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Two GOP congressmen emerge as early favorites in speakership race

October 05, 2023 RawAmericanTruth Politics 0
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Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is now a rank-and-file representative, and he’s denied any plans to run for the speakership again. In other words, McCarthy has opened the possibility of a messy election, and a few candidates have already emerged.

Rep. Matt Gaetz — the Florida Republican known for successfully moving to oust McCarthy — has some ideas for potential replacements.

On Twitter, Gaetz has been beating the drum for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan of Ohio.

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Both Scalise and Jordan have announced campaigns to be nominated for the speakership.

Gaetz, along with other Republicans. consider Scalise to be a consensus candidate. Meanwhile, Jordan, the chair of the House Judiciary has emerged as a favorite of the party’s more conservative members, including Gaetz.

Scalise has long been viewed as a potential speaker-in-waiting and is revered as a survivor after he was shot in the hip at a congressional baseball team practice in 2017. But Scalise is also undergoing treatment for a form of blood cancer, forcing him away from the Capitol at times.

In a letter to colleagues asking for their support, Scalise acknowledged the difficulties plaguing both his health and the conference at this moment in time but said that he has overcome adversity before.

“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,” he wrote.

Jordan has made his own pitch for the gavel by emphasizing his oversight work and aspirations. And echoed Scalise’s call for unity during “divided times.”

“The problems we face are challenging, but they are not insurmountable,” he said.

On Twitter, Gaetz described Jordan as his “mentor.” Plus, Gaetz seems open to a measure making it harder to remove either Scalise or Jordan from the speakership.


Jordan and Scalise are expected to be joined in the race by at least one other Republican candidate: Rep. Kevin Hern, the chair of the Republican Study Committee — the largest GOP caucus in the House.

Other Republicans, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, say lawmakers should look outside the Capitol for their next speaker, as the Constitution allows — and draft former President Donald Trump into the role.

However, the House’s current rules would likely bar Trump from becoming speaker. “A member of the Republican Leadership shall step aside if indicted for a felony for which a sentence of two or more years imprisonment may be imposed,” says one rule approved by the Republican Conference in November before Trump’s indictments.

Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., is now serving as acting speaker. McHenry declared the House in recess until both parties can decide on a path forward.

While McHenry can serve in the temporary role indefinitely, he does not have the full power of a duly elected speaker but only those that are deemed “necessary and appropriate” for the purpose of electing someone to the job, according to the rules governing the House.

McHenry will be unable to bring legislation to the floor or take it off. He also does not have the power to issue subpoenas or sign off on any other official House business that would require the approval of the speaker.

Gaetz has criticized McCarthy’s decision to call a recess.

Once Republicans decide who to nominate for speaker, the House would have to vote as many times as it takes for a candidate to receive the majority of those present and voting for speaker. It can quickly become an arduous exercise, as it did in January when it took McCarthy an unprecedented 15 rounds to win the gavel.

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Many doubt that any of the candidates can get the 218 votes needed to secure the gavel, with each having their own faction of support and share of detractors. Voting for McCarthy in January took 15 excruciating rounds even though he was the consensus choice of the conference.

House Republicans plan to meet next Tuesday evening at the Capitol for a first round of internal party voting.

“I think the circus stuff needs to happen behind closed doors,” said Rep. Garret Graves, R-La.

It is shaping up to be wide open battle for the gavel as Congress faces a new deadline to fund the government by mid-November. Work on legislation in the House is on hold due to the vacancy in the speaker’s office, creating the potential for extended paralysis.

The House will try to elect a speaker as soon as next week, but the timing is nowhere near certain.

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