House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) announced Tuesday that he will run for the position of House Speaker after recently dethroned Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said he would not run again after being ousted.
Scalise has been serving in the number two slot for the last 10 months, and several House members have pledged their support to him, sources told the Washington Examiner.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) made a motion to vacate the speaker's chair after McCarthy made a last-minute deal to avoid a government shutdown, and eight Republicans joined with all Democrats to vote McCarthy out.
The move received heavy criticism from conservative lawmakers, observers, and pundits because there was no plan to replace McCarthy and his removal could cause a distraction from other priorities of the caucus, such as the impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.
"We all came here to save this country from being taken down a dangerous path of destruction," Scalise wrote in a letter to GOP colleagues on Wednesday announcing his candidacy. "I know the coming weeks ahead will be some of the most arduous times we will face together, but this Conference is worth fighting for — we cannot lose sight of our shared mission. Now, more than ever, we must mend the deep wounds that exist within our Conference and focus on our objectives so we can get back to work for the millions of people who are counting on us."
Scalise is in the middle of treatments for multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. He was diagnosed in August and said in September that the treatment would go on for as long as four to six months.
At the end of September, Scalise said that the levels of cancer had dropped since he started treatment a month earlier.
It is not immediately clear whether Scalise would be able to meet the heavy demands of the Speakership while undergoing treatment for the cancer, although he did return to Capitol Hill in mid-September and resume working.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, also announced Tuesday that he will run for Speaker.
Jordan also leads the Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, and was the first-ever Chair of the House Freedom Caucus.
He seems sure to have the support of conservative hard-liners, but may not be able to appeal to moderates.
Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Jim Banks (R-IN) have pledged their support to Jordan. “When it comes to negotiating on behalf of the House GOP Majority with the Senate and White House, I can’t think of anyone stronger than @Jim_Jordan to be our next Speaker of the House. He never backs down and has my full support,” Banks wrote on X.
In a 2018 vote for House Republican Leader, however, Jordan only got 43 votes against McCarthy.
Jordan said he thinks he could unite Republicans, which is badly needed right now.