House Majority Leader Tom Emmer, a Republican from Minnesota, speaks to members of the media after a House Republican caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, USA, Monday, October 23, 2023.

Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Republican lawmakers on Tuesday nominated Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota for House speaker, the third candidate they have selected in recent weeks after the previous two candidates failed to receive enough votes.

Emmer, the Republican majority leader, prevailed over a crowded field of eight GOP candidates on Tuesday morning after several rounds of voting.

But the Minnesota Republican appears to lack the 217 Republican votes needed to secure the gavel in the House. He can only afford to lose four GOP votes because Democrats are locked in behind their candidate, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York.

House Republicans are taking a break to give Emmer time to speak with the roughly two dozen lawmakers who still oppose his nomination, several GOP members told NBC News.

Republicans will return at 4 p.m. ET to continue their closed-door session. It’s unclear whether Emmer will face a vote in the House on Tuesday.

The House has been leaderless for nearly three weeks, leaving Congress paralyzed and unable to advance spending legislation as the Nov. 17 deadline approaches to prevent a government shutdown. Congress is also unable to act on President Joe Biden’s call for urgent security assistance to Israel and Ukraine until the House of Representatives elects a speaker.

Emmer is a relatively moderate within the GOP, which is likely to draw the ire of far-right members of the party. The Minnesota Republican voted to certify Biden’s victory in 2020 and also voted for a spending bill in September that would prevent a government shutdown.

Emmer spoke to Donald Trump on Monday to secure his support, but the former president criticized Republican majoritarian politics on social media and derided him as a “globalist” rather than a true Republican.

“Voting for a globalist RINO like Tom Emmer would be a tragic mistake,” Trump said in a post on Truth Social on Tuesday.

Emmer is supported by former speaker Kevin McCarthy.

“He puts himself head and shoulders above anyone else who wants to run,” McCarthy said of Emmer in an interview with NBC News on Sunday. “We need to get him elected this week and move on and not only bring this party together, but focus on what this country needs most.”

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio was forced to abandon his bid Friday after his nomination failed in three separate votes. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, the original nominee, withdrew his candidacy before even facing the House after it became clear he did not have enough votes.

The House leadership crisis was sparked when a caucus of eight Republicans, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, ousted McCarthy in a historically unprecedented no-confidence vote. Democrats refused to save McCarthy’s presidency, leading to the California Republican’s downfall.

–CNBC’s Emily Wilkins contributed to this report.

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