House Republicans Nominate Scalise for Speaker, Postpone Floor Vote Amid Infighting

House Republicans nominated Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana to be the next Speaker of the House but were forced to postpone the floor vote needed to elect him after several members announced they would scuttle his speakership bid on the House floor.


House Republicans nominated Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana to be the next Speaker of the House but were forced to postpone the floor vote needed to elect him after several members announced they would scuttle his speakership bid on the House floor.

  • Scalise defeated House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan of Ohio in the GOP conference election by a close 113-99 margin in a secret ballot.
  • Although Scalise won the internal vote with a bare 50.7% majority, he must secure 217 votes on the House floor to become Speaker.
  • The speaker vote was originally scheduled for 3pm on Tuesday, but GOP leadership was forced to abandon those plans after several members pledged to vote against Scalise on the floor.
  • A slew of members have announced they would vote against Scalise on the floor, citing a variety of reasons, pretexts, or personal slights. Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Bob Good (R-VA), and Max Miller (R-OH) cited problems with the “status quo” or the need for fresh leadership after the ouster of Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
  • Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) wants to “see him defeat cancer more than sacrifice his health” while Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) is butthurt that his proposed rule change got voted down by a substantial margin and blames Scalise.
  • Rep. Carlos Gimenez, still angry with the eight Republicans who collaborated with Democrats to create this situation, plans to vote for McCarthy on the floor.
  • Reps. Barry Moore (R-AL), Victoria Spartz (R-IN) and Troy Nehls (R-TX) are all big mad but haven’t articulated specific reasons for why they’re voting against Scalise.
  • Scalise can only lose four votes on the floor, so if these members all stand by their statements – not a guarantee, this is Washington after all – he would not win the speakership on the first ballot.
  • Case in point, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL) initially came out against Scalise but changed her mind after securing some commitments for votes should he win.
  • Republicans’ narrow margin in the House may yet shrink further. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) was indicted in May on fraud and identity theft charges months after his exposure as a serial liar who made up most of his resume.
  • On Tuesday, Santos was hit with 10 additional charges for allegedly stealing his donors’ credit cards and submitting false campaign finance reports listing fictional loans or stolen contributions, and he now faces 23 federal felony counts.
  • Five House Republicans from New York – all first-year members from swing districts whose victories gave Republicans their House majority – have co-sponsored a resolution to expel Santos from the House.
  • If the five – Reps. Anthony D’Esposito, Nick LaLota, Mike Lawler, Marc Molinaro, and Brandon Williams, along with Rep. Nick Langworthy who represents a safe GOP seat in upstate New York – succeed, they’ll shrink the GOP margin in the House to three seats.


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • The New York Times noted the phenomenon of multiple House Republicans threatening a mutiny after losing an internal speaker vote “would have been unthinkable in the past.” The fact that many Republicans seem unable to accept that a majority of the conference disagrees with them does not seem to matter. In past leadership elections, “Losers have generally accepted their fate and gotten behind the winners in their party’s political interests.”
  • CNN summed up Scalise’s situation: “In theory, Scalise is on the cusp of becoming the most powerful Republican in Washington. In reality, even if he can somehow win the votes he needs, he risks neutering his potential House speakership before it starts with concessions to extremists needed to win the gavel. If that sounds familiar, it’s because Scalise is sizing up the same dilemmas that McCarthy faced during the 15 rounds of balloting it took him to win the job in January – and that eventually led to his ouster as speaker last week.”
  • The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake assessed what would make a Scalise speakership different from McCarthy. Scalise is “generally viewed as a more conservative version” of his predecessor and is thought to be reluctant to agree to another continuing resolution to extend the government shutdown deadline creeping up. Scalise’s position on Ukraine funding is muddled and it’s unclear whether he would bring a new aid package to the floor for a vote if he won.



  • Jordan is not joining with the rebels planning to vote for him on the floor. Fox News reported the House Judiciary Chairman urged his backers to get behind Scalise and pledged his personal support to the Louisianan who defeated him in a close contest.
  • One House Republican told the Wall Street Journal that it could be more difficult for Scalise to get to 217 than it was for McCarthy in January – even though McCarthy had to endure fifteen ballots over four days. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) estimated that at least 20 House Republicans would refuse to vote for Scalise on the floor.
  • National Review’s Jeffrey Blehar wrote about one of the more transparently media-hungry members of the GOP conference: Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina. Mace surprisingly voted to oust McCarthy last week, then showed up to the GOP conference meeting wearing a T-shirt with a crudely drawn “A” on it that she called her “scarlet letter,” although her description of her scarlet letter raises serious doubts about whether she’s ever actually read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel. After the vote, Mace quickly found herself in front of the cameras again where she misleadingly cited decade-old allegations against Scalise to justify voting against him on the House floor.


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© Dominic Moore, 2023