Republicans in the US House of Representatives have chosen Tom Emmer as their nominee for Speaker in a bid to find a consensus candidate as they aim for a third time to fill a leadership vacuum that has paralysed the chamber for three weeks.
Emmer, who currently serves as the No.3 Republican in the House, won the nomination in a fifth round of voting, lawmakers said.
His next test is to secure 217 votes from the 221-member caucus, a high bar intended to ensure Republicans can elect a Speaker without relying on Democratic votes.
He beat eight other Republicans who had sought the post.
Republicans have already rejected two prior Speaker nominees, leaving the chamber leaderless since October 3.
Some lawmakers said they were eager to bury their differences after three weeks of infighting.
But others said they would not necessarily line up behind whoever wins the nomination.
“If we’ve got a weak Speaker, that’s not going to play well,” said Ralph Norman, a member of the fiscally hawkish House Freedom Caucus, before the final vote.
Emmer can point to leadership and campaign fundraising experience that normally would make him a strong candidate for the post.
But Republicans have already rejected two leaders with those skills.
Kevin McCarthy was ousted as Speaker by a small group of Republican insurgents on October 3, and his No.2, Steve Scalise, dropped his own bid the following week when he was unable to line up enough votes to win the job.
Republicans picked another conservative leader, Jim Jordan, as their nominee last week but dropped him after he lost three floor votes.