"The show must go on," as they say in circus-speak — and on and on, when it comes to the chaotic GOP and their search for a House speaker. So instead of zeroing in on one person they can all agree on to take control of the House, they've decided to prolong the farce and throw nine more candidates into the ring.
According to GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik, the "official announced candidates" — aka the all-men Republican lineup for this week's act — include: Jack Bergman (MI), Byron Donalds (FL), Tom Emmer (MN), Kevin Hern (OK), Mike Johnson (LA), Dan Meuser (PA), Gary Palmer (AL), Austin Scott (GA), and Pete Sessions (TX). (See Stefanik's list below, reposted by Ron Filipkowski.)
After ousting former Speaker Kevin McCarthy in a historical stunt, scaring off their frontrunner candidate Steve Scalise, and then propping up only to punch down Gym Jordan, it's only natural that the MAGA-"led" House would trot out nine more players.
Republicans will head into a closed conference meeting on Monday evening for a candidate forum. It's been almost three weeks since they ejected Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as speaker, and in that time, all they've accomplished is rejecting two more candidates, Majority Whip Steve Scalise (La.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio). They've also fought, bullied each other, fielded death threats and played dress-up for the cameras.
The House remains inoperable amid all of this. Without a speaker, the chamber can't conduct legislative business. Meanwhile, Congress has to act with urgency to consider aid to Israel and Ukraine, and to avert a government shutdown next month.
A whopping nine Republicans are now in the race to be speaker because at this point, it's a free for all, so why not? The GOP's plan is to hear out these candidates on Monday evening, and then vote internally on Tuesday to elect one. From there, that nominee would head to the House floor for a full vote and potentially rounds of rejection and public humiliation.