Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) won a spirited contest for the GOP House caucus nomination for speaker, beating out Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). The win has not cleared Scalise for the gavel just yet but is a valuable step toward a final House floor vote.
The debate between the two conservative candidates was followed by a secret ballot, in which Scalise received 113 votes and Jordan 99.
Despite the victory within the GOP caucus, it is not yet clear what will happen when Scalise’s nomination comes before the entire House. He needs 217 in order to gain the gavel.
Furthermore, a number of Republicans, including Rep. Max Miller (R-OH), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) and Rep. Lauren Boebert all said that they would back Jordan despite the nomination.
Boebert wrote on social media that she would “be voting for Jim Jordan to be Speaker of the House on the floor when the vote is called.”
“We had a chance to unify the party behind closed doors, but the Swamp and K Street lobbyists prevented that,” the Colorado Republican said.
“The American people deserve a real change in leadership, not a continuation of the status quo,” she added.
The move comes just over a week after the shock removal of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Eight House Republicans voted alongside Democrats to topple the leader.
Scalise appeared to be both a likely and unlikely candidate. He is popular among the GOP representatives and survived a 2017 shooting by an armed supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). However, Scalise’s candidacy was originally doubted due to a recent cancer diagnosis.
Jordan came with significant support, as well, including that of former President Donald Trump.
President Trump has officially endorsed Jim Jordan as Speaker of the House via Truth Social.
— Vince Manfeld (@AureliusStoic1) October 6, 2023
The former president said that Jordan was a “STAR long before making his very successful journey to Washington, D.C.” He cited Jordan’s record as a wrestler and wrestling coach. During Trump’s presidency, he awarded Jordan with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.