Update on the Race for Speaker of the House 

By: LSN Partners on September 13, 2023

Update on the Race for Speaker of the House 

This week, the House of Representatives returned to Washington to begin electing a new Speaker of the House. Former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) lost the position in a Motion to Vacate spearheaded by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) after McCarty negotiated a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) with Democrats to avoid a federal government shutdown.

Two frontrunners for the position quickly emerged: House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) and House Judiciary Committee Chair and Freedom Caucus Deputy Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH). Scalise enjoyed the support of many establishment House Republicans from his decade in leadership, while Jordan earned the coveted endorsement from former President Donald Trump.

On Wednesday, the House Republican Conference formally met to vote on their nominee for Speaker. Early in the meeting, the Conference rejected a proposed rule change introduced by Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) that required a Republican speaker candidate to have 217 votes in the Conference before advancing to the House floor.

Scalise defeated Jordan 113 to 99 in a secret ballot vote, securing the nomination. While this victory for Scalise signaled his overall support among the Conference, reporting suggested that Scalise would have difficulty reaching the 217-vote threshold on the House floor to secure the Speakership. Almost immediately after the conference vote, several Jordan supporters announced they would continue to support the Ohio Republican’s bid in floor votes, despite Jordan himself voicing his support for Scalise.

In a surprise move, Scalise announced late Thursday that he was dropping out of the Speaker race after being unable to whip the remaining 104 votes to secure a successful floor vote. The whole race is now questioned, as Scalise’s supporters do not seem eager to transition their support to Jordan. Alternative speaker candidates have begun to emerge: Majority Whip Tom Emmer, Rep. Kevin Hern, and acting Speaker Patrick McHenry. There has even been a suggestion to renominate McCarthy for the Speakership.

House Democratic leadership has declined to support any Republican nominees, saying that Republicans create this problem and must solve it. There has been some discussion among moderates about a potential power-sharing agreement between the parties. However, the likelihood of such a move at this time is very slim.

LSN’s Federal Team is closely monitoring the situation on Capitol Hill and will provide updates as Congress moves toward electing a new Speaker of the House.