Republican congressman Mike Johnson has been elected as the next Speaker of the US House of Representatives.
The deeply conservative politician swept the vote on the first ballot following weeks of turmoil since the ousting of Kevin McCarthy.
He emerged as the fourth nominee after a cycle of Republican internecine warfare since his predecessor was booted out by his own side.
While not the party’s top choice, the deeply religious and even-keeled Mr Johnson has few foes and an important backer in former president Donald Trump.
“I think he’s gonna be a fantastic speaker,” Mr Trump said on Wednesday at the New York courthouse where the former president, who is now the Republican front-runner for president in 2024, is on trial over a lawsuit alleging business fraud.
Mr Trump said he had not heard “one negative comment about him. Everybody likes him”.
Three weeks on without a House speaker, the Republicans have been wasting their majority status – a maddening embarrassment to some, democracy in action to others, but not at all how the House is expected to function.
More right wing members have refused to accept a more traditional speaker, and moderate conservatives do not want a hard-liner.
While Mr Johnson had no opponents during the private roll call late on Tuesday, some two dozen Republicans did not vote, more than enough to have prevented him taking the gavel.
But when Republican conference chair Elise Stefanik rose to introduce Mr Johnson’s name on Wednesday as their nominee, Republicans jumped to their feet for an extended standing ovation.
“House Republicans and Speaker Mike Johnson will never give up,” she said.
Democrats again nominated their leader, Hakeem Jeffries of New York, criticising Johnson as an architect of Mr Trump’s legal effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election he lost.
Deeply religious, Mr Johnson is affable, well liked and colleagues swiftly started giving their support.
“Democracy is messy sometimes, but it is our system,” Mr Johnson said after winning the nomination. “We’re going to restore your trust in what we do here.”
Mr Johnson was elected to Congress in 2016 and has kept a relatively low profile since then though he is very socially conservative and a staunch Trump supporter.
He represents Louisiana’s fourth congressional district, which includes nearly 760,000 resident and won the seat with the largest margin of victory in his region in more than 50 years.
After graduating from Louisiana State University, he spent nearly 20 years practicing constitutional law.
Mr Johnson then served in the Louisiana Legislature from February 2015 to January 2017.
He and his wife, Kelly, have been married since 1999 and have four children.
Written by: Newsroom