In the Republican race to replace Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker, Reps. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Steve Scalise (R-LA) stand as the primary contenders.
As reported by Rawstory on Monday, October 9, the upcoming GOP candidate forum is poised to be a pivotal moment in this leadership battle, with both candidates vying to secure the 111 votes required from the party’s 221 members.
However, internal party dynamics and longstanding rivalries may cast a shadow of uncertainty over their respective candidacies.
A crucial factor influencing this race is the simmering tension between Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise.
While Scalise had long held the position of clear No. 2 within the House GOP, his aspirations for the speakership, which became evident following McCarthy’s failed bid in 2015, created a lingering rift.
Although McCarthy and Scalise maintained a facade of unity, Scalise’s swift action following McCarthy’s recent ouster revealed his ambitions.
In contrast, McCarthy’s operation is solidly aligned with Jim Jordan, putting the weight of the former House Speaker behind his candidacy.
Yet, amidst this tug-of-war for the party’s leadership, doubts have emerged regarding Jim Jordan’s suitability for the role.
Jordan, known for founding and leading the Freedom Caucus, has dedicated the past six years to championing hardline conservative candidates in deeply red districts. However, concerns have arisen regarding Jordan’s ability to secure major donors for his campaign.
One senior GOP aide expressed apprehension, noting, “Small-dollar fundraising is expected for a speakership bid, but [Jordan’s] lack of significant donor relationships raises red flags for some members.”
In contrast, Steve Scalise has amassed an impressive war chest, raising $75 million since 2017.
This substantial funding has been strategically distributed among various Republican candidates and districts, bolstering Scalise’s standing as a viable candidate for House Speaker.
Scalise’s financial prowess has attracted attention and support from within the party, positioning him as a formidable competitor in this high-stakes race.
As the Republican Party prepares for the looming midterm election cycle, the decision on who will lead them in the House of Representatives becomes paramount.
The GOP conference’s candidate forum, scheduled for Tuesday, will serve as a crucial battleground for Jordan and Scalise to make their respective pitches and garner support.