Scalise Withdraws Speaker Bid Amid Insufficient Support

After a tumultuous day in which he saw his support from within the Republican ranks dwindle by as much as 30 to 40 colleagues, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) has decided to step back from his run for Speaker of the House.

Speaking during a hastily arranged conference meeting at the Capitol on Thursday, Scalise expressed his concern, saying, “Our conference still has to come together, and we’re not there yet. There are still some people who have their own agendas.”

Scalise reiterated his sentiments to reporters, emphasizing the lingering divisions within the party. “This country is counting on us to come back together. This House of Representatives needs a Speaker and we need to open up the House again. But clearly, not everybody is there. And there are still schisms that have to get resolved,” the Louisiana lawmaker said.

Highlighting his frustration, Scalise urged some members to reflect on their priorities, stating, “There’s some folks that really need to look in the mirror the next couple of days and decide are we going to get back on track? Are they going to try to pursue their own agenda? You can’t do both. And I think we’re going to get there.”

While Scalise had secured a majority of votes in an internal GOP ballot on Wednesday, he faced growing opposition from Republicans who pledged to support his opponent, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), when the final floor vote took place. 

Scalise is expected to retain his role as Majority Leader while Jordan is now expected to make another bid for the Speaker’s position, backed by a significant bloc of support. 

As the path to select the next Speaker still remains unclear, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), currently serving as Speaker Pro Tem, has received encouragement from some colleagues to seek the position on a permanent basis. When asked about his intentions, Emmer remained non-committal, saying, “it’s up to the will of the conference.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), the current Republican whip, is reportedly considering a run for Speaker as well.