House GOP rejects Trump’s speaker candidate — but some MAGA Republicans already rebelling

Republicans instead nominated Steve Scalise, who reportedly compared his politics to ex-KKK leader David Duke

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published October 11, 2023 1:44PM (EDT)

House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

House Republicans on Wednesday voted to nominate House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., for speaker but his ascent to the job is far from assured. Scalise narrowly defeated Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump and many of his allies in a secret ballot by a 113-99 vote, according to The New York Times.

But Scalise, who reportedly once compared his politics to KKK leader “David Duke without the baggage,” will still need to capture at least 217 votes on the floor and cannot afford to lose more than four of his party’s members. Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., needed 15 ballots to secure the speakership in January after conceding to numerous far-right demands — including lowering the number of members needed to force a vote on the removal of the speaker to one, which ultimately cost him his job just months later.

Some Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy are already opposing Scalise’s bid. Reps. Max Miller, R-Ohio, and Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., told Axios that they will vote for Jordan on the floor. Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., vowed to vote for McCarthy. The House may hold a vote as early as 3 pm on Wednesday.

MORE FROM Igor Derysh