Steve Scalise is facing an uphill battle for the House speakership, with several Republicans openly declaring they will oppose his nomination.
The Louisiana Representative was named on Wednesday as a possible replacement for Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted on October 3 after Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida triggered a vote to remove him. Gaetz justified the move following McCarthy’s cooperation with Democrats to avoid a partial government shutdown.
On October 3, eight Republicans—including Gaetz, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Ken Buck of Colorado, Tim Burchett of Tennessee, Eli Crane of Arizona, Bob Good of Virginia, Nancy Mace of South Carolina and Matt Rosendale of Montana—joined all of the Democrats to vote in favor of McCarthy’s removal.
After days of tensions within the GOP, with a number of Republicans calling for Gaetz to be expelled from the party’s conference and condemning the removal of McCarthy, the party nominated Scalise for House speaker on Wednesday. But shortly after doing so, the GOP postponed a full vote on Scalise as a number of Republicans said they wouldn’t vote for the Louisiana lawmaker.
Scalise won a 113 to 99 majority within the Republican Party on Wednesday, but he still needs to get a majority of the full House.
Another meeting of the House was planned for noon on Thursday, but it’s unclear whether the division within the GOP is any closer to being fixed than it was during the discussions on Wednesday evening.
These are the Republicans who have vowed not to vote for Scalise as the new House speaker:
Rep. Chip Roy of TexasRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of GeorgiaRep. Max Miller of OhioRep. Nancy Mace of South CarolinaRep. George Santos of New YorkRep. Lauren Boebert of ColoradoRep. Michael Cloud of TexasRep. Carlos Gimenez of FloridaRep. Bob Good of VirginiaRep. Lloyd Smucker of Pennsylvania
Roy, who had made a power-sharing agreement with McCarthy when he was finally elected after 15 rounds of votes earlier this year, met with Scalise on Wednesday. He said he asked the Louisiana Representative to agree to changes to the way the House operates demanded by the House Freedom Caucus, but the two apparently didn’t reach an agreement, as Roy clearly stated he won’t vote for Scalise.
Greene said that she voted for Jim Jordan on a private ballot in conference and she will vote for him on the House floor as well. Miller also said he won’t switch his vote, adding that he was “Jim Jordan all the way.”
Mace said she’d back Jordan, citing Scalise’s attendance at a white supremacist event in 2002 as a reason not to support him. Scalise apologized for taking part in the event, hosted by white supremacist and Ku Klux Klan member David Duke, in 2014.
Newly elected Santos said he’d vote for anyone but Scalise after he said the candidate failed to reach out to him. He wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: “It’s just past 9:40pm and I have yet to hear from the Speaker-Designate. So I’ve made my decision and after 10 months and having had 0 contact or outreach from him, I’ve come to the conclusion that my VOTE doesn’t matter to him.”
“I’m now declaring I’m an ANYONE but Scalise and come hell or high water I won’t change my mind. We need a Speaker that leads by including every single member of the team not just some, That’s not leadership!”
Boebert wrote on X saying she will “be voting for Jim Jordan to be Speaker of the House on the floor when the vote is called.”
Cloud posted on the social media platform saying: “While I respect Steve Scalise, the underhanded efforts to rush this vote to the floor without getting full buy-in from the conference is extremely ill-advised and I will not be supporting the nomination on the floor, absent a further discussion.”
Gimenez told reporters he’d always been a “McCarthy guy” and he will keep voting for McCarthy. Good wrote on X that he was still supporting Jordan, adding: “The country cannot afford the status quo.”
Correction 10/12/23, 10:04 a.m. ET: This article has been updated to remove Rep. Jimmy Gomez of California, who is a Democrat.