House Republicans are once again struggling to find a path forward after Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer He abandoned his bid for the presidency just hours after winning his party’s nomination.
The rapid exit from the race is the latest sign that Republicans are no closer to electing a new president three weeks after the historic ouster of Kevin McCarthy.
House Republicans are now preparing to hold another GOP presidential candidate forum at 6 p.m. ET, several members told CNN. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., told reporters, “We’ll do it again,” and said he believes they will try to vote on a new candidate immediately after the forum.
The House remains in a state of paralysis and Republicans remain unable to govern, as the conference has repeatedly failed to unite around a McCarthy successor amid deep division within the ranks. The politically precarious situation has plunged the House into uncharted territory, as it seems increasingly unclear whether any Republican will be able to obtain the 217 votes needed to win the gavel.
Emmer is now the third Republican to win the Republican conference nomination only to then drop out of the race after failing to secure the votes needed to win the gavel.
Hours earlier, Emmer’s bid to be president seemed on the brink of collapse amid opposition from the right flank of his conference and new attacks launched by former President Donald Trump. Emmer could only afford to lose four Republicans in a floor vote, and 26 voted against him behind closed doors, an ominous sign for his candidacy for president.
Emmer voted to certify the 2020 election, voted to keep the government open for 47 days, voted for bipartisan legislation to prevent a debt default, and voted to codify same-sex marriage : all issues that members of the extreme right had cited as issues for their candidacy.
In a post on Truth Social on Tuesday, Trump attacked Emmer after House Republicans chose him as their latest candidate for president, writing that voting for Emmer “would be a tragic mistake.”
Before his departure, members of Trump’s team also called members of the Republican Party and urged them to oppose Emmer as president, two sources told CNN. A source said they are “hitting hard.” The other source said more members were withdrawing their support because of that.
Despite a cordial phone call with the former president over the weekend, Trump again posted attacks on the Republican House whip on Truth Social on Monday night and then followed up with his own attack after Emmer was nominated.
Leaving a Republican Party conference meeting Monday night, Emmer told CNN, “We have a good relationship,” when asked about Trump.
With multiple candidates in the race, members cast a series of successive secret ballots on Tuesday and the candidate with the fewest votes in each round was eliminated from the race. The other candidates who had been in the race were: Representatives Mike Johnson of Louisiana, Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, Byron Donalds of Florida, Austin Scott of Georgia, Jack Bergman of Michigan and Pete Sessions of Texas.
Republicans met Monday for the candidates’ forum also behind closed doors. Meuser, who had been in the race, abandoned his offer at that meeting.
House Speaker Michael McCaul of Texas told CNN’s Manu Raju on Monday, “It’s going to be very difficult, but we have to get there,” when asked how concerned he is that No candidate can obtain 217 votes in the plenary session.
And Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida warned that if the eventual nominee can’t get 217 votes on the floor, the conference may have to work with Democrats.
“It’s, it’s not good. Because a lot of people will want to do it, with their mind set on it, they don’t want to work with Democrats, but it might get to a point where that’s the only way,” Buchanan said. “We have to open the government. “People are very angry, upset.”
This story and headline have been updated with additional information. developments.