Scalise officially enters speakership race, setting up clash with Jordan

Scalise officially enters speakership race, setting up clash with Jordan

Majority Leader Steve Scalise officially announced he would seek the speakership on Wednesday.

The Louisiana Republican has spent years courting conservatives, but he’ll now have to compete with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) for that wing of support, with Jordan making his bid for the gavel official just hours earlier. It’s unclear if either could earn backing from GOP centrists, a necessary faction given Republicans’ slim majority and unanimous Democratic opposition.

In a letter to his GOP colleagues asking for their support, Scalise referenced his leadership experience as former whip of the conference and as majority leader as reasons he’s best suited to be speaker. He also referenced a 2017 shooting, when he was seriously injured at a Republican baseball practice in Virginia, but did not mention his recent cancer diagnosis or treatment.

“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. The task before us is not without its challenges, but I believe in this Conference and our ability to come together and achieve great things,” he said.

Scalise was reaching out to Republican lawmakers shortly after McCarthy was stripped of the gavel Tuesday night, gauging support within the conference. It was an open secret that the Louisiana Republican had aspirations for the top job, a fact that caused tense relations between him and former Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

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