U.S. House’s Scalise, Jordan locked in two-way speaker race, for now

Steve Scalise, the No. 2 Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Jim Jordan, a leader of the party’s conservative wing, are in a two-way race to lead the chamber after the historic ouster of Kevin McCarthy, but neither has the election sewn up.

Scalise, a lawmaker from Louisiana, has taken the more traditional route to the top by raising money and building relationships across the party, while Jordan has made his mark as a right-wing firebrand.

Jordan is a leading defender of former President Donald Trump, who remains a major figure in the Republican Party.

Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, endorsed Jordan for House speaker on Friday. But it remains to be seen how much weight that will carry.

As of Friday, both Scalise and Jordan had secured roughly two dozen endorsements from among the 221 Republicans in the House.

Republicans are due to choose their leader in a closed-door meeting on Wednesday, though it may take a while for them to settle on a candidate. Kevin Hern, the head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, is also expected to run, and other candidates could still surface. Representative Patrick McHenry currently holds the position on a temporary basis.

Whoever wins will have to negotiate a funding deal to keep the government open past a November 17 deadline and oversee an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden that Democrats say is unfounded. The speaker will also have to decide whether to back more Ukraine aid, which many rank-and-file Republicans oppose.

The full House votes on a speaker. Republicans hold a 221-212 majority in the House and can only spare four votes if opposition Democrats stick together.

Read more:

Scalise, Jordan bid for House speaker after McCarthy ouster

(Cover: Jim Jordan, left, and Steve Scalise confer during a news conference at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 8, 2022. /CFP)

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