Republicans in Washington nominated Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) to be the Speaker of the House in a secret ballot vote held this afternoon.
Earlier this month, Rep. Scalise and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) announced their intention to seek the nomination, publishing open letters addressed to their House GOP colleagues on X — the platform formerly known as Twitter.
The final tally for today’s vote was 113 in favor of Rep. Scalise and 99 in support of Rep. Jordan. The remainder of the caucus did not vote for either of the two contenders.
“We need to make sure we’re sending a message to people all throughout the world that the House is open and doing the people’s business,” Scalise said immediately following his nomination.
“First I want to thank my House Republican colleagues for designating me as the speaker,” Scalise said. “Obviously we still have work to do. We’re going to have to go upstairs on the House floor and resolve this and then get the House open again,”
Despite securing the GOP nomination, Scalise is not guaranteed to prevail on the floor of the House unless the Republican caucus is able to coalesce around a candidate.
Although it was initially believed that a vote for Speaker could possibly occur as early as 3 p.m. today, it is now known that this is not the case.
Instead, the House will come together at 3 o’clock this afternoon and then recess — a necessary procedural step.
Several members of the House GOP caucus have come forward to share their thoughts on the nomination and the impending chamber-wide vote.
“It looks like Steve Scalise is our speaker designee,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) said publicly. “And I hope we can unify as a party and put a speaker in the chair.”
“That’s what’s going to have to be worked out in the next several hours to get to a unity consensus. We can’t afford this dysfunction. The nation can’t afford this, the American people can’t afford it,” Rep. McCaul continued. “We need a speaker in the chair. We’re in dangerous times right now, we’re in three major global conflicts, potentially, and we cannot afford to not have a speaker in the chair.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) told reporters that he would vote in support of Scalise. “I’m excited for him, can’t wait to go vote for Steve Scalise. Long live Speaker Scalise!” he said.
Other members of the GOP caucus have told the press that they will continue to throw their support behind Jordan.
“I’m not switching my vote,” Rep. Max Miller (R-OH) said. “I’m Jim Jordan all the way.”
Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX) told reporters that he is unsure whether Scalise will be able to garner enough support among those who voted to nominate Jordan to secure the Speakership.
“Steve Scalise got 113 votes. That is a majority, but how are you going to convince the other 100-something of us that just say ‘Well now we’re going to vote for Steve Scalise,’” Rep. Nehls said.
“I think Steve Scalise is a great guy, but he got 51% of the conference. So my point is this – if we’re going to take this vote to the floor, I hope you try to get everybody together and figure out how you’re going to get all the others to say ‘okay, Steve’s the guy,'” Nehls continued.
“I have nothing against Steve Scalise. I was just more on the Jordan side. I’m more of a freedom caucus guy, and that’s who Donald Trump wanted,” Nehls added, noting that former President Trump is still seen by many, himself included, as the leader of the Republican Party.
Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) has been quoted as saying he needs “some time to talk to people.”
“I don’t think anybody has 217 votes on the floor and I think it would be a mistake to go there and we don’t get there,” he said.
Other Republican representatives have taken to X to make their intentions to buck the party’s nomination known.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) posted about his intention to vote against Scalise earlier this afternoon.
“Surprises are for little kids at birthday parties, not Congress,” Rep. Massie wrote. “So, I let Scalise know in person that he doesn’t have my vote on the floor, because he has not articulated a viable plan for avoiding an omnibus.”
Surprises are for little kids at birthday parties, not Congress. So, I let Scalise know in person that he doesn’t have my vote on the floor, because he has not articulated a viable plan for avoiding an omnibus.— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) October 11, 2023
Similarly, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) posted on X about her plans to back Jordan for Speaker.
“I will be voting for Jim Jordan to be Speaker of the House on the floor when the vote is called,” Rep. Boebert wrote. “We had a chance to unify the party behind closed doors, but the Swamp and K Street lobbyists prevented that.”
“The American people deserve a real change in leadership, not a continuation of the status quo,” she continued.
I will be voting for Jim Jordan to be Speaker of the House on the floor when the vote is called.— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) October 11, 2023
In conference, Jordan received 99 votes and Scalise received 113.
We had a chance to unify the party behind closed doors, but the Swamp and K Street lobbyists prevented that.
One representative — Rep. Carlos A. Gimenez (R-FL) — has come forward stating that he is planning to support former Speaker of the House Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who was ousted from the Speakership just over a week ago.
Despite having received continued public support from several members of the House GOP caucus, reporting from CNN reveals that Jordan has now offered to give a nominating speech on behalf of Scalise when the vote comes to the floor, signaling that he does not intend to challenge the Scalise’s nomination.
Reporting from the New York Times, however, suggests that Jordan’s decision may not have a meaningful impact on many of those who have already made up their mind to vote in Jordan’s favor.
Scalise’s nomination comes after the GOP caucus shot down an effort to change their party’s rules to require a public roll call vote for the nomination.
In order to become Speaker of the House, a Representative must earn the support of the majority of lawmakers in the chamber — which currently amounts to 217 votes if all members are present.
With only a nine seat lead in the House — and no expectation of the Republican nominee earning support from members of the Democrat caucus — Scalise would need to have nearly unanimous support from members of his party in order to secure the Speakership.