Whether U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds can convince a majority of House Republicans to back his bid for Speaker remains unclear. But he’s quickly lining up a broad range of Florida Republicans behind his candidacy.
U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan, Kat Cammack, Mario Díaz-Balart, Carlos Giménez, Scott Franklin, Cory Mills and Michael Waltz all quickly rallied to Donalds. The endorsements come ahead of an expected closed-door candidate forum in Washington.
The latest endorsements came from Cammack, a Gainesville Republican, and Franklin, a Lakeland Republican.
“I am supporting my friend from Florida, Rep. Donalds, for Speaker,” said Franklin, whose district neighbors Donalds’. “He understands the issues facing our state and can unite our party to get Congress back to work.”
Cammack entered Congress the same year as Donalds and has remained a close ally.
“Since his election to Congress, Byron has been a true conservative champion for the Sunshine State and the nation,” she posted. “He is a fighter who listens to the American people. He has what it takes to get us back to work and continue the business we were sent here to do. While I have the upmost respect for all of my colleagues who have put their names forward, it is an honor to support my friend in his candidacy for House Speaker.”
They follow a range of Florida Republicans.
“I am proud to endorse my friend, fellow Floridian, and America First Republican Byron Donalds for Speaker of the House,” Giménez, a Miami-Dade Republican, posted on X. “Byron is the conservative leader we need to unite us as Republicans.”
Giménez in every ballot since the ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy has favored a different course. Over three floor votes when the GOP Conference put up House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan, Giménez held fast that the caucus should reinstate McCarthy as Speaker.
But after the GOP Conference on Friday voted to dump Jordan, nine candidates announced they would seek the caucus’ support, including Donalds. Having a fellow Sunshine State Republican in the mix, and one who, like Giménez, joined in the 2006 class, won the former Miami-Dade Mayor over.
Díaz-Balart supported elevating Majority Leader Steve Scalise to Speaker, though Scalise, like McCarthy, has not pursued the gavel after being snubbed by the caucus once this month. But Díaz-Balart, a Hialeah Republican, backed Donalds shortly after the Naples Republican announced he would run.
“Byron Donalds is an honorable leader and respected by the entire conference,” Díaz-Balart, the dean of Florida’s congressional delegation, posted. “That is why it is a privilege to endorse Byron for speaker.”
Both Díaz-Balart and Giménez fought Jordan’s nomination and were part of 20-plus protest votes against the Ohio Republican consistently last week. Mills endorsed Jordan early and backed him on every vote. However, Mills quickly endorsed Donalds after the end of Jordan’s candidacy.
“The American people need a Speaker who can unify our country, especially during time of great turmoil,” Mills posted. “Rep. Donalds is a strong legislator who hasn’t spent decades in the Swamp making back door deals. I believe he is the best candidate to bring our Republican Conference together and get the job done for the American people.”
Another Jordan backer now supporting Donalds is Waltz, a St. Augustine Beach Republican.
“Our country desperately needs leadership to hold (President Joe) Biden accountable and move our country forward,” Waltz posted. “Pleased to support fellow Floridian and conservative Byron Donalds for Speaker of the House. Let’s get back to work!”
And one member of the delegation has already voted for Donalds to be Speaker this month, even before Donalds declared his interest.
Buchanan, Republican Co-Chair of the Florida delegation, reluctantly voted for Jordan on a first ballot after endorsing Scalise for Speaker. But when Jordan failed to near a majority even with Scalise’s backing, Buchanan on two more ballots last week voted for Donalds.
“We’re going to have to solve this race quickly,” Buchanan said in a statement to Florida Politics. “I’ve served with Byron, he’s a conservative champion, and I hope my colleagues will consider his name as we look for a way forward. It’s about time Florida had a seat at the table.”