Scalise Wins Secret Ballot, but Problems Remain

By Jerry McConway, updated on October 12, 2023

On Wednesday, the GOP caucus elected Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) over Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) to be the new Speaker by a vote of 113-99.

There are still rumblings, however, that not everyone will support him.

Talking Points…

  • The vote
  • GOP comments
  • My Two Cents…

The Vote

Donald Trump had endorsed Jordan, which led most of us to think that even though it would be a close vote, Jordan would take it.

That did not happen, with Scalise taking the vote by a mere 14 votes.

After the vote, Jordan told the caucus that everyone should get behind Scalise and unite so the House can get back to work.

The war in Israel makes it imperative they get this situated and move forward.

GOP Comments

After the vote, I have to admit I was shocked to see that there is still a massive divide in the House.

Even more disappointing, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has not addressed the caucus to encourage them all to unite behind Scalise. I say this because there are still loyalists to McCarthy who are hinting they will boycott Scalise to try to get McCarthy reinstalled as Speaker.

For instance, Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) stated:

"Personally, I'm still with McCarthy.

"We'll see how that plays out, but I do know a large percentage of the membership wants to be there with him as well."

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) has already stated that he will not vote for Scalise, as has Rep. Michael Cloud (R-TX).

Roy stated:

"There is a tendency in this town for the status quo to take shape and be able to roll over people and steamroll people who are trying to work across ideologies."

Cloud added:

"While I respect Steve Scalise, the underhanded efforts to rush this vote to the floor without getting full buy-in from the conference is extremely ill-advised and I will not be supporting the nomination on the floor, absent a further discussion."

Rep. Barry Moore (R-AL) addressed the lack of unity in the room, stating:

"They knew I was with [Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio] in the room, and I thought I might go with Scalise if everybody was gonna get behind Scalise, that was fine, but it's just not that way.

"There's just people that are not on his team."

Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), the leader of the Main Street Caucus, was clearly frustrated that the party was not uniting behind the chosen candidate.

He added:

"Frankly, I think it would be easier in a political environment where people understood that governing requires some give and take.

"I never get everything I want in any negotiation. There are a lot of people around here who don't understand that, and it makes it hard to govern. It is not a problem unique to the Republican Party, but it is on full display in our party today."

My Two Cents…

I was pretty surprised to see the resistance to Scalise, especially knowing how well-liked he is in the caucus. But he is also an ally of McCarthy, which seems to be the problem here.

I don't see Scalise running the House the same way McCarthy was, and I had no problem with him or Jordan taking the gavel, but that is clearly not the feeling among the caucus, who know him far better than I.

The most disappointing aspect of this is the lack of presence from GOP leadership on this front. The only person that stepped up was Jim Jordan.

As I noted above, why has Kevin McCarthy not addressed his supporters to get them behind Scalise?

Where is Donald Trump? His guy lost, but he is also allied with Scalise, so why has Trump not stepped in to tell his supporters in Congress to rally behind Scalise so we can address the border, government spending, and, of course, the war in Israel?

American lives are literally at stake, and people are posturing right now.

The GOP caucus needs to get behind closed doors, hash this out, and put a vote on the floor on Friday or Saturday. I don't think they comprehend how much damage they are doing regarding the 2024 election as well as the stakes that are on the table.

Congress needs to get to work… period.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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