House Republicans are feeling the pressure of needing to elect a new speaker after weeks of congressional paralysis – but whether there will be one this week remains to be seen, several of them said.
‘Fifty-fifty would be my prediction,’ Rep. Nick LaLota, R-N.Y., told Fox News Digital on Monday night. ‘It seems like there’s less emotion in the room. There’s less stubbornness, there’s more reasonability.’
GOP lawmakers held a speaker candidate forum on Monday evening ahead of a conference-wide vote on their next nominee for the gavel. It’s their third time in three weeks hosting such an event, and Tuesday will mark three weeks since ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s historic ouster.
Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., and Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio – two of the highest-profile House Republicans after McCarthy – were both forced out of the race because they were unable to win over the 217 Republicans needed for victory.
CHAOTIC, CONVOLUTED PATH HOUSE REPUBLICANS TOOK TO ELECT SPEAKER LEADS BACK TO SQUARE ONE
While some GOP lawmakers left the room with optimism on Monday, others were hesitant to say the political spectacle is enough to unite a heavily fractured Republican conference.
‘I want there to be one. I have no idea, because there’s 221 individuals in this place that have been here for a long time and have their own thoughts on what the priorities should be,’ Rep. Jake Ellzey, R-Texas, who did not support Jordan, told Fox News Digital.
Meanwhile, Small Business Committee Chairman Roger Williams, R-Texas, suggested that no one can make a conclusion right now on what will happen Tuesday but said ‘hopefully’ a speaker is finally chosen.
‘I’m confident with you we will. If we haven’t, you ask me that question for…the following week,’ Williams said. ‘We’re going through the process, and we’ll see. Hopefully, we can come out with somebody tomorrow and get on the floor with it. But we’ll see.’
House Republicans were originally set to hear from nine different candidates for speaker. One of them, Rep. Dan Meuser, left shortly after opening speeches concluded and told reporters he was dropping out of the race. ‘I felt that it was in the best interest in the end. I came in late. I have other commitments to adhere to,’ he said.
Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., cast himself as ‘cautiously optimistic’ that a speaker would be found soon and said his colleagues showed ‘a consensus that we have to get back to work.’
‘Tonight was very cordial. It’s the first time was cordial, I think, among members,’ Zinke told Fox News Digital. ‘I saw a distinct diminishing of hostilities, it seemed to be a little calmer.’
‘After I saw that tone tonight, I’m actually, I would say cautiously optimistic, that we can actually get a speaker done this week,’ Zinke added.
Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas, said ‘sheer exhaustion’ within the GOP conference would help bring an end to the saga.
‘I don’t know of anybody in there that wants this to go on longer than tomorrow. Literally, regardless of who they’re supporting,’ Fallon said, adding that constituents want them ‘to get this done today.’