Introducing Tom Emmer: GOP Majority Whip with McCarthy’s Endorsement for House Speaker

After Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) withdrew from consideration for the speakership on Friday, many other Republicans declared candidacies.

Tom Emmer (R-MN), the current Majority Whip, declared his candidacy on Friday and has received much support since then.

Ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has publicly endorsed Emmer.

It’s uncertain whether Emmer can convince the other Republicans to agree to follow him as leader.

McCarthy said, “Emmer is the right person for the job. He can unite the Conference. He understands the dynamics of the Conference. He also understands what it takes to win and keep a majority.”

In a letter to Republicans on Saturday, Emmer said, “We’re still at a crossroads in our Conference, and the odds are stacked against us. We have no choice but to fight like hell to hold on to our House majority and deliver on our conservative agenda.”

Emmer promised to build on the Republican Party’s triumph in the House by emphasizing cooperation, open dialogue, and mutual regard.

Supporters of Emmer also remarked on his capability as a fundraiser. Emmer raised $9.2 million for House races in the 2022 election cycle, including more than $3.1 million for the National Republican Congressional Committee, which he led then. Emmer has raised $7.6 million in 2023 for the 2024 election cycle.

Emmer is an attorney, former hockey player and coach, a father of seven, and the No. 3 GOP lawmaker in the House this Congress.

He assumed the position from Steve Scalise, R-La., now the House majority leader, who also happened to be the GOP speaker nominee before Jordan. Holding the position after leading the National Republican Congressional Committee in the last election cycle, Emmer said he is a ‘team guy’ from a ‘big hockey factory.’

While Emmer suggests he developed his negotiating skills as an attorney, he started in the 1990s by forming a minor hockey club in Delano, Minnesota.

Emmer said they started because he recognized all the competing entities, much like in Congress. Emmer had to become a member of the local Youth Hockey board. He then had to become a board member who ran the ice arena so the team could control their own ice time. Emmer then had to become a member of the District Hockey Board in charge of his community’s region, which led him to become part of Minnesota Hockey under USA Hockey’s umbrella.”

Emmer claims that 30 years ago, the town’s program was previously unknown in the sport and is now a regular contender for state titles.

Emmer got his initial whiff of politics when he and his wife Jackie lived in a renovated country hotel with 200-year-old oak and maple trees in the front yard. The local public works staff tagged the trees that would have to be cut down to make way for the new road the following day.

The whip said his wife was devastated by the development. Emmer phoned the mayor, a farmer, and at 10 o’clock that night, the mayor arrived in his beat-up old Cadillac Fleetwood to decorate the trees on the congressman’s property with lights. The mayor requested the public works director consider moving the road 80 feet into a farm field to save the trees.

Emmer recalled after witnessing that, he realized the way it works. He was then quoted thousands of dollars for a sewer he didn’t need or want. “And that’s what got me involved running.”

The Republicans in the House are beginning the selection process for a new speaker from scratch. After Jordan’s third attempt to become speaker, Emmer ran for the position himself. 

After an internal House GOP vote deciding whether or not to keep Jordan as speaker designate, a long list of Republicans arose as possible contenders to lead the House.

On Monday night, Republican representatives will have a closed-door candidate discussion before Tuesday’s conference-wide voting via confidential, anonymous vote.