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Speaker Johnson To Be Replaced By Who?

The position of Speaker of the House may once again be up for grabs.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., has pledged to initiate a vote this week to remove the current Speaker, Mike Johnson, R-La. Although Greene’s attempt is expected to be unsuccessful—with House Democrats poised to support Johnson and prevent another prolonged vacancy in the speakership—the potential for ensuing turmoil remains a concern among members.

The identity of Johnson’s potential successor is still uncertain. Greene has expressed confidence in the capabilities of certain colleagues, though she has not publicly endorsed anyone. Possible candidates may include those who previously contended for the position following the ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., initially vied to replace McCarthy last fall but withdrew one day into his candidacy amid doubts about securing sufficient support. Scalise was diagnosed with a treatable form of blood cancer last August.

After Scalise, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, stepped up but failed to garner the necessary votes after three attempts, leading the GOP to reconsider his nomination. Jordan has been a prominent figure in the Republican-led impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden, working closely with House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, R-Ky.

Following Jordan’s withdrawal, House Majority Whip Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn., entered the race, endorsed by McCarthy, who has since exited Congress. However, Emmer quickly backed out after facing significant opposition from House conservatives and former President Donald Trump, paving the way for Johnson’s successful election.

Should the speakership become vacant again, it could reopen the contest to a broader field of candidates. Last year’s contenders like Scalise, Jordan, and Emmer, along with others like Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., chair of the Republican Study Committee, and Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., a member of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus and a notable figure within the party, might re-enter the fray.

Other Republicans such as Reps. Austin Scott, R-Ga., and Gary Palmer, R-Ala., who both made bids last year, might also consider running again. Potential candidates who decided against running previously, like Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, chair of the House Budget Committee, and Tom Cole, R-Okla., chair of the House Appropriations Committee and a respected bipartisan figure, could also throw their hats into the ring.

However, with all previous candidates either having been unsuccessful last year or choosing not to run, it remains to be seen if any of them can unify a deeply divided House Republican conference that holds a slender majority.

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