House

Scalise enters Speaker’s race

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) formally threw his hat into the ring to replace ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), pushing the need for unity in a letter to colleagues.

“You know my leadership style,” he wrote.

“I have a proven track record of bringing together the diverse array of viewpoints within our Conference to build consensus where others thought it impossible.”

Scalise, who has been in GOP leadership positions since 2014, nodded to the dysfunction in the House after eight GOP members backed Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-Fla.) move to push McCarthy from his role.

“We all came here to save this country from being taken down a dangerous path of destruction. We don’t sacrifice time with our families to come to Washington to fight over the small things,” Scalise wrote.

Scalise’s push mentions the need to pass appropriations bills, saying they “cannot afford to lose any more time” on that matter. He also nodded to ongoing impeachment efforts being led by a trio of House committees, saying the conference has to stay focused on “critical oversight of a corrupt administration.”

“Our strength as a Conference comes from our unity, and we have seen when we unite as a Conference, we can deliver wins for the American people. Now we need to take those unified positions and work to extract conservative wins from the Democrat Senate and White House by leveraging upcoming deadlines,” he wrote.

“While we need to be realistic about what can be achieved, if we stay united, we can preserve leverage for the House to secure tangible wins in our impending policy fights.”

Scalise is perhaps the most obvious potential choice to become Speaker after McCarthy’s ouster, and is already getting public supporters. Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) is supporting him, as is House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) – who hopes to move up to Majority Leader if Scalise takes the Speaker’s gavel.

But he is not a shoe-in for the job, as members keep their options open.

Scalise’s announcement letter comes roughly an hour after House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) launched a bid of his own to replace McCarthy earlier on Wednesday. And Jordan is getting public supporters, too.

Scalise’s bid, while widely expected, is notable given he was diagnosed with a “very treatable” blood cancer in August, and is undergoing treatment for that. 

He did not mention his diagnosis or treatment in his Speaker bid announcement letter.

It is not the first major physical challenge for Scalise, who was shot and critically injured in 2017 during a practice for the Congressional baseball game.

“God already gave me another chance at life. I believe we were all put here for a purpose. This next chapter won’t be easy, but I know what it takes to fight and I am prepared for the battles that lie ahead,” he said.

The Louisiana lawmaker met with members of the Texas GOP delegation shortly before formally launching his bid.

Scalise’s letter comes roughly an hour after House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) launched a bid of his own as the race to replace McCarthy quickly heats up, with a number of lawmakers surfacing the name of both men. 

The Louisiana lawmaker met with members of the Texas GOP delegation shortly before formally launching his bid.

Scalise has been in top leadership positions since 2014. He was shot in 2017 during a practice for the Congressional baseball game.

“God already gave me another chance at life. I believe we were all put here for a purpose. This next chapter won’t be easy, but I know what it takes to fight and I am prepared for the battles that lie ahead.” 

Updated at 2:48 p.m.

Tags Jim Jordan Kevin McCarthy Matt Gaetz Steve Scalise Tom Emmer

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