GOP Rep. Kevin Hern Steps Down, No Longer Competing for Speaker

( – Right now, the House of Representatives only has a speaker pro tempore, and House Republicans are racing to find someone to fill the job. Now, one of the candidates has dropped out. Representative Kevin Hern (R-OK) had planned to have a second attempt at the job he missed out on in January, but less than a week before the election he’s changed his mind.

On October 3, for the first time in history, the Speaker of the House was removed from the job by his colleagues. Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had held the post for less than nine months after a hard-fought election that ran to 15 rounds of voting. The reason it took so long was opposition from a small group on the right of the GOP, and in early October that same group voted with Democrats to force him out.

McCarthy made clear from the start that he wasn’t interested in running again, but three candidates quickly emerged as possible replacements; Hern and Representatives Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Steve Scalise (R-LA). Jordan got an early boost when former president Donald Trump endorsed him — but some worry he’s too conservative for the GOP mainstream. Meanwhile, Hern was a known quantity, because he’d run against McCarthy in January.

After January’s drawn-out process, the prospect of a three-way race was a challenge. Now, Hern has decided to simplify things. On October 7 he posted a message on X (formerly Twitter) announcing that he’d spent over 50 hours on the phone with colleagues and made a decision. Saying it was clear the party wanted unity and a three-way race would just cause more division, he said he had decided to pull out of the contest and leave it as a straight choice between Jordan and Scalise. Hopefully, the party will be able to make a quick decision on which one will be the new speaker.

Republicans will vote among themselves on the new speaker as early as October 11, a full House vote has not been scheduled.

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