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Team Scalise Pursuing Top Leadership Posts in House GOP

John Gizzi By Wednesday, 04 October 2023 07:14 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Talk on Capitol Hill Wednesday was dominated by reports not only of who was running to succeed dethroned House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, but how the leadership hierarchy of House Republicans would change when they select a speakership candidate next week.

In a surprise move, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., signaled late Tuesday night he would try to move up to the top position from which McCarthy was voted out by the full House earlier in the day.

What makes his move surprising is that Scalise, who was No. 2 to McCarthy, is running as part of an unofficial ticket: House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, R-Minn., who has endorsed Scalise for speaker, is vying to move from the No. 3 spot to Scalise's job as majority leader; and Chief Deputy Whip Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., is seeking Emmer's majority whip office.

So an unofficial Team Scalise — a ticket of Scalise, Emmer, and Reschenthaler — is actively seeking the top three offices in a House just rocked by the first successful motion to vacate the chair in history.

Scalise, 57, is widely liked among his colleagues and considered a solid conservative. By Monday, he was telephoning to seek votes for speaker among House Republicans.

What made his candidacy for speaker so unexpected was that in August, the Louisiana lawmaker disclosed that he is battling blood cancer and receiving regular chemotherapy treatment. For brief periods after such treatment, Scalise is required to avoid contact with other people.

The other dilemma surrounding the upcoming speaker's race is that despite the arguments and dissension among Republican lawmakers so frequently captured on C-SPAN coverage of the House, individual GOP members often insisted to Newsmax they are genuinely torn between Scalise and his two likeliest opponents because they are true friends of all of them.

House Rules Committee Chair Tom Cole, R-Okla., summarized the situation to us on Wednesday afternoon when he recalled: "I was an assistant whip to Steve when he was the Republican whip and like him a lot. There is a strong degree of affection for him throughout the conference."

But, Cole quickly added, "Jim Jordan [R-Ohio] is doing a great job as Judiciary Committee Chairman. And he did stand by Kevin when others were trying to keep him from becoming speaker in January and in the vote we had yesterday. And Kevin Hern is my friend and colleague from Oklahoma, and I sure like him.

"I like all of them in the race so far, so I haven't committed."

Several GOP lawmakers have very similar narratives to Cole. Sources close to Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., told us that he donated blood to Scalise when the Louisianian was severely wounded by a gunman's bullet during a practice for the annual Congressional Baseball Game in 2017. But Webster has also worked closely with Jordan and Hern on different House legislation.

By late Monday, there were strong signs Scalise was the early front-runner for the Republican designation as speaker candidate. He reportedly made a good impression among the 25-member Texas delegation of Republican House members, which will wield considerable influence in the eventual Republican conference vote for speaker.

In addition, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., architect of McCarthy's downfall, told reporters late Tuesday that Scalise "is the type of person I could see myself supporting."

So will House Republicans united behind Scalise and Team Scalise and be united in the all-important vote for speaker on the House floor? With all of the changes and unexpected developments in the speaker war, no one was saying for sure.

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


John-Gizzi
Talk on Capitol Hill Wednesday was dominated by reports not only of who was running to succeed dethroned House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, but how the leadership hierarchy of House Republicans would change when they select a speakership candidate next week.
steve scalise, house, speaker, leadership, gop, matt gaetz, kevin mccarthy
608
2023-14-04
Wednesday, 04 October 2023 07:14 PM
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