The House of Representatives chose Rep. Mike Johnson to serve as speaker on Wednesday following the historic ouster of Rep. Kevin McCarthy from the role over three weeks ago.

Johnson, R-La., was elected speaker of the House during a full vote on the House floor Wednesday afternoon. The vote tally was 220 to 209. 

Johnson needed 215 votes to secure the speaker’s gavel Wednesday. Typically, the threshold is 217, however, due to current absences, the threshold fell to 215.

House Republicans selected Johnson as their fourth speaker nominee late Tuesday after their past three nominees to lead the chamber dropped out of the race.


Johnson was elected House speaker after weeks of closed-door negotiating within the House Republican Conference after McCarthy, R-Calif., was removed as speaker of the House on Oct. 3 in a historic first for the chamber.

The House Republican Conference initially voted to select House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., as their nominee for speaker on a secret ballot, but he later withdrew. 

Then, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, was selected as the speaker nominee in a second conference vote, but the conference later voted to remove him after he failed three House-wide votes.

House Republicans considered a move to empower Speaker Pro-tempore Patrick McHenry that would give the interim speaker expanded power through January, but that effort also failed. 

By Tuesday, House Majority Whip Tom Emmer had been selected as the House Republican Conference’s nominee for speaker, but by Tuesday afternoon, Emmer had dropped out of the race ahead of a formal floor vote. 

Emmer’s drop out came shortly after a blistering attack on Truth Social from former President Trump, who called him a “globalist RINO,” or, Republican In Name Only, and warned House Republicans that electing him speaker would be a “tragic mistake.” 

After Emmer’s drop out, Johnson, along with Reps. Byron Donalds, R-Fla.; Charles Fleischmann, R-Tenn.; Mark Green, R-Tenn., all were possible nominees. Johnson won the nomination Tuesday night. 

Trump didn’t formally endorse any of the candidates in the next round, posting on his Truth Social account that he “could never go against any of these fine and very talented men, all of whom have supported me, in both mind and spirit, from the very beginning of our GREAT 2016 Victory.” 

But in that post, Trump “strongly” urged House Republicans to vote for Johnson on the floor and “get it done fast.” 

Later Wednesday morning, Trump said Johnson would be a “fantastic speaker,” and said he is “respected by all and that’s what we need.”

 “He’s popular, smart, sharp. He’s going to be fantastic. I think he’s going to be a fantastic speaker,” Trump said ahead of the floor vote Tuesday. 

Johnson has been in politics since 2015 when he was elected to the state House, where he stayed until 2017.

The son of a firefighter, Johnson was elected to Congress in the 2016 election and serves on the House Judiciary and Armed Services Committees.

Johnson is currently in his second term as the vice chairman of the House Republican Conference. The Louisiana Republican previously served one term as the influential Republican Study Committee chairman.

Johnson is an ally of former President Donald Trump and defended him during the Democrat-led House impeachment hearings. He also filed an amicus brief co-signed of 100 House Republicans to support Texas litigation seeking to overturn the 2020 election results in four states: Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. He was the Chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee at the time. 

“President Trump called me this morning to let me know how much he appreciates the amicus brief we are filing on behalf of Members of Congress,” Johnson posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Dec. 9, 2020. “Indeed, ‘this is the big one!’”

The lawsuit, filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, tried to buy more time with the Supreme Court to allow investigations of purported voting issues to continue before the final electoral vote in the four swing states. The Supreme Court rejected the lawsuit. 

On several other issues, Johnson has aligned with the most conservative lawmakers in the caucus.

Last month, he voted against H.R. 5692, the Ukraine Security Assistance and Oversight Supplemental Appropriations Act, which passed. The bill appropriates federal dollars to assist Ukraine’s military in its defense against Russia and establishes an inspector general’s office to oversee aid. 

Additionally, he opposed the temporary spending measure, known as a Continuing Resolution (CR), aligning with 90 other House Republicans, at the Sept. 30 deadline. He also supported measures to bolster border security within the CR, which aimed to restrict eligibility for asylum seekers. The bill did not garner enough support to pass.

In June, Johnson voted in favor of a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Joe Biden. 

Prior to joining Congress, Johnson worked as a lawyer and was the senior spokesperson for the conservative Christian legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom.

This was the second-longest period the House has ever gone without a speaker. It lacked a speaker for two months in late 1855 and early 1856.

McCarthy’s ouster came after Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., introduced a measure against him known as a motion to vacate, accusing him of breaking promises he made to win the speaker’s gavel in January.

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