Oklahoma Representative Kevin Hern, a member of the Republican Party, has confirmed that he will not seek the position of Speaker of the House.
Previously, the head of the Republican Study Committee had given signals that he might vie for the Speaker’s role. However, he chose to refrain, highlighting concerns that introducing another contender would only increase rifts and complicate the selection process.
“I reached out to all 221 members of the House Republican Conference through calls, messages, or face-to-face discussions to understand their expectations for our next Speaker and the direction we should take as a Majority,” Hern mentioned in his official statement. “The dominant sentiment I gathered was a call for unity and the necessity to emerge from this phase as a more cohesive Majority. A lot of members expressed the need for fresh perspectives in our leadership, but the emphasis was clearly on unity.”
With Hern stepping away, the contest for the Speaker’s position is now primarily between Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio and Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana.
Jordan is known to resonate with the conservative faction of the party and those desiring a shift in leadership dynamics. On the other hand, Scalise, known for his close ties with ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California, brings with him extensive leadership credentials.
Hern stopped short of endorsing any candidate during his announcement, suggesting instead that the two contenders should compete and win over their colleagues’ support. It’s anticipated that the Republicans will determine their Speaker nominee in a private session next Tuesday.
Hern emphasized, “As we move ahead, our group must pledge to collaborate intensively, be present in discussions, and jointly find a nominee who can secure the backing of 217 Republican members. Once we finalize our decision and approach the House’s main chamber, it’s crucial that we present a united front, demonstrating our collective endorsement for our Speaker and our readiness to fulfill our legislative responsibilities.”
The ongoing tumultuous Speaker race was initiated by the unprecedented ousting of McCarthy from the Speaker’s role the previous week, marking him the only Speaker to be voted out by peers.
Additionally, there were brief speculations about the former President, Donald Trump, taking up the Speaker’s mantle. Although Trump showed some initial interest, he later withdrew, throwing his support behind Jordan.