WASHINGTON - GOP U.S. House Majority Whip Tom Emmer is primed to run for a leadership promotion in the aftermath of Kevin McCarthy's unprecedented removal as speaker of the House.

A source with direct knowledge confirmed to the Star Tribune that Emmer has started calling fellow House Republicans and is planning a run for majority leader.

The source also said that Emmer supports current Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana in the Republican race for speaker.

House Republicans are scrambling to find a path forward after McCarthy was removed as speaker in a historic first on Tuesday. A small group of Republicans bucked most members of their party to vote against McCarthy and the revolt was enough to oust him from his leadership post in the closely divided House since he received no support from Democrats.

All four Minnesota Republicans in the House sided with McCarthy. Emmer gave a speech before the vote extolling the speaker and praising the Republican majority's work so far, saying the House GOP "has actually defied all odds and overperformed expectations again and again and again."

Emmer, in his fifth term in the House, led the House Republicans' campaign arm during the 2020 and 2022 cycles. Republicans won back the majority last fall by a small number of seats. Following that performance, Emmer won a competitive intraparty race to become House majority whip.

In the whip role, Emmer has the job of counting votes and building Republican support for legislation despite their very thin majority. Making progress with those numbers has been a challenge, though Republicans have managed some legislative wins. But at times the differences within the party resulted in failed votes and procedural issues on the floor.

Despite his difficult task, affection for Emmer across a broad coalition within the Republican Party has been clear this year. Whether that will result in enough support to become majority leader will be closely watched.

GOP South Carolina Rep. Ralph Norman said Monday evening that Emmer is "one of the hardest-working people."

"He can't guarantee what passes or doesn't pass," Norman said the day before McCarthy was removed as speaker. "He's got a voting card just like I do. I admire him for what he's done."

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who this week led the effort to remove McCarthy, said in June that Emmer has "that Midwestern crankiness that's so endearing." Gaetz explained at the time that people respected Emmer as a "truth teller," adding that "even when we don't like what he has to say, we know he's being honest with us."