Scalise’s rise kickstarts battles for other top House GOP posts

Scalise’s rise kickstarts battles for other top House GOP posts

Steve Scalise’s nomination for speaker is starting a scramble among other top House Republicans to fill the job of majority leader, which will come open should he keep rising.

Scalise (R-La.) still needs to secure the requisite majority vote on the House floor, but colleagues looking to fill his former No. 2 spot in GOP leadership aren’t wasting time. Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) announced Wednesday that he’ll run for majority leader, setting up a contest with Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), the current majority whip.

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) is also planning to run for majority leader, according to multiple sources.

But while Emmer has started aggressively whipping support, a fourth potential candidate is remaining silent about her plans. Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), the top woman in GOP leadership as conference chair, is also weighing a run for a higher position, though she’s not specified which role.

Stefanik, who may be lagging behind Emmer and Hern in the race to lock up support, subtly dinged her possible opponents on Wednesday.

“Now is NOT the time to be campaigning for other leadership positions, House Republicans must work to unite to elect the Speaker – and that is my focus as Conference Chair at this important time,” Stefanik tweeted while congratulating Scalise for his win in the speaker race.

Hern was the first official majority leader candidate to declare, using the coalition he built when he entertained — but never formally declared — a bid for speaker.

“We need leaders who listen twice as much as they speak, who are conservative because they’ve seen the impact of Democrat policies firsthand, and who aren’t afraid to change the way things have been done before around here,” Hern, chair of the powerful Republican Study Committee, said ina letter posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Some House Republicans were encouraging Rep. Jim Jordan to run for majority leader after he failed to secure the speaker’s gavel, but a spokesperson for the Ohio Republican dismissed the idea flatly with a “No.”

The majority leader race could also open up the whip or conference chair spots, if Emmer or Stefanik moves up. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.) is already making calls to seek the whip position if Emmer vacates it, POLITICO first reported last week.

And others have sought to help Reschenthaler in the hopes of becoming his chief deputy whip, if he succeeds.

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