Home Top Stories Steve Scalise withdraws from speaker’s race, sending House into further turmoil

Steve Scalise withdraws from speaker’s race, sending House into further turmoil

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Steve Scalise withdraws from speaker’s race, sending House into further turmoil

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WASHINGTON — Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., informed Republicans in a closed-door meeting Thursday night that he was dropping his bid to be House speaker, one day after he captured the GOP’s nomination for the top job.

Moments later, Scalise, the No. 2 Republican in leadership, confirmed the news to reporters outside the room.

“I just shared with my colleagues that I’m withdrawing my name as candidate for the speaker designee,” he said.

Rep. Steve Scalise speaks with reporters
Rep. Steve Scalise speaks with reporters after a House Republican caucus meeting at the Capitol on Thursday.Al Drago / Bloomberg via Getty Images

“Our conference still has to come together and is not there. There are still some people that have their own agendas,” he said. “This House of Representatives needs a speaker, and we need to open up the House again. But clearly, not everybody is there. And there’re still schisms that have to get resolved.”

Republicans nominated Scalise in a secret ballot vote Wednesday to be the majority party’s speaker nominee, defeating Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, by a vote of 113-99.

His decision to withdraw throws the House into further turmoil, nine days after an unprecedented move by eight Republican rebels to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. It is unclear who can find the votes to unify the fractured — and narrow — majority of 221 House Republicans.

Moments after Scalise withdrew, Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., said Republicans should move forward with Jordan as their choice.

“I voted for Jim Jordan in the conference election yesterday and I remain committed to doing everything I can to help elect him the next Speaker of the House,” Banks said in a statement. “He is a conservative fighter and a leader who can unite our party.”

Many other Republicans, including Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Republican Study Committee Chairman Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, echoed support for Jordan.

But it is unclear whether Jordan, a right-wing firebrand who chairs the Judiciary Committee, could succeed where Scalise failed — getting the 217 votes needed to secure the job.

Asked whether she could count five “Never Jordan” votes, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., replied: “There’s probably five ‘Never Everybodys’ — that’s the problem.”

House Republicans will privately huddle again in the Capitol at 10 a.m. Friday to nominate a new candidate for speaker. Jordan dodged questions Thursday night about whether he would launch another bid.

“I think we will come together behind a new candidate, and then we will move forward for the good of the country,” he said.

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