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Tom Emmer: Republicans Pick Third Nominee for House Speaker

Republicans have chosen Tom Emmer as their third nominee to be Speaker of the House of Representatives, three weeks after their last leader was ousted in a right-wing revolt.

The full chamber will now vote on the Minnesota congressman’s candidacy, though it is unclear if he can win.

Mr Emmer emerged as the party’s pick in a series of secret internal ballots.

The US legislature has been unable to pass bills since Kevin McCarthy was removed on 3 October.

Mr Emmer, 62, is currently House Majority Whip, making him the third-most powerful Republican in the House.

On Tuesday, successive rounds of voting by Republican lawmakers whittled down the candidates one by one. In the final round, Mr Emmer defeated Mike Johnson of Louisiana.

It’s unclear, however, when Mr Emmer’s nomination will go to a vote on the House floor – or if he has enough support to become speaker.

He may have difficulty winning over hard-line Republicans, including allies of former President Donald Trump.

Following Mr Emmer’s nomination, Mr Trump took to his Truth Social social media platform to call him a “RINO”, or Republican In Name Only, who “never respected the power of a Trump endorsement or the breadth and scope of MAGA – Make America Great Again”.

Mr Trump added that he believed it would be “a tragic mistake” for Republicans to back him.

Texas Republican Andy Webber told reporters after Tuesday’s party meeting that Mr Emmer did not currently have the votes necessary to win a floor vote.

Several other representatives said around 20 or more of their colleagues currently opposed Mr Emmer.

Republicans only hold a narrow majority over Democrats in the lower chamber of Congress, so their nominee can only afford to lose a handful of votes from their own side.

Two previous nominees, Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Jim Jordan of Ohio, both failed to gather enough support to replace Mr McCarthy.

Following Mr Emmer’s nomination, Mr Scalise told reporters that he does not foresee holding a floor vote until Mr Emmer feels he has the 217 votes necessary to emerge victorious.

“We’re working right now through some questions, still, and we’re going to continue to have conversations,” said Mr Scalise, who voted for Mr Emmer. “We’ve got to keep working.”

Many of the lawmakers who voted against Mr Emmer voted for Mr Jordan, even though he was not a candidate.

Mr Jordan, for his part, told reporters that he would “encourage” Republicans to come together to elect a Speaker.

Kentucky’s Brett Guthrie said that the continued infighting among Republican lawmakers had left him – and “a lot of people I hear from at home” – frustrated at the lack of progress.

Mr Guthrie said that Mr Emmer asked hold-outs to remain in the room to discuss their differences “instead of having private meetings and phone calls”.

Similarly, New York Republican Brandon Williams said that it was disheartening that the Republican Party was in a “civil war with itself”.

Mr Williams, however, said that he believed the party was “actually doing what should have been done from the beginning, which is we all sit down and hear out the grievances”.

A former college ice hockey player and coach, Mr Emmer also previously served as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to help party candidates win elections across the US.

He has held his seat in Congress since 2015, and prior to that served in the Minnesota state legislature. He narrowly lost a race for governor of the state in 2010.

Mr Emmer voted to certify the 2020 election won by President Joe Biden, a move that has led to a contentious relationship with Mr Trump.

Ahead of the Republican vote, Mr Trump did not endorse any of the eight who threw their hats into the ring.

It is unclear whether his criticism will have a significant impact on the level of support Mr Emmer would have in a floor vote.

Source : BBC