Reps. Jordan, Scalise Enter Speaker Race
Reps. Jordan, Scalise Enter Speaker Race

By Jackson Richman

With Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) ousted as speaker of the House on Oct. 3, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) are the first to throw their hats into the ring to succeed him.

After the motion to vacate the chair passed 216–210 on Oct. 3, with eight Republicans joining 208 Democrats voting in favor, Mr. McCarthy announced that he wouldn’t run for speaker again and said he is undecided about whether he will remain in Congress. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) has been named as speaker pro tempore until a replacement is voted in.

A former wrestling coach, Mr. Jordan told reporters on Oct. 4 that he would fight for the gavel.

Mr. Jordan, who has been in Congress since 2007, was nominated during the speaker’s race in January but wasn’t interested in taking the position that is next in line to the presidency after the vice president. He supported Mr. McCarthy’s bid.

Mr. Jordan wrote in a letter to colleagues that this is a crossroads in the nation’s history. “Now is the time for our Republican conference to come together to keep our promises to Americans,” he wrote.

“The problems we face are challenging, but they are not insurmountable. We can focus on the changes that improve the country and unite us in offering real solutions,” he continued. “But no matter what we do, we must do it together as a conference. I respectfully ask for your support for Speaker of the House of Representatives.”

In a letter to colleagues, Mr. Scalise listed bills the House has passed such as on border security and energy, and remarked that the job isn’t finished.

“Now is not the time to slow down,” he wrote. “We laid out an aggressive schedule to complete floor consideration of all 12 appropriations bills to go into Senate negotiations with the strongest hand possible, and we cannot afford to lose any more time achieving that goal.”

Mr. Scalise spoke about his personal life, including when he got shot in 2017 one day before the annual bipartisan Congressional Baseball Game for Charity.

“God already gave me another chance at life. I believe we were all put here for a purpose,” he wrote.

“This next chapter won’t be easy, but I know what it takes to fight and I am prepared for the battles that lie ahead,” wrote Mr. Scalise, who has been in a battle with blood cancer that could cause him to miss time in Congress. “I humbly ask you for your support on this mission to be your Speaker of the House.”

In addition to Mr. Jordan and Mr. Scalise, possible candidates to succeed Mr. McCarthy include House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) and House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.). All of them expressed support for Mr. McCarthy.

Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, also hasn’t ruled out making a bid for speaker himself.

The House is in recess until Oct. 10. A candidate forum is scheduled for that day, with the speaker election set for Oct. 11.

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