Steve Scalise drops out of Speaker’s race; GOP is back to square one

Steve Scalise, R-La., arrives to meet with members at the Capitol in Washington, July 22, 2021. J. Scott Applewhite | AP Photo

Late on Thursday, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) announced that he had dropped out of the Speaker of the House race just one day after he narrowly was chosen as the Republican nominee for the position over House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). Scalise’s early withdrawal from the race leaves the GOP without a candidate.

While Scalise beat Jordan in the anonymous closed-door GOP caucus vote, it was obvious to almost everyone that it would be next to impossible for him to get the 217 votes needed to win the Speakership on the House floor.

A number of Republican congress members declared on Thursday that they would not vote for him.

“It’s been quite a journey,” Scalise said after leaving a conference with GOP congressmembers. “And there’s still a long way to go. I just shared with my colleagues that I’m withdrawing my name as a candidate for the speaker designee.”

While the earlier caucus vote was not public, Congressmen Barry Moore (R-AL02) and Gary Palmer (R-AL06) had publicly endorsed Jordan. Jordan also had the endorsement of former President Donald Trump.

It is not clear as of press time whether Jordan is still a viable candidate for this or not. Before the Caucus vote, former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-California) had said earlier in the week that he would be willing to serve if GOP members decide they want him back.

McCarthy was forced out last week in a motion to oust the Speaker when eight Republicans led by Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) voted with House Democrats on a vote to oust Jordan.

Adding to the drama is the fact that all of the 12 spending bills have not yet passed the House. The government is operating on a 45-day continuing resolution (CR) negotiated by McCarthy to keep the government funded. The new Speaker, whoever that is, will immediately have to swiftly negotiate a spending deal that can pass the Democrat-controlled Senate and then be signed by President Joe Biden without fracturing the GOP Caucus in the House.

Moore was supposed to address the Montgomery Republican Party but could not attend due to the political crisis.

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