Earl L. "Buddy" Carter
U.S. Rep. Earl L. "Buddy" Carter Credit: Buddycarter.house.gov

“Democracy is messy,” Rep. Earl “Buddy” Carter explained in January to WJCL-TV, as House Republicans struggled through 15 rounds of voting in January to choose a speaker.

Some 10 months later, as House Republicans neared their fourth week of trying to elect a new leader for the lower house of Congress, Carter isn’t blaming democracy for the turmoil in the Republican-controlled chamber.

In a radio interview Friday, the five-term congressman from Pooler turned inward and put responsibility on House Republicans themselves.

“It’s almost as if we’re just wandering in the wilderness up here. It really is sad. It really is sad. It’s embarrassing,” Carter told the “Butch & Bob Show” on WIFO radio in Jesup. “I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

As of Monday afternoon, 19 days after McCarthy’s ouster and repeated exhortations from Carter to his fellow Republicans about “getting back to work,” he and House Republicans were trying again to find a new speaker.

Carter has switched preferred candidates multiple times in the ongoing struggle. His current pick — Tom Emmer of Minnesota — appears to have a tough path to victory.

It’s unclear what specifically prompted Carter to back Emmer, rather than one of the other eight candidates vying for the leadership postion, including his fellow Georgian, U.S. Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia’s 3rd congressional district. (“I’m proud to support @GOPMajorityWhip because he has the plan, team, and experience necessary to deliver on the Commitment to America,” Carter wrote on X, the social media website formerly known as Twitter.)

Many hardline Republicans see the Minnesotan as an opponent of former President Donald Trump, who Carter spent months courting for an endorsement in his own re-election in 2022.

‘In it for the long run’

Since Kevin McCarthy was ousted as speaker on Oct. 4 when eight hardline members of his own party joined 208 Democrats in voting him out — “a sad day for America,” Carter said — Coastal Georgia’s five-term congressman has bounced from one preferred speaker candidate to another.

He first jumped in behind Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana (“Congratulations to my friend @SteveScalise for being nominated Speaker!” and “@SteveScalise has been, and will continue to be, a champion for the American people,” he wrote on X).

Two days later, after Scalise failed to win enough votes from the full House, Carter threw his support behind Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. (“Congratulations to @Jim_Jordan for winning the nomination for Speaker!” he wrote on X).

Yet Jordan’s candidacy for speaker collapsed on Friday, hours after Carter told the “Butch & Bob Show”: “Jordan seems to be in it for the long run. I’m supporting Jim.”

Moving forward, if Emmer drops out of the current race, it’s unclear to whom Carter will stream next.

He appears optimistic, however, that the former party of Lincoln would get its house in order. “We’ve got a deep bench. We got a lot of talent in our conference,” he told the Jesup news personalities.

Craig Nelson is a former international correspondent for The Associated Press, the Sydney (Australia) Morning-Herald, Cox Newspapers and The Wall Street Journal. He also served as foreign editor for The...