Rep. Tom Emmer confirms run for speakership; House to enter 3rd full week without a leader
(ABC 6 News) – Congressman Tom Emmer of Minnesota confirmed to ABC 6 News affiliate, KSTP 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, on Saturday that he is running for U.S. House Speaker and working on building up support from his colleagues.
If selected, Rep. Emmer would be the first House Speaker from the state. In a statement on Twitter explaining his run, Emmer said he “stood with Speaker McCarthy” and again with previous nominees House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Jim Jordan “because they stepped into the void with the intent and vision to lead and unite us.”
“Our Conference remains at a crossroads and the deck is stacked against us,” the statement read. “We have no choice but to fight like hell to hold on to our House Majority and deliver on our conservative agenda. Having had the privilege of getting to know all of you as your NRCC Chair and as your Majority Whip, I know we are still ready for that fight.”
An official nomination is expected next week, as the House enters the third full week without a Speaker and the business of the American government hangs in the balance.
Hamline University constitutional law and political science professor David Schultz raised concerns about the ongoing stalemate, explaining that without a Speaker, the U.S. government’s ability to operate is at a standstill.
“We can’t do anything until we have a Speaker of the House, and it’s kind of like a domino effect here,” Schultz said. “Without a Speaker, the House can’t do its work. Without the House doing its work, Congress can’t do its work. And without that, we can’t pass important legislation or address any type of needs or threats that the United States faces.”
Congress narrowly avoided one partial government shutdown at the end of September, delaying the deadline to November 17. Three weeks later, Schultz said lawmakers have been focused on the speakership, keeping them from progress in resolving any issues at the center of the budget debate.
“And if we now get to next week, we’re getting to the end of October with barely about two and a half weeks — three weeks at the onset, before we’re exactly back to where we were a few weeks ago,” he continued, referring to a looming shutdown with implications for the most vulnerable, including the loss of SNAP benefits.
“Food for children or infants, that money would run out almost instantaneously,” Schultz added.
In the meantime, every day without a Speaker, is another day U.S. allies go without billions of dollars in requested aid for defense assistance in Ukraine and now in Israel as tensions continue to build in the Gaza Strip.
“First off, it’s incredibly unusual to have this type of aid to our allies held up and to — I would actually argue, this is quite immediate and pressing,” Schultz reacted, adding, “And the fact that there’s uncertainty in the world, uncertainty among our allies and uncertainty, perhaps, among our foes, this creates a serious foreign policy problem for the United States.”
Schultz was relatively optimistic about Rep. Emmer’s chance of becoming the “likely compromise candidate” who brings divided House Republicans together.
“And remember, he’s owed a lot,” Schultz said. “He helped lead the Republicans to take back control of the U.S. House of Representatives. And so he may be in a very, very good position in terms of, again, the compromise candidate.”
Political experts who spoke with KSTP on Friday also considered Emmer a likely nomination, but weren’t as optimistic about his ability to get the necessary votes.
“I think he will be one of the finalists,” said Carleton College political science professor Steve Schier. “I think we already know that getting to 217 is like climbing Mount Everest.”
“I think he’s going to have quite a good run here,” added University of Minnesota political science professor Larry Jacobs. “The question is, in a very tightly split republican party in the House, can he get to that 217 number?”
Reps. Brad Finstad (MN-01) and Pete Stauber (MN-08) both released statements in support of Emmer on Friday and Saturday respectively.
Finstad’s statement reads:
“I have known Congressman Emmer for more than twenty years, since our time serving in the Minnesota Legislature. From the day that I arrived in Congress, it has been a privilege to work alongside Tom and I have come to truly appreciate him as a mentor and as a friend.
In January, our Conference elected Congressman Emmer to be our Majority Whip – a position in which Tom has shown profound leadership. Whether it’s across Minnesota or across the country, Congressman Emmer has the trust and respect necessary to lead the People’s House. I am happy to support him for Speaker.
The American people deserve a functioning Congress. It is my hope that my House colleagues can come together to get this election done, get the House back in order, and get back to working for the American people.”
Stauber ended his message with a “sincere hope that we can elect a Speaker next week and resume the important work our constituents sent us here to do.”