May 29, 2024  |  
 | Remer,MN
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Alex Miller

NextImg:Johnson officially enters speaker race with plan to ‘restore’ trust in the GOP, build majority

House Republican Conference Vice Chair Mike Johnson has made his bid for Speaker of the House official, and is prepared with a list of priorities that the next speaker “must” commit to. 

Mr. Johnson, 51, wrote in a letter to colleagues that he had not considered a run for the gavel until Friday out of respect for House rules and the previous candidates, House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan of Ohio and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana.  

“At this critical juncture, our House Republican majority must provide principled leadership,” Mr. Johnson said. “It is our duty to chart a new path, and answer with clarity and conviction who we are, why we are here, and what we are fighting for.”

In a public pitch for support, the fourth-term lawmaker laid out a list of seven priorities that believed the next speaker should have. Those priorities included restoring trust in the conference, advancing a consensus policy agenda, promoting, developing and engaging with members, among others. 

The fourth-term lawmaker touted his varied background, which includes 20 years as a constitutional lawyer. 

He also made the case as a unifier of the fractured GOP by pointing to his time as chair of the conference’s largest caucus, the Republican Study Committee, which boasts over 150 members, and the unanimous vote to elect him to a second term as vice chair of the Republican Conference.

“The complex role of Speaker at this time requires a team player and a bridge-builder with endless energy and a unique mix of skills and experiences,” Mr. Johnson said. “My extensive background in law, policy, strategic analysis, messaging, managing, networking, and building coalitions happens to have served as uncommon preparation for the extraordinary demands of this day.”

Mr. Johnson will square off against a half dozen other candidates for speaker, including Majority Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota and Reps. Byron Donalds of Florida, Jack Bergman of Michigan, Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, Pete Sessions of Texas, and Austin Scott of Georgia.

The candidates will stump for the gavel in a closed-door candidate forum Monday. Lawmakers are expected to vote for their preferred candidate Tuesday. 

• Alex Miller can be reached at