Louisiana Congressman Mike Johnson, aged 51, achieved what had eluded three previous Republican nominees, officially stepping into the role of House Speaker and ending a tumultuous three-week period of discord among House Republicans that had brought Congress to a standstill.
In a party-line vote of 220-209 on Wednesday afternoon, Johnson secured the House Speaker position, elevating him to second in line to the presidency and ending the chaos that had engulfed House Republicans.
Mike Johnson, a staunch supporter of Donald Trump and a vocal proponent of conservative values, had not been the initial choice of the Republican Party for the role of Speaker. The party had failed to unite behind three previous candidates, all of whom were eventually removed from consideration.
The turmoil in Congress had reached its zenith when House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was removed from his position in an unprecedented recall initiated by far-right Florida Representative Matt Gaetz on October 3.
With no Speaker in place, Congress faced a dire situation, given the looming government shutdown on November 17 and the urgent need to decide on funding packages for Israel and Ukraine.
After McCarthy’s ouster, Republicans initially nominated Louisiana Representative Steve Scalise as his replacement. However, Scalise quickly realized that he lacked the necessary support to win the formal Speaker election on the House floor and withdrew from consideration.
Following Scalise, Ohio Representative Jim Jordan was selected as the new Republican House Speaker nominee. But despite three rounds of voting in the Speaker election, Jordan was unable to secure the required votes. His own party members voted to remove him as the party’s nominee for House Speaker.
Next, the House Republican Conference nominated Minnesota Representative Tom Emmer as their third-choice nominee. However, Emmer also withdrew within hours when it became evident that he lacked the necessary 217 votes to secure the Speaker position.
This led to the nomination of Mike Johnson on Tuesday evening, shortly after Emmer’s withdrawal.
Mike Johnson, now serving his fourth congressional term, had maintained a relatively low national profile prior to his bid for Speaker. His political positions align closely with his ultraconservative religious beliefs, driving him to advocate for prayer in public schools, oppose reproductive rights, and challenge LGBTQ+ freedoms.
He has expressed his disagreement with the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, and introduced the “Stop the Sexualization of Children Act” in 2022, a bill aiming to prohibit the mention of sexual orientation and gender identity in federally funded institutions, likened to Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Additionally, Johnson had played a prominent role in supporting a lawsuit to overturn the 2020 election results in four swing states, an effort that was ultimately dismissed by the Supreme Court.