In an unexpected twist, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise cast his vote in favor of Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan on the chamber floor to become the new speaker. However, reports suggest that Scalise's support alone may not be sufficient to secure Jordan's victory. The controversy surrounding Scalise's commitment to Jordan arose when a CNN reporter claimed that Scalise had been hesitant to endorse the candidate and accused him of not being a team player.
Scalise's office vehemently denied these allegations, asserting that the characterization was inaccurate. Lauren Fine, the communications director for Scalise, clarified that the Majority Leader had consistently expressed support for whomever the conference nominated as speaker. She stressed that Scalise had voted for Jordan on the floor and would continue to do so.
— The Washington Times (@WashTimes) October 18, 2023
This development in the speaker race unfolded after Scalise himself entered the race last week, only to withdraw when he failed to secure the required 217 votes among Republicans in a secret ballot. Some GOP lawmakers who initially supported Scalise expressed disappointment that he was overshadowed by Jordan after failing to garner sufficient support immediately.
Now, Jordan faces the challenge of rallying more support and aims to win in subsequent rounds of ballots, despite privately advising Scalise to step aside if he couldn't secure victory in the initial vote. Unfortunately, Jordan fell short in his bid for the gavel, leaving the House without a speaker for the second week, causing legislative gridlock. Jordan, a conservative figure endorsed by former President Donald Trump, failed to reach the 217 votes needed for victory, with 20 Republicans voting against him.
As Republicans regroup and contemplate their next steps, the House is in recess. The timing of the next round of votes remains uncertain, but Jordan's steadfast supporters remain optimistic that he will eventually garner the necessary backing in subsequent ballots. The second round of the speaker ballot is anticipated to take place on Wednesday morning.