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How will the dysfunctional race for House speaker affect next year's elections?


House GOP nominated a fourth person, Mike Johnson of Louisiana, to try and replace Kevin McCarthy as speaker. Tom Emmer of Minnesota dropped out yesterday when it became apparent that he wouldn't have the votes to be elected by the full House. Now, Johnson's bid is expected to be voted on today. However, this all begs the question, how could the speaker's race affect fundraising for the Republican Party and polling going into next year's election? For more on this, we've called up Steven Stivers. He's a former Republican congressman from Ohio who also ran the National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to get Republicans elected to the House. So how does all this - everything we're seeing - shape next year's election, possibly?

STEVEN STIVERS: Well, good morning, A. And this - the speaker is the No. 1 fundraiser for the Republicans in the House. Kevin McCarthy was on pace to raise half a billion dollars, raising record amounts of money, very successful in that part of his job. And Mike Johnson, who might be able to get to 217 - we will see - has not been historically a prolific fundraiser. But as they say, politics is a team sport, and hopefully he'll be able to get some help from Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise, who is his fellow Louisianan and who are both great fundraisers. I'm not sure that this 23-day speaker debacle is going to be the catalyzing event for the 2024 elections...

MARTÍNEZ: Why not? Why not?

STIVERS: It hasn't affected anybody...

MARTÍNEZ: Is a year too long? Will we forget?

STIVERS: And a year is too long. And something will happen between now and then. Now, it has the potential to impact people's lives 'cause we're three weeks from a government shutdown. And my friend Jake Sherman wrote this morning that, you know, if Mike Johnson wins, he's going to go straight from T-ball to the major leagues, sitting down with Chuck Schumer and Joe Biden and McConnell to negotiate a government funding bill immediately.

There's a war in Israel. There's a war in Ukraine. And if we can't do something that the American people think we need to do with regard to those two things, those could be catalyzing events. So, I mean, there's forcing events coming at the House Republicans that are going to force them to come together. I also think there's a lot of folks that are just tired and ready to - you know, the standard goes down a little bit at some point. At the beginning, you know, you want somebody who's perfect, and then after three or four failed attempts, you're like, you'll take somebody who's kind of acceptable. And I'm not trying to say anything negative about Mike Johnson. Mike Johnson, by all accounts - and I served with him - is liked by a lot of people.

MARTÍNEZ: If Johnson is elected today and funding for Ukraine, for Israel and government funding gets all worked out, are you saying that a year from now, everything will be all forgiven?

STIVERS: I'm saying - yeah. I'm saying I don't think the American people are going to say, gee, for 23 days we didn't have a speaker, and we're going to vote for a Democrat for the U.S. House because of that in November of '24, a year and two weeks from now, when, you know, people have had a lot of other things happen. I don't think this is a - I think it's a circus, but I don't think it's a major event that's going to impact the 2024 elections. But again, it interplays with bigger issues that will - or could - impact the '24 elections.

MARTÍNEZ: All right. Steven Stivers is a former congressman for Ohio's 15th District. Thank you very much for weighing in here.

STIVERS: Thanks a lot. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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