At least one Republican lawmaker’s mix-up in casting a ballot for House GOP whip on Tuesday changed the outcome of the leadership race, with the member intending to vote for current Chief Deputy Whip Drew Ferguson (R-GA), who lost by one vote during the first round to National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Emmer (R-MN).
The first ballot resulted in Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Banks (R-IN) receiving 82 votes, Emmer having 72, and Ferguson receiving 71 votes, leading to Emmer and Banks facing off in the second round.
According to one senior GOP source in the room, the GOP lawmaker “committed to vote Drew on the first ballot and Tom Emmer on the second but mixed up the vote and voted for Tom Emmer on the first ballot, and that was the deciding vote and who went to the runoff against Banks.”
The source noted that Emmer, who was the third member to announce his candidacy for the No. 3 position in House GOP leadership due to his tenure leading the House GOP’s campaign arm, asked members who had already committed their vote to another candidate before he entered the race to support him on the second ballot.
“Emmer’s calls to people were specifically asking for their second vote, and that changed the outcome of the race because if that had not happened, then it would have been different,” the source added.
Emmer ultimately prevailed in a 115 to 106 vote, securing the position. The internal House GOP leadership meetings are conducted via secret ballot to provide members with anonymity.
The disappointing results for Republicans on election night changed the dynamics of the heated and highly competitive three-way battle for the position.
Emmer supporters applauded his role in helping the GOP get over the finish line in taking back control of the House, and he garnered strong backing from incoming freshman members for assisting in their efforts to win their races.
Ferguson was backed by House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and locked down votes with a sizable number of senior members, but he was met with resistance from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), according to multiple sources familiar with the dynamic.
Banks had top allies of Trumpworld going to bat for him, with Donald Trump Jr. throwing his weight behind him and taking aim at Emmer on social media.