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Tags: senate | house | speaker | republicans | maga | steve scalise | jim jordan

Speaker's Race Divides Republican Senators

By    |   Monday, 09 October 2023 10:07 AM EDT

The race to determine who will succeed Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., as speaker of the House is dividing Senate Republicans along mainstream and MAGA fault lines.

According to The Hill, many traditional Republican senators are privately hoping the House elects Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., instead of Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, because they see Scalise as a leader more akin to McCarthy.

Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., who had reportedly been considering a bid, dropped out of the race on Saturday.

Lawmakers who prefer Scalise said they think his leadership style would mesh better with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., The Hill reported. They also said Scalise would do a better job of shepherding essential bills through the House.

On Wednesday, McConnell expressed disappointment over McCarthy's ouster from the speakership.

"The Speaker and I worked closely throughout his tenure, but I was particularly struck by his persistence," McConnell said on the Senate floor. "He literally willed the President of the United States to the negotiating table and kept coming back again and again until he had helped secure the nation's full faith and credit."

The Senate Republican leader also called McCarthy "a partner I could trust to be honest and candid."

Many GOP senators are also wary of the House impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden that Jordan is spearheading, along with House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer, R-Ky., calling it a "political loser" ahead of the 2024 election.

Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., was the first in the upper chamber to endorse Jordan on Friday, calling him "a fighter."

"Jim Jordan is a fighter that doesn't back down, and that's what we need to secure the border and stop Joe Biden's inflation bomb agenda," Braun said. "He would stand up to the D.C. establishment and serve the American people well as Speaker of the House."

Former President Donald Trump also endorsed Jordan for speaker on Friday, posting on Truth Social that he "will be a GREAT Speaker of the House, & has my Complete & Total Endorsement!"

While Republican senators generally view Scalise as a politically-savvy party leader who could go on offense against the Democrats and avert a government shutdown, those aligned with Trump see a Jordan speakership as an opportunity to shake things up in Washington.

"It is kind of a classic contest between the inside candidate and the outside candidate and each of them have strengths in both areas," Vin Weber, a Republican strategist and former member of GOP House leadership, told The Hill. "I think Scalise would be a masterful leader inside the institution and negotiating with the Democrats but I also see that Jordan would be an excellent spokesperson for the outside world."

Last month, Scalise voted for $300 million in Ukraine aid and in favor of a $40 billion aid package for Ukraine last year; Jordan, by contrast, has repeatedly voted against sending money to Ukraine.

GOP strategist Ron Bonjean, who is also a former Senate and House Republican leadership aide, told The Hill Jordan is a "hardliner," but it could help him in the race if he's able to convince his conference that he's better equipped to handle the House Freedom Caucus than Scalise.

"A number of Republican are attracted to Jordan because they feel that the Freedom Caucus won't cause trouble for the entire conference and that they will be kept at bay, which is not necessarily true because as speaker you can't take completely hardline positions, you have to figure out a path forward," he said. "That will be a different place for Jordan to operate. That's not his comfort zone. He's a partisan hardliner that generates plenty of headlines that please the [party] base."

Republican senators may prefer Scalise, but they don't really have much of a say in the matter, Bonjean said, because "House Republicans are going to be voting for their own leader."

Nicole Wells

Nicole Wells, a Newsmax general assignment reporter covers news, politics, and culture. She is a National Newspaper Association award-winning journalist.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

The race to determine who will succeed Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., as speaker of the House is dividing Senate Republicans along mainstream and MAGA fault lines.
senate, house, speaker, republicans, maga, steve scalise, jim jordan, kevin hern
Monday, 09 October 2023 10:07 AM
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