Rep. Steve Scalise, the House GOP’s nominee for speaker, withdrew from the race on Thursday, acknowledging a probable insurmountable deficit in the necessary votes.
Rep. Steve Scalise did not see a clear path to victory
Despite securing a majority in the GOP’s internal poll the previous day, Scalise was up against an expanding roster of Republicans pledging their votes to his rival, Rep. Jim Jordan. With this development, the Ohio Republican is anticipated to renew his campaign for the role.
“Undoubtedly, we’re not all on the same page. There remain divisions that need mending,” Scalise admitted to journalists shortly after disclosing his choice during a private conference session.
Scalise’s step back took many peers by surprise, as they had anticipated him to persist in rallying support throughout the group at least until the end of the week. Now, the focus within the conference is shifting towards Jordan in a desperate bid to fill the speaker’s chair, left vacant over a week ago when Kevin McCarthy was deposed. Nevertheless, there’s internal skepticism about Jordan’s ability to gather the requisite backing, prompting speculation about the emergence of a third candidate.
Patrick McHenry remained silent on his intentions moving forward
Upon exiting the conference, Jordan commended Scalise as an “exceptional American” but withheld any confirmation of his own intentions to run for speaker, suggesting any formal statement would be more appropriate the following day.
Similarly, Acting Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) remained elusive about his own prospects, deferring to the “conference’s collective decision.”
Speaking to the press, Rep. Steve Scalise didn’t mince words about his disappointment with the internal dynamics preventing him from securing the 217 votes needed.
“Some members need to engage in serious self-reflection over the next few days to determine our path forward. Will we realign on a common track, or will individual agendas take precedence? The two are mutually exclusive. However, I believe we’ll find our way,” he stated.
“Our priority remains to elect a speaker, and I’m dedicated to exerting all efforts to ensure it happens posthaste. It wasn’t feasible today, nor will it be tomorrow, but it must occur soon.”
Rep. Jim Jordan could become new House Speaker
Emerging from the meeting, Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) asserted his continued support for Jordan’s candidacy.
“My support for Jim Jordan was clear in yesterday’s internal election, and I stand by my commitment to assist in propelling him to the position of the next Speaker of the House,” Banks declared. “His conservative ethos and unifying leadership are precisely what our party needs to accomplish the tasks ahead.”
As for Scalise, he is projected to retain his current rank as the second-highest Republican.
“He’ll continue as the majority leader. His current predicament mirrors my own experience back in 2015,” former speaker Kevin McCarthy shared with reporters on Thursday.
When probed about his stance on Jordan, McCarthy responded, “I hold Jim in high regard.”
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