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Tom Emmer drops out of speaker’s race, hours after being nominated

Originally Published: 24 OCT 23 05:03 ET
Updated: 24 OCT 23 16:36 ET

(CNN) — GOP Rep. Tom Emmer has dropped out of speaker race – a move that comes just hours after he won his party’s nomination, the latest sign that Republicans are no closer to electing a new speaker.

Earlier in the day, Emmer’s bid to be speaker appeared on the verge of collapse amid opposition from the right flank of his conference and fresh attacks waged by former President Donald Trump – just hours after the Minnesota Republican was picked as the party’s nominee.

Several Republicans who oppose Emmer say they will not move off their opposition and are calling for a new candidate. Emmer can only afford to lose four Republicans, and 26 voted against him behind closed doors.

Emmer voted to certify the 2020 election, voted to keep the government open for 47 days, voted for the bipartisan law to avoid a debt default and voted to codify same-sex marriage – all issues that members of the hard-right have cited as issues.

In a post on Truth Social on Tuesday, Trump went after Emmer after House Republicans elected him as their latest speaker nominee, writing that voting for Emmer “would be a tragic mistake.”

Members of Trump’s team are also calling GOP members and urging them to oppose Emmer for speaker, two sources told CNN. One source said they’re “whipping hard.” The other source said more members are now pulling their support because of it.

Pressure is intensifying on House Republicans to elect a new speaker three weeks after the ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, as the House has remained in a state of paralysis ever since. But it’s increasingly unclear whether any Republican can get the 217 votes needed to win the gavel from the bitterly divided conference.

Despite a cordial phone call with the former president over the weekend, Trump reposted attacks against the House GOP whip on Truth Social Monday night and then followed up with his own attack after Emmer was nominated.

Leaving a GOP conference meeting Monday night, Emmer told CNN, “We have a good relationship,” when asked about Trump.

With multiple candidates in the running, members cast a series of successive secret ballots on Tuesday with the candidate with the fewest number of votes in each round dropped from the race. The other candidates who had been in the running were: Reps. 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 gathered on Monday for the candidate forum also behind closed doors. Meuser, who had been in the running, dropped his bid at that meeting.

House Foreign Affairs Chairman 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 get 217 votes on the floor.

And GOP Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida warned that if the eventual nominee can’t get to 217 votes on the floor, the conference may have to work with Democrats.

“It’s, it’s not good. Because a lot of people are gonna want to – with a mind set out there, they don’t want to work with Democrats, but it might end up to be a point where that’s the only way,” Buchanan said. “We’ve got to get the government open. People are very angry, upset.”

This story and headline have been updated with updated with additional information and developments.

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