The GOP establishment’s preferred candidate for the Speaker of the House position, Steve Scalise (R-LA), has officially withdrawn his campaign after failing to secure enough votes. Over the past few days, there had been concerns within the Republican Party about supporting Scalise, a close ally of Kevin McCarthy, for the speakership role. These concerns were validated when Scalise was narrowly nominated by the party in a closed-door internal vote, despite lacking the broad support necessary to win.
Scalise’s decision to drop out of the race came after a delayed vote to elect him as the House leader. It became evident that he did not have the required support to secure the position. With Scalise out of contention, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan has emerged as the de facto front-runner. However, a significant faction of America First conservatives is advocating for the election of former President Donald Trump as the Speaker of the House. They believe that Trump could be nominated during the speakership floor vote, similar to what happened in January of this year.
It is important to note that, constitutionally, the Speaker of the House does not need to be a member of Congress. The national legislative body has the freedom to elect anyone they deem fit to lead the House of Representatives.
To gauge public opinion on the matter, Kentucky GOP Rep. Thomas Massie conducted a poll among his followers, presenting them with the choice between Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan. The results were resoundingly in favor of Jordan, with 93% of respondents supporting him compared to Scalise’s meager 7%. Massie shared these poll results and called for the election of Jim Jordan as the Speaker of the House, emphasizing that it is time for America to unite behind him.
Given that there are two vacant seats in the House, the threshold for the required 218 votes to elect a speaker has dropped to 217. Although this may seem like a minor adjustment, it could be a crucial factor considering the Republicans’ narrow majority. A handful of legislators from any faction of the GOP could potentially block the election of a new Speaker of the House.
Reportedly, some members of the GOP establishment have expressed their reluctance to support Jim Jordan for speaker. However, it remains uncertain whether they will have enough dissenters to prevent his election.
The race for the Speaker of the House position is ongoing, and the outcome will have significant implications for the direction of the Republican Party. As the GOP navigates these internal dynamics and prepares for the speakership floor vote, the possibility of Trump’s nomination continues to loom, adding further intrigue to the unfolding political drama.