A Slate of Nine Election Deniers Vie For House Speakership

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Later today, nine Republican representatives will campaign to be the latest nominee for speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. The House has been without a speaker for 20 days and after three failed speaker votes last week, the process is about to begin again. 

The latest slate of contenders takes after the previous two nominees Reps. Steve Scalise (La.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio), both of whom voted twice to overturn the 2020 presidential results on Jan. 6, 2021. Unlike Scalise and Jordan, however, these representatives lack the same level of national notoriety, though they are no less dangerous to democracy. 

The candidates are Reps. Jack Bergman (Mich.), Byron Donalds (Fla.), Tom Emmer (Minn.), Kevin Hern (Okla.), Mike Johnson (La.), Dan Meuser (Pa.), Gary Palmer (Ala.), Austin Scott (Ga.) and Pete Sessions (Texas). In 2020, all nine supported efforts to disenfranchise millions of Americans and inhibit the peaceful transfer of power. 

Three-quarters of the candidates objected to certifying the 2020 presidential election results.

On Jan. 6, 2021, seven of the nine potential nominees objected to counting President Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral votes: Reps. Bergman, Donalds, Hern, Johnson, Meuser, Palmer and Sessions. 

Not only did the overwhelming majority of current speaker candidates oppose the certification of the 2020 election, but all seven — except for Meuser — objected twice, even after the violent insurrection at the Capitol earlier that day.

Though Emmer and Scott did not publicly object to the results on Jan. 6, it’s not because they are champions of democracy. The two signaled their objections to the 2020 presidential election in court filings in early December. 

Seven of the nine speaker hopefuls supported Texas’ lawsuit that sought to invalidate the 2020 election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

In December 2020, the state of Texas filed a lawsuit against four battleground states — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — seeking to invalidate their election results. Just three days later, 106 members of Congress signed onto a “friend-of-the-court” amicus brief supporting this “audacious effort” to enlist the U.S. Supreme Court to help subvert democracy. The Court denied the request for lack of standing. 

Seven of the nine potential nominees signed the brief: Bergman, Emmer, Hern, Johnson, Meuser, Palmer and Scott. 

By attaching their names to the amicus brief, these representatives were emboldening the effort to disenfranchise more than 20 million voters across Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — all four of which went for Biden in 2020. 

The Republican Party’s commitment to election denialism is on full display as the race for a new speaker proceeds. The nine current candidates and the two failed nominees all joined former President Donald Trump’s effort to overturn a free and fair election. Additionally, all of the candidates have supported a sweeping voter suppression bill rooted in conspiracy theories and have voted against recent federal voting rights legislation, including the For The People Act and John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Donalds went so far as to call the For The People Act a “blatant assault on the Constitution.” 

Highlighting their commitment to the various attacks on American democracy is especially important as the speaker of the House is second in the presidential line of succession. 

Read more about the Texas lawsuit here.