Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) on Tuesday became the GOP’s fourth nominee for Speaker.
Johnson, vice chair of the House GOP conference, won the nod just hours after House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) clinched the nomination but was forced to drop out amid opposition.
Tuesday marked three weeks since the historic ousting of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) left the House in uncharted territory.
While House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) was the conference’s first nominee, he withdrew a day later, citing concerns he couldn’t garner the 217 votes needed to be elected. Jordan, the second nominee, also failed to reach a majority — even after three ballots.
Here’s what you need to know about Johnson:
Time in the Louisiana state legislature
Johnson served in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 2015 to 2017. He was elected twice without opposition.
While in the Louisiana House, he was appointed vice chairman of the state House Judiciary Committee and to the Select Committee on Leadership.
He proposed a controversial bill in 2015, named the Marriage and Conscience Act, that some saw as discriminatory to the LGBTQ community, according to The Shreveport Times.
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Election to Congress
Johnson was elected to Congress in December 2016 and represents Louisiana’s fourth district.
In 2018, he was involved in GOP efforts to overhaul the Endangered Species Act (ESA), introducing legislation to do so.
“We cannot allow the fear of challenging the status quo to prevent us from taking a hard look at the ineffective policies put in place decades ago that have failed to meet the goals of the underlying statute,” Johnson said at the time.
Johnson is a member of the House Judiciary and Armed Services committees. He also serves as chairman of the subcommittee on Constitution and Limited Government.
In 2020, Johnson signed an amicus brief alongside over 100 House Republicans supporting a Texas lawsuit that aimed to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
“President Trump called me this morning to let me know how much he appreciates the amicus brief we are filing on behalf of Members of Congress,” Johnson posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, after the brief was introduced. “Indeed, ‘this is the big one!’”
He is also a member of many caucuses, including the Congressional Prayer Caucus, the Western Caucus, the Border Caucus, among others.
Serving as vice chairman of Republican Conference
Johnson was elected vice chairman of the Republican Conference first in 2021, and again in 2022.
In an important vote attempting to codify the federal protection of same-sex marriage in July 2022, Johnson noted that his fellow GOP lawmakers had space to choose how they wanted to vote — explaining that the Whip team had communicated to them that the vote was a “matter of personal conscience.”
The results marked a noticeable shift in how Republicans have changed in their views on LGBTQ matters in recent years, with 47 Republicans voting in favor of the bill.
Johnson, however, had opposed the bill and encouraged his colleagues to do so also.
He introduced a bill a few months later trying to bar federal funds from their use in the development and hosting of events that included “sexually-oriented material” — such as drag queen story hours — for young children.
“This commonsense bill is straightforward,” Johnson said. “No federal tax dollars should go to any federal, state, or local government agencies, or private organizations that intentionally expose children under 10 years of age to sexually explicit material.”
Johnson announces run for Speaker
Johnson officially announced he is running for the Speakership in a “Dear Colleague” letter Saturday to fellow members, then reentered the race Tuesday after Emmer dropped out.
“I have been humbled to have so many Members from across our Conference reach out to encourage me to seek the nomination for Speaker,” Johnson said in his letter. “Until yesterday, I had never contacted one person about this, and I have never before aspired to the office.”
“However, after much prayer and deliberation, I am stepping forward now,” he added.
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