Second-ranking House Republican leader Steve Scalise is officially running for speaker, making him a leading contender as the GOP searches for a replacement.
(Bloomberg) — Second-ranking House Republican leader Steve Scalise is officially running for speaker, making him a leading contender as the GOP searches for a replacement.
Scalise confirmed in a letter to colleagues that he is seeking the speakership after reports that he was privately reaching out to other members of the caucus to gauge their support.
Punchbowl was the first to report the news.
He joins Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, a conservative firebrand who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, one of three committees behind the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
Read More: Jim Jordan Joins Race to Succeed McCarthy as US House Speaker
A number of other Republican lawmakers have been floated as potential speakers since the House voted in a historic first to oust Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday. But those other candidates have not said publicly that they are running.
“I’m someone with different experiences than everyone else in the race,” Oklahoman Kevin Hern, who often serves as a bridge between House leaders and conservatives, said before an exploratory meeting with Texas Republicans. “We’ll see how that resonates.”
First elected to the House in 2008, Scalise has risen through the ranks by being conversant in conservative politics while prioritizing personal relationships with other lawmakers. He previously served as Republican whip from 2014 to 2022, a post in which his job was to keep the party unified on key votes, also a top goal for a speaker.
His job this year as majority leader involves setting agendas and determining schedules.
Scalise, who is from Louisiana, announced in August the he has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare type of blood cancer that he described as “very treatable.” In 2017, he was shot and seriously wounded when a gunman opened fire on Republican lawmakers practicing for a charity baseball game.
“God already gave me another chance at life,” Scalise said in his letter to colleagues. “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.”
In 2014, Scalise acknowledged reports that he had spoken to a gathering of White supremacist leaders as a state lawmaker a dozen years earlier but claimed that he did not know the group was founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
Republicans plan to meet behind closed doors on Tuesday to hear from candidates for speaker.
–With assistance from Billy House and Erik Wasson.
(Updates starting in the second paragraph)
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.