Newt Gingrich weighs in on Speaker race with surprising advice

October 23, 2023

Republican stalwart Newt Gingrich urged his party to choose a woman to be Speaker of the House as they struggle to find a replacement for Kevin McCarthy (Ca.). 

Weeks after McCarthy's historic ouster, Republicans have yet to rally behind a new Speaker. The initial frontrunners, Steve Scalise (La.) and Jim Jordan (Oh.), both failed to gain enough support.

Gingrich said that Republicans should "work backwards" and pick whoever can unite the conference, rather than starting with well-known names.

Gingrich weighs in

There are currently nine Republican candidates in the race for Speaker. Republican Tom Emmer (Mn.), the establishment favorite, has faced fierce opposition from allies of President Trump, and Trump is said to be opposed to his bid.

Gingrich recommended New York's Elise Stefanik, the number-three House Republican, and Texas' Beth Van Duyne.

He suggested having a woman in charge might get the "rowdy" caucus under control.

"I, frankly, I wish — listen, I've talked about this — I wish they had a woman candidate out of all the candidates they've got running," Gingrich said. "Somebody like Elise Stefanik or Beth Van Duyne, who had been a mayor of a city before becoming a congresswoman."

"I think in some ways, given the level of rowdiness and the level of juvenile behavior, it's conceivable that a female speaker would be more effective in actually getting them all to get together and stick together," Gingrich added. "That’s the key; they have to learn to stick together."

Who can get 217?

Gingrich, who served as Speaker following the 1994 Republican Revolution, has vocally condemned the Republicans who orchestrated the ouster of McCarthy.

"I think that the eight people who betrayed the conference and joined the Democrats to defeat 96 percent of the conference unleashed furies that I don't think they even dreamed of," he said.

Gingrich said Republicans should huddle and not leave until the issue is resolved.

Whoever is chosen next, Gingrich said there is a "danger" of Republicans going back to square one if they don't agree to stay united into the future.

"Can you get 217 votes? They shouldn't bring anybody out until they have 217."

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