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Rep. Steve Scalise Nominated for Speaker of the House, But Faces Uncertain Path to Victory

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Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) has emerged as the nominee for the next speaker of the House among House Republicans. However, his path to securing enough votes to actually win the position remains uncertain. While Scalise won the nomination, he still needs to win an election on the House floor to officially become the speaker.[0]

Scalise faced tough competition from Jim Jordan for the nomination, and there is still pushback from lawmakers loyal to Jordan. Representative Max Miller has stated that he will vote for Jordan on the floor, even if Scalise receives the caucus nomination.[1] Other lawmakers may follow suit, and Representative Ken Buck has already declared that he will vote for neither candidate, potentially prolonging the process.[1]

There were concerns that Scalise's bid could face similar challenges as Kevin McCarthy's, as Democrats are unlikely to support Republicans in electing their preferred speaker.[2] Additionally, a recent anonymous vote revealed that House Republicans are divided on the issue.[2] However, reports have emerged that Jordan has offered to nominate Scalise on the floor and support him instead of continuing his own bid for the speakership.[2]

While Scalise won the conference vote, he only received 113 votes from Republicans, far from the 217 needed to secure the position.[3] The question now is how many holdout Republicans will remain stubborn in their support for other candidates.[3] Representative Lauren Boebert has already stated that she will vote for Jordan on the floor.[3]

Scalise, currently serving as the House Majority Leader, is gaining traction among establishment House Republicans as a potential successor to McCarthy. He is seen as more conservative than McCarthy but not as far right as Jordan, which could make him a unifying force within the GOP.[4]

Scalise has a long history of leadership in Congress, previously serving as House GOP whip and leading the Republican Study Committee.[4] As Majority Leader, he oversees the House floor and schedules legislation for votes.[5]

However, Scalise has faced controversy in the past. In 2002, he had addressed a gathering of white nationalists, which was later disclosed in 2014.[4] He later apologized, claiming he was unaware of the group's nature.[3] He also faced criticism for comparing himself to David Duke, the former head of the Ku Klux Klan, though he later distanced himself from Duke's views.[1]

The House is currently in a state of paralysis without a speaker, following McCarthy's removal.[5] This situation has become urgent due to Israel's war against Hamas, and the longer it takes Republicans to elect a new speaker, the less time lawmakers will have to avert a government shutdown with a funding deadline approaching in mid-November.[5]

Moderate GOP members and Congress watchers have warned that removing McCarthy from the speakership would leave the House paralyzed.[6] McCarthy had tried to placate members who view the government itself as a problem, leading to tensions within the party.

Scalise's health has also become a concern for some opponents. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, in August of this year. However, Scalise has assured reporters that his cancer has responded well to treatment.

Despite winning the nomination, Scalise still faces resistance from some Republicans. At least seven have stated they will not vote for him, and several others remain undecided. He can only afford four defections within the Republican conference to secure the speakership.[7]

On the Democratic side, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York has been unanimously nominated as their preferred Speaker.[8] Democrats are expected to unite behind him, similar to their unity during previous Speaker elections.

Until a speaker is elected, Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina will continue serving as the acting speaker.[9] The House remains unable to conduct other business without an elected speaker.

In conclusion, while Rep. Steve Scalise has won the nomination for the next speaker of the House among House Republicans, his path to securing enough votes to win the position remains uncertain. He faces competition from lawmakers loyal to Jim Jordan, and there is resistance from some Republicans who are undecided or unwilling to support him. Scalise's past controversies and health concerns have also been raised as factors that could hinder his chances. Only time will tell whether Scalise can rally enough support to become the next speaker of the House.[10]

0. “Republicans nominate Scalise as next speaker, but a fight still remains” NBC News, 11 Oct. 2023,

1. “Republicans Pick Man Who Compared Himself to David Duke as Next House Speaker” The New Republic, 11 Oct. 2023,

2. “Jim Jordan Deals Blow to MAGA's Scalise Outrage” Newsweek, 11 Oct. 2023,

3. “House speaker election: Scalise defeats Jordan in GOP party vote”, 10 Oct. 2023,

4. “Who Is Running for House Speaker? Meet the Candidates” TIME, 10 Oct. 2023,

5. “Steve Scalise picked as GOP speaker nominee, but struggles to lock down votes to win the gavel” CNN, 12 Oct. 2023,

6. “GOP speakers have long indulged party's anti-government wing. Now what?” Roll Call , 10 Oct. 2023,

7. “Republicans nominate Steve Scalise to replace McCarthy as House speaker” The Guardian US, 11 Oct. 2023,

8. “Colorado's Republican congressmembers are not all on board with Steve Scalise for Speaker” Colorado Public Radio, 11 Oct. 2023,

9. “House speaker vote postponed after nominating Steve Scalise – The Washington Post” The Washington Post, 12 Oct. 2023,

10. “Steve Scalise wins House GOP speaker nomination” ABC News, 11 Oct. 2023,

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