After roughly two and a half hours, the GOP House speaker candidate forum has ended. Members heard from the eight Republicans vying for the gavel.
Following the forum, Rep. Pete Sessions — one of the eight candidates — called the meeting “productive” and said it “really helped getting us prepared for tomorrow,” when the conference will vote for its third candidate to succeed Kevin McCarthy.
“Obviously, overwhelmingly, there’s a viewpoint that we do get that the American people are frustrated with the processes that we’ve gone through. I would say back to the American people that I think that these few weeks have given us a better chance to learn about each other,” Sessions said.
Sessions said he thinks the conference can decide on someone Tuesday.
“I think that we can get it done. And I think that the body spoke enough about the desire that we not leave here tomorrow until we have that answer,” he said.
He added, “I think there’s only so many times you can go through this process, go to the floor, make a mistake, and I think that it’s made us more cognizant of the need to get things done.”
Another candidate, Rep. Kevin Hern said, “We had a great turnout — that was really awesome to see that — and they asked really good questions.”
Hern was bullish about his chances.
“Well I certainly do, or I wouldn’t be doing this,” he said when asked whether he believed he could win the gavel. “I didn’t get this to come in second or to lose.”
Rep. Jack Bergman did not say whether he had a path to win, but said the party would see in the morning. “But the point is, we’ll see, because we’re gonna start having a round of votes,” he said, adding, “when you’re the last person standing, you’re going to be the speaker-designee.”
And Rep. Austin Scott, who served as the foil to now-former speaker-designee Jim Jordan in his bid, said he thought his presentation “went pretty good.”
“I feel like there are a lot of members in our conference that have what it would take to be the speaker of the House. I do not in any way, shape, form or fashion think I’m the only person in the Republican conference that has what it takes to be the speaker of the House. I told my colleagues if you want someone who’s honest, who’s got courage and a strong work ethic, I would love to be your speaker. That’s what I told them,” Scott said.