Louisiana Representative Makes Play for House Speaker
Published 10:30 pm Saturday, October 21, 2023
In a dramatic turn of events, on Tuesday, Oct. 3rd, the United States House of Representatives voted to remove Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his position in a 216-210 vote. His removal marked the first-ever expulsion of a sitting Speaker of the House. Following McCarthy’s removal, speculation surrounded the potential candidates for the next House Speaker, warranting attention within Louisiana’s political landscape.
Many anticipated House Majority Leader Rep. Steve Scalise, a seasoned Republican representing Louisiana’s 1st congressional district since 2008, to assume the role. However, to the surprise of many, Scalise withdrew from the race despite initially securing a narrow majority during a closed-door vote within the Republican conference.
Following Scalise’s withdrawal, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan from Ohio was considered a potential candidate, reportedly allied with and favored by former President Donald Trump. However, Jordan faced setbacks, losing three separate ballots, leading to his decision to step aside.
Amidst a growing race for the Speakership, numerous Republican representatives nationwide have announced their candidacy. Representative Mike Johnson from Louisiana’s 4th congressional district, who has been quietly working his way up Republican ranks, has announced his intent to join the race.
Johnson is a Deputy Whip and vice chair of the Republican Conference. He serves on the Judiciary and Armed Services Committees and is chairman of the Constitution and Limited Government subcommittee. Before his congressional role, Johnson was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives twice, representing the eighth district after running unopposed both times.
While in the Louisiana House, Johnson was selected as vice chairman of the state House Judiciary Committee and placed on the Select Committee on Leadership. In 2015, according to The Atlantic, he controversially proposed the Marriage and Conscience Act. The bill was ultimately tabled and brought forward by then-Governor Bobby Jindal.
Throughout his national political career, he has advocated against abortion and same-sex marriage. Additionally, on numerous occasions, Johnson has requested the observance of the Pledge of Allegiance during Congressional committee meetings. Most notably, Johnson voted against certifying the 2020 presidential election and was part of a group wanting to overhaul the Endangered Species Act in favor of agricultural production.
As the race for the Speakership intensifies, Johnson’s candidacy stands alongside the numerous other representatives vying for the top job. The upcoming candidate forum on Monday, October 23rd, will see all contenders present their visions and path forward.
The outcome of this race holds significance for Louisiana and its representation in the national political landscape as the state recently elected Republican Jeff Landry as Governor.