Alabama's first district U.S. Rep. Jerry Carl (R-Mobile) says House Republicans have a new plan to elect a new Speaker of the House.

Carl says the formal selection process will start Monday at 6 p.m. when the House GOP Conference meets. He expects the conference to go into the night on Monday and possibly into Tuesday.

"We have about six candidates who may run for Speaker. We will line them up and listen to all of them. We will reduce them down to two and then have a vote for our caucus nominee," Carl said to 1819 News on Saturday.

On social media, Carl said:

"We've got some really solid individuals who've stepped up to run, and I look forward to asking them tough questions about making Congress work again. I will make my decision based on who is best for #AL01 and our nation as a whole."

"It is important that we have unity, that we all support the Speaker candidate that is selected by our caucus."

The U.S. House of Representatives has been without a Speaker of the House since October 4 of this year. There is very little business the House can do without a Speaker.

A majority vote of the House had removed former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a combination of all Democrats and eight Republicans. Since then, efforts to elect a new Speaker have been unsuccessful.

The House Republican Conference, who are a majority of the House (but a bare majority), nominated U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) as their candidate. In behind-the-scenes meetings with the members of his own party, Scalise determined that he could not get enough votes to win an election for Speaker. He withdrew.

The GOP Conference then met and selected Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) as the Republican candidate for Speaker. Jordan did not achieve a majority after three ballots of the entire House. All Democrats voted for their nominee, Hakeem Jeffries, and several Republicans voted for various Republican congressmen, thereby denying Jordan the majority required for the Speakership.

A meeting of the GOP Conference then voted to remove Jordan as the Republican nominee.

At this time, there is no Republican selection for Speaker.

Carl says he has been getting feedback from his constituents about selecting a new Speaker. On Saturday, Carl posted the following on his Twitter X account:

"I'm thankful for everyone who has called and written to express their thoughts on my votes for the next Speaker of the House. I will always listen, and I am committed to voting with our shared South Alabama values.

"Last week, I supported Jim Jordan in our Republican Conference and on the House Floor. Unfortunately, Jim did not get enough votes for Speaker, and we are back to square one. We must find the best Republican candidate to get the votes and unite our party.

"It was disgraceful that several of my colleagues, their spouses, and even their children received death threats because of pressure on social media. I believe these threats and this drama contributed to Jim not securing the Speakership.

"That's not the way Americans should operate, and threats of violence are totally unacceptable. As we move forward in this process, I ask that you stay engaged with me and share your thoughts."

Carl continued: "I'm thankful for everyone who has called and written to express their thoughts on my votes for the next Speaker of the House. I will always listen, and I am committed to voting with our shared south Alabama values."

There is uncertainty as to which congressmen will run for Speaker. It appears there are now five running and two "seriously considering":

  • U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Mich.)

  • U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) ran for Speaker against Kevin McCarthy in January, losing. Donalds is a die-hard supporter of former President Donald Trump, endorsing him in April over his own governor, Ron DeSantis. He refers to himself as a "Trump-supporting, liberty-loving, pro-life, pro-Second Amendment Black man."

  • U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) is the Majority Whip, the third-ranking Republican. Former U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has endorsed him.

  • U.S. Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) is Chair of the GOP Study Committee with 170 GOP congress members.

  • U.S. Rep. Austen Scott (R-Ga.) is not well-known but ran against Jordan for the caucus Speaker nomination, losing 124-81. He then supported Jordan on the House floor.

Two congressmen are in the "seriously considering" column:

  • U.S. Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) is Chair of the House Budget Committee.

  • U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) is Vice-Chair of the House GOP Caucus.

The situation in which Republican congress members will run for Speaker is fluid and is expected to continue changing.

Carl is up for re-election in 2024 in Alabama's March 5 Republican primary and November 5 general election. He has announced for re-election and has no opponent at this time. The deadline to qualify to run for office in Alabama is November 10, 2023. Under the new congressional district map, Carl represents the counties of Baldwin, Escambia, Covington, Geneva, Coffee, Dale, Houston, Henry, and most of south and west Mobile County.

The author, Jim Zeigler, is a former Alabama Public Service Commissioner and State Auditor.

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