmer's support. Roughly 20 GOP lawmakers voted no on the Minnesota Republican's speaker bid, according to Rep. Nicole Malliotakis of New York.

The vote indicates that Emmer faces a tough road to securing the 217 votes needed to win the speaker's gavel.

— Ellis Kim and Scott MacFarlane


Emmer becomes GOP speaker nominee

Republican Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota is now the GOP nominee for speaker, besting Rep. Mike Johnson in Republicans' final secret ballot, according to House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik. 

Emmer, the majority whip, is one of the two speaker candidates who voted to certify the 2020 presidential election results. He had the endorsement of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. 

Emmer is now holding a town-hall style conversation inside the same room — having members express their concerns, and he is addressing them. The idea is to do this in an open forum, with no back-room deals.

Several members have said Emmer initially wanted to go to the floor today, but that seems highly unlikely unless he can flip some of the holdouts during the open forum.

Scott MacFarlane and Ellis Kim contributed to this post.

By Kathryn Watson

Two candidates out after fourth round as contest heads to two-man race

The Republican conference entered the fourth round of voting with four candidates: Donalds, Emmer, Hern and Johnson. But following the vote, two candidates remained heading into the fifth ballot: Emmer and Johnson, according to Stefanik.

Donalds voluntarily withdrew from the race after the fourth round, and Hern dropped off the ballot, according to lawmakers. Both received the same number of votes – 25 apiece.

Emmer remained the top vote-getter, with 107 votes, according to McMorris Rodgers, followed by Johnson with 56 votes.

Melissa Quinn and Ellis Kim


Jeffries says there has been "zero" discussion about helping Emmer

Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries told reporters that there was "zero" discussion among Democrats during their caucus meeting on Monday night about helping Emmer.

Emmer is one of two speaker candidates who voted to certify the 2020 election results. The other, Scott, was eliminated in the third round of voting. 

By Alan He

Scott eliminated, while Emmer's lead grows

Rep. Austin Scott has been eliminated from the speaker's race in the third round of voting, according to a tally from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. House Republicans are moving on to the fourth round of voting. 

Emmer's lead grew, according to McMorris Rodgers's tally. Emmer netted 100 votes, followed by Johnson, Donalds, Hern and Scott. 

By Ellis Kim

McHenry unsure if House will vote on Tuesday

Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry left the conference meeting around 11 a.m. ET to gavel in the House floor. He said he will return to the meeting. 

Asked by CBS News if the goal is to hold a floor vote Tuesday afternoon or evening on a House speaker, McHenry held up his hands in a shrug-like gesture. 

By Nikole Killion

Bergman eliminated after second vote

Republicans have moved on to their third ballot after Bergman was eliminated after receiving the fewest votes, Stefanik posted on X. The remaining five candidates are: Emmer, Johnson, Donalds, Hern and Scott.

By Melissa Quinn

Sessions eliminated after first round of voting, Emmer receives most votes

After the first round of voting, Sessions received the lowest number of votes and was eliminated. Six candidates now remain as the conference heads into a second round.

Rep. Tom Emmer received the most votes, according to Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia.

By Ellis Kim

Palmer drops out of race for speaker; field down to seven candidates

Rep. Gary Palmer of Alabama announced ahead of the closed-door conference meeting that he is dropping out of the race to be speaker, leaving seven candidates vying for the position. 

"Congress and the American people needed a Republican Speaker three weeks ago," Palmer said in a statement Tuesday morning. "If withdrawing my name can help expedite that process even a little, then I will gladly step aside. The candidate forum and individual conversations have given me great hope for the future of the 118th Congress. All the candidates are committed to ideas similar to the principles I laid out last night."

In the statement, Palmer stressed the need for "stability" back to the House of Representatives. 

By Caroline Linton

How the GOP conference will select its next nominee

According to the rules of the Republican conference, once candidates are nominated — in alphabetical order — if none of the candidates win a majority of votes, the candidate who receives the lowest number of votes will be dropped from the ballot for the next round. Voting will continue until one candidate receives a majority.

By Nikole Killion

Nominating speeches for each candidate

Before House Republicans begin casting their votes by secret ballot, members will deliver speeches nominating each candidate. Here are the Republicans who will be making speeches for each speaker candidate, according to Rep. Elise Stefanik, chair of the Republican conference:

  • Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois for Bergman
  • Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida for Donalds
  • Rep. Brad Finstad of Minnesota for Emmer
  • Rep. Ron Estes of Kansas for Hern
  • Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington for Johnson
  • Rep. Bruce Westerman of Arkansas for Palmer
  • Rep. Rick Crawford of Arkansas for Scott
  • Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia for Sessions
By Melissa Quinn

The candidate platforms

At a forum Monday night, speaker candidates pitched their ideas to the rank and file in the party.

Rep. Gary Palmer released a five-point platform: Fund the government on time; pass real spending cuts; avoid short-term funding bills; enforce a 72-hour rule allowing Congress to review legislation before voting on it; and unite the Republican conference before going to the House floor. 

Donalds told reporters his feeling about the conference is that "we need to get back to work, secure our border, fund our government responsibly, and hold this administration accountable. And last but not least, our members, we've got to be focused on purpose and mission."

The GOP conference voted Friday to drop Rep. Jim Jordan as its nominee for speaker after he failed to win a majority three times, losing more Republican support in each successive round. The Republican conference then held a secret ballot on whether Jordan should remain the nominee. Lawmakers in the room said 112 voted no, and 86 voted yes. It sent the party back to the drawing board Friday, leaving the House leaderless for at least three more days.

Since then, nine Republicans have announced they're running, although Rep. Dan Meuser dropped out of the running on Monday night, leaving eight Republicans. All but two of them voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election.


Trump declines to endorse this round, but has spoken with several of the contenders

Trump has not endorsed any of the several candidates running to be the third speaker nominee, though he said ahead of the candidate forum that he had spoken with several.

"I'm staying above it. I have to right now," the former president told reporters Monday in New Hampshire. "But I've spoken to just about all the candidates, there are quite a few of them. And they're terrific people."

It's unclear how much of an impact the former president's backing would have on the race for speaker — he endorsed Rep. Jim Jordan's bid last week, but after three failed attempts to win a majority on the floor, the Ohio congressman was forced to drop his bid Friday.

Trump acknowledged that the numbers would be daunting for any candidate.

"That four threshold is very tough. It's a very tough thing, no matter who it is," Trump said, referring to the number of Republican defections a speaker candidate can afford to lose and still win on the floor with a GOP majority. "I said there's only one person that can do it all the way. You know who that is? Jesus Christ."

He spoke with Majority Whip Tom Emmer and Republican Study Committee Chairman Kevin Hern, over the weekend, and Rep. Byron Donalds also said he'd talked with Trump.

"We're looking at a lot of people, and you know I'm sort of trying to stay out of it as much as possible," Trump said. "But they'll get it straightened out."

By Melissa Quinn

6 out of 8 speaker candidates voted to decertify 2020 election

Six of the eight Republican candidates for House speaker voted to decertify the 2020 presidential election on Jan. 6, 2021, in the hours after the assault on the U.S. Capitol. 

Voted to certify 2020 presidential election results

Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the majority whip and the highest ranking Republican running for speaker, is one of the two who voted to certify the 2020 presidential election on Jan. 6. While he acknowledged that millions of Americans didn't trust the election results and said he shared the concerns of those who questioned changes to the election system in some states (most of which came about as a result of the pandemic), Emmer condemned the rioting and said that Article 2 of the Constitution and 12th Amendment said that Congress doesn't have the authority to discard electors that have been certified by a state legislature.

Emmer, who was first elected to Congress in 2014, has the endorsement of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted from the speakership almost three weeks ago.

Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia, who ran for speaker as a protest candidate against Jordan in the House GOP conference, also voted to certify the 2020 election. In a statement on Jan. 6, he called the rioting at the Capitol and criticism of the Capitol Police "disgraceful." He praised Pence for refusing to overturn states' electoral votes and also signed a letter to congressional leaders stating that Congress "doesn't have the authority to overturn a state's elector votes" and that its duty is only to count the votes sent to them by the states.

Elected in 2010, Scott represents Georgia's 8th Congressional District, near Macon.

Voted against certifying 2020 election results

Rep. Jack Bergman of Michigan, a retired Marine lieutenant general, voted against certifying the Electoral College results on Jan. 6, and he was also a signator to an amicus brief supporting a Texas lawsuit to overturn the results of the presidential election in Georgia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan — all states that Trump lost.

Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida, who is serving his second term in Congress, also voted against certifying the election. He was also nominated for speaker against McCarthy in January in rounds 4, 5 and 6 of the 15 rounds of voting.

He described himself during his first primary campaign as a "Trump-supporting, liberty-loving, pro-life, pro-Second Amendment Black man." He went on to defeat his GOP opponents by just over 770 votes.

Donalds voted against raising the debt ceiling earlier this year.

Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma chairs the conservative Republican Study Committee. He announced his candidacy on Friday. 

Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana, elected to Congress in 2016, is an attorney and a former radio host.

Rep. Gary Palmer of Alabama has been in the House since 2015, and he currently serves as the chairman of the Republican Policy Committee. He supported Jordan as the nominee for speaker. Palmer used to be the president of a conservative think tank in Alabama.

Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas previously chaired the House Rules Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. Sessions, who has been in Congress for 24 years, announced his candidacy on Friday. 

Read more here about the candidates running for speaker.

Scott MacFarlane, Aliza Chasan

By Ellen Uchimiya

The third ballot

Jordan lost 25 Republicans in the third round of voting, falling short yet again with 194 votes, compared to 210 for Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Twenty-five Republicans voted for various other candidates, including McCarthy, Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry.

Here are the vote totals:

  • Jeffries: 210
  • Jordan: 194
  • Scalise: 8
  • McHenry: 6
  • Former Rep. Lee Zeldin: 4
  • McCarthy: 2
  • Rep. Byron Donalds: 2
  • Rep. Tom Emmer: 1
  • Rep. Mike Garcia: 1
  • Rep. Bruce Westerman: 1
By Stefan Becket

The second ballot

In the second ballot, Jordan lost more ground than he gained, winning 199 votes, compared to the 200 he won on the first ballot. Twenty-two Republicans voted against him. A majority of those voting is required to win.

Here are the vote totals:

Total votes cast: 433

  • House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries: 212
  • Rep. Jim Jordan: 199
  • Rep. Steve Scalise: 7
  • Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy: 5
  • Former Rep. Lee Zeldin: 3
  • Rep. Byron Donalds: 1
  • Rep. Tom Emmer 1
  • Rep. Mike Garcia 1
  • Candice Miller: 1
  • Former House Speaker John Boehner: 1
  • Rep. Kay Granger :1
  • Rep. Bruce Westerman: 1
By Ellen Uchimiya

The first ballot

Jordan lost 20 Republican votes in the first round, and in the final count, he ended up with 200 votes, leaving him shy of the 217 needed for a majority. 

Here's the tally of the votes from the first speaker ballot:

  • Jeffries: 212
  • Jordan: 200
  • McCarthy: 6
  • Scalise: 7
  • Zeldin: 3
  • Cole: 1
  • Emmer: 1
  • Mike Garcia: 1
  • Massie: 1

Read more on the Republicans who didn't vote for Jordan here

By Caroline Linton
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.