Steve Scalise Abandons Quest for House Speaker Role as Republican Faction Withholds Support

by Chloe Baker
Steve Scalise Withdraws

Late on Thursday, Republican Steve Scalise withdrew his candidacy for the Speaker of the House, exacerbating the internal divisions within the Republican majority and further stalling the functioning of the chamber.

During a private evening meeting with Republican colleagues, Scalise announced his decision but refrained from endorsing any other candidates, including his primary competitor, Rep. Jim Jordan, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee who enjoys the support of Donald Trump and had also withdrawn his own candidacy for the role.

The House remains in a state of limbo as the Republican majority grapples with the task of selecting a new Speaker following the removal of Kevin McCarthy.

“As I exit this race for Speaker, it’s evident that unity within the Republican majority is lacking,” said Scalise, who currently serves as the House Majority Leader. He emphasized that the GOP needs to unite to reopen the House, conceding that “clearly not everybody is there yet.”

Scalise had been actively campaigning to secure votes after receiving a nomination from a majority of his Republican colleagues. Despite his efforts, which included extensive private consultations over two days, a considerable faction within the Republican party remained steadfast in their refusal to support him.

When queried about whether he would now endorse Jim Jordan, Scalise replied, “The focus should be on individuals who are not driven by personal self-interest.”

The Louisiana Congressman spoke frankly about the life lessons he had learned from surviving a shooting incident in 2017 and his plans to expedite a resolution, stating, “It was apparent that a resolution won’t happen imminently.”

Frustration is mounting among lawmakers as the deadlock prolongs, placing the Republican majority under increasing strain and leaving the House in an operational quagmire.

As Majority Leader, Scalise’s critics argued that he was not a preferable choice for Speaker and should focus on his ongoing battle with cancer instead. The House adjourned late at night, scheduling another meeting for early Friday.

Kevin McCarthy, who was previously ousted from the Speaker role, stated that Scalise would continue as Majority Leader but did not offer further guidance to his fellow Republicans.

The House is now entering its second week without a Speaker at a time of both domestic and international crises, amplifying the pressure on Republicans to reclaim control and govern effectively.

Rep. Jim Jordan is now the focus of renewed calls to unify the party behind him, particularly from the hard-right House Freedom Caucus.

However, Jordan also faces significant opposition from within the party. Alternate names for Speaker are also being floated, including Rep. Patrick McHenry, who currently serves as interim Speaker pro tempore.

Rank-and-file Republicans expressed their exasperation and uncertainty after Thursday’s meeting, with some likening the party to a “ship without a rudder.”

Democrats, who have been observing the GOP’s internal struggles, issued a stern warning. “The GOP must put an end to this internal strife,” said New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries.

As Republicans spent another day behind closed doors in intense debates, some like Rep. Dan Crenshaw cited “emotional” reasons for not supporting Scalise.

Donald Trump, who is considered a front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, weighed in on the situation, noting Scalise’s health challenges due to his diagnosis with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, during a radio interview.

As the deadlock continues, some Republicans are calling for a transparent voting process to resolve the Speaker issue, urging the party to make a decision without further delay.

Contributions to this report were made by Big Big News writer Jill Colvin in New York.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Steve Scalise Withdraws

What led to Steve Scalise’s decision to withdraw from the House Speaker race?

Steve Scalise decided to withdraw from the House Speaker race because a significant faction within the Republican Party refused to support him, leaving the GOP majority divided and unable to reach a consensus.

Who were the main contenders for the House Speaker role besides Steve Scalise?

One of the main contenders besides Steve Scalise was Rep. Jim Jordan, the far-right Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, who had initially sought the position but later withdrew his candidacy.

How did Steve Scalise’s health condition factor into this decision?

Steve Scalise’s battle with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, was a point of concern for some members of the Republican Party. They believed he should prioritize his health rather than running for Speaker.

What are the implications of Scalise’s withdrawal for the functioning of the House?

Scalise’s withdrawal further deepened the internal divisions within the Republican majority, leaving the House in a state of operational deadlock. Without a Speaker, the House struggles to conduct its legislative duties during a time of national and international crises.

What are the next steps for the Republican Party in selecting a new Speaker?

The Republican Party is facing uncertainty in selecting a new Speaker. Rep. Jim Jordan and other potential candidates are being considered, but the path to consensus within the GOP remains unclear. The party needs to unify to elect a Speaker and restore functionality to the House.

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PoliticalJunkie23 October 13, 2023 - 5:31 am

So Scalise’s health bein’ a prob, but why they can’t agree on a new Speaker? Gotta sort this out quick!

Reader123 October 13, 2023 - 7:50 am

Scalise droppin’ outta the race is like a bombshell, leavin’ Repubs in disarray. No Speaker, big mess!

DemocratObserver October 13, 2023 - 11:57 am

Dems watchin’ this GOP chaos, smh. We’re ready to get to work, but they gotta get their act together.

CantDecide2024 October 13, 2023 - 12:33 pm

Jordan or not Jordan? That’s the question! Who’s gonna take charge?

GOPWatchdog October 14, 2023 - 2:26 am

Repubs need to unite, man. This infightin’ just makes ’em look weak. Time for a leader, folks!


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