Republicans on Tuesday chose House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) as their nominee for Speaker.
Emmer clinched the nomination with 117 votes.
But now he faces a far bigger challenge: locking down 217 votes on the House floor. It’s shaping up to be a battle, with former President Trump opposing him and conservatives expressing concerns.
Emmer is the GOP’s third nominee for Speaker. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) dropped out after it became clear he couldn’t get 217 votes, and the conference voted to withdraw the nomination of House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) after he lost three ballots on the House floor.
Here’s what you need to know about Emmer.
Time in the Minnesota House of Representatives
Before being elected to Congress, Emmer served three terms as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives from 2005 to 2011.
He served on several committees while in state office, including committees for Finance, Health Care and Human Services Policy and Oversight, along with the State and Local Government Operations Reform, Technology and Elections Committee.
Emmer announced in 2009 that he would run for governor — even receiving an endorsement from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R).
The gubernatorial race attracted national attention because Target donated $150,000 to a political action committee that paid for advertisements supporting Emmer’s run. However, protests erupted over the donation.
Emmer ultimately lost — by less than a percentage point — to his Democratic opponent Mark Dayton, who served in the office until 2019.
Two terms running the NRCC as a member of the House
Emmer officially announced he would seek the Republican nomination for Minnesota’s 6th District after former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R) announced she would vacate her seat.
He received endorsements from several conservative groups, including the Tea Party Express and Young Americans for Liberty, as well as many Minnesota legislators.
He beat out Joe Perske in the general election, earning 56 percent of the vote.
Emmer then served a full two terms as the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) from 2019 to 2023.
Elected as House majority whip
When Republicans gained control of the House in the 2022 midterm elections, Emmer ran for the House majority whip, successfully earning the coveted spot once held by Scalise.
Whips are responsible for assisting the party leadership in bringing the party’s bills to the House floor, counting votes on key legislation and maintaining communication between the leadership.
“It is an honor to be entrusted by my colleagues with the role of Majority Whip. Now the hard work begins,” Emmer said in a statement released at the time. “It’s time to unite our conference and deliver on our promises to the American people.”
Emmer, a former hockey coach, has said being whip is “the best coaching job I’ve ever had.”
After 15 rounds of voting to elect McCarthy as Speaker during his first week in the role, Emmer said in May that he was prepared to change the minds of the GOP and gather members to work together.
The whip’s office has also reportedly become a key gathering place for Republicans throughout the year as they have grappled with internal division.
Voting record a concern
Conservative Republicans have expressed concerns about Emmer’s voting record.
He voted in favor of codifying same-sex marriage, in favor of spending bills, and for a debt limit deal that outraged hard-liners.
Notably, he voted to certify the 2020 election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania.
Rep. Rich Allen (R-Ga.) said he will not back Emmer for Speaker because of his vote in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which was passed by Congress last year and gives federal protections to same-sex marriages.
Those opposed to Emmer do not have one particular ideological bent, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) said Tuesday.
“The people that are standing up are all over the place,” he told reporters after exiting a more than three hour conference meeting.
“It’s not just Freedom caucus members….They are all across the board.”