Tom Emmer, a Republican Congressman from Minnesota, has emerged as the latest candidate backed by Kevin McCarthy and the GOP establishment in their search for a new Speaker of the House. Emmer, who currently serves as Kevin McCarthy’s Majority Whip, has gained support after previous efforts to elect Steve Scalise as Speaker failed. While Emmer’s candidacy is seen as a move to block Jim Jordan’s bid, it has also attracted attention due to his controversial stance on the Electoral College system.
Emmer has long been a supporter of the “National Popular Vote” scheme, which gained popularity on the left following President Trump’s 2016 Electoral College victory. Under this scheme, electoral votes would no longer be given to the winning candidate of an individual state but instead assigned to the national popular vote winner. This program has been enacted in a number of blue states, surrendering a state’s sovereignty and giving control over its votes to residents of other states. Critics argue that this system hands national electoral control to highly populated areas like New York and California, which are traditionally left-wing regions.
Supporters of the scheme argue that it would ensure that the president is chosen by a majority of the popular vote. They claim that the bills promoting the popular vote legislation will take effect when enacted into law by states possessing a combined total of 270 electoral votes. However, opponents view this as a direct assault on the Electoral College system and a threat to the representation of smaller states in presidential elections.
Emmer’s promotion of the destruction of the Electoral College has attracted criticism from House conservatives and GOP voters, as well as former President Donald Trump. Trump has reportedly told his political allies that he will not be endorsing Emmer, citing his refusal to endorse Trump for re-election in 2024. Trump advisor Boris Epshteyn has also criticized Emmer, stating that his views are out of step with the majority of GOP voters and the MAGA movement.
Emmer’s bid for Speaker of the House will require him to file his paperwork by noon on Sunday. He will be competing against several other candidates, including Reps. Byron Donalds, Kevin Hern, Austin Scott, Tom Emmer, Jack Bergman, and Pete Sessions, with more expected to declare their candidacy. Following a secret ballot cancellation of a vote for Jim Jordan, the GOP will hold a speakership candidates’ forum on Monday before convening on Tuesday for a new nomination and election process.
The controversy surrounding Emmer’s support for the National Popular Vote scheme, as well as his refusal to endorse Trump, has created divisions within the GOP and among Republican voters. As the race for Speaker of the House continues, it remains to be seen whether Emmer can overcome these challenges and secure the support necessary to assume the role.