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

At this moment, the House of Representatives solely possesses a speaker pro tempore, and House Republicans are in a swift pursuit to identify a suitable candidate for this role. Presently, one of the potential contenders has withdrawn. Representative Kevin Hern (R-OK) originally intended to make a second attempt at securing the position he narrowly missed in January, but he has reversed his decision less than a week before the election.

On October 3, a historic event occurred as the Speaker of the House was ousted from his position by fellow members for the very first time. Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had occupied this role for a duration of under nine months, following a fiercely contested election that extended to 15 rounds of voting. The protracted process was primarily due to resistance from a minority faction within the GOP’s right-wing, and in early October, this same faction joined forces with Democrats to compel his departure.

Right from the beginning, McCarthy explicitly stated his lack of interest in seeking re-election. However, three potential successors swiftly emerged as candidates: Hern, along with Representatives Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Steve Scalise (R-LA). 

Jordan received an early advantage with an endorsement from former President Donald Trump. Nevertheless, concerns have arisen regarding his level of conservatism and its alignment with the GOP’s mainstream. In the meantime, Hern was a familiar figure due to his prior candidacy against McCarthy in January.

Following the protracted process in January, the idea of a three-way competition presented a significant challenge. However, Hern has now opted for a more straightforward approach. On October 7, he utilized X (formerly Twitter) to convey that he had invested more than 50 hours in discussions with colleagues and reached a conclusion.

Stating that it was evident the party sought unity and that a three-way race would only exacerbate division, he declared his withdrawal from the contest, leaving it as a direct choice between Jordan and Scalise. It is hoped that the party will promptly reach a decision on who will assume the role of the new speaker.

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