Emmer reversed course after some conservatives in the House denied the Minnesota Republican the votes he would need for the gavel.
That account comes from Republican sources familiar with the situation and granted anonymity to discuss it.
Emmer won a majority of secret ballot votes Tuesday after five rounds of voting among GOP lawmakers but GOP sources say 25 Republicans have said they would not support him in a floor vote.
Emmer becomes the the GOP third candidate to fall short, leaving the Republicans no closer to resolving the chaos. It has been three weeks since Kevin McCarthy's ouster.