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Tom Emmer Wins House GOP Nomination To Be Speaker

Rep. (R- Minn.), the current third-ranking House Republican, won the race to be the next party nominee to be speaker Wednesday.

Emmer beat out more conservative alternatives in a series of votes behind closed doors, but it remains unclear if he can muster the 217 votes that will be needed on the House floor to become speaker.

The day started with eight candidates. The lowest-polling lawmaker dropped out after each round of voting. Emmer began the day with 78 votes on the first ballot, then gradually increased his tally as the number of contestants shrank.

It’s unclear if Emmer can get 217 out of the 221 House Republicans to back him on the floor. If he can’t, he’ll either need to sway the holdouts somehow or give up.

The House has ceased functioning as a legislative body since Republicans ousted Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from the speaker’s office earlier this month. Republicans have since rejected two possible replacements after they won internal votes but couldn’t garner the near-unanimity of the conference.

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.) told reporters Tuesday, “Look at the last two weeks. It seems like nobody can get to 217.”