Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) has filed to run against House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) for Speaker.
“We are in Washington to legislate, and I want to lead a House that functions in the best interest of the American people,” Scott wrote in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
The late-stage announcement from Scott — a seventh-term lawmaker who was on few people’s radar as a potential Speaker contender — is an apparent protest against Jordan as House GOP lawmakers are set to hold a Speaker candidate forum Friday afternoon.
“I don’t necessarily want to be the speaker of the House. I want a House that functions correctly, but the House is not functioning correctly right now,” he said.
Scott told reporters he had “no intention” of running for Speaker this morning.
“I care more about the conference and that it’s doing our job than I care about who the Speaker is. I truly do,” Scott said. “When I woke up this morning I had no intention of doing this.”
“I believe is if we as Republicans are gonna be the majority, we have to do the right things the right way. And we’re not doing that right now,” he later added.
Some lawmakers — including Scott — have pledged their staunch opposition to Jordan.
During Thursday night’s closed-door conference meeting, Scott stood up and announced his opposition to Jordan, according to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and another House Republican.
On Friday, however, Scott denied that his bid is an “anti-Jordan” effort, telling reporters “Jim’s a friend of mine.”
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told reporters Friday morning that there was nothing that Jordan could do to get his support. Before Scott’s announcement, Rogers said that he planned to vote for McCarthy.
Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) is seen following a House Republican Conference meeting where they held a secret ballot for their next candidate for Speaker on Friday, October 13, 2023.
Friday’s candidate forum comes after Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), whom Republicans narrowly nominated Wednesday to be Speaker, abruptly withdrew from the race Thursday evening as it was clear he would not get the support from Republicans needed to win on the House floor.
But now it is not clear that Scalise’s chief competition, Jordan, can get there either.
“I assume a large block of people that work for Steve will probably start out with Austin,” said Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio), who is supporting Jordan.
Even before Scott jumped into the Speaker’s race, Jordan faced an uphill climb to clinching the gavel.
At least two lawmakers — Scott and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) — told reporters Thursday night that they would not support Jordan.
The Ohio Republican called and met with holdouts Friday morning, according to a source familiar, and after the morning conference meeting — but before Scott officially entered the race — Jordan evoked confidence in his changes for winning the gavel.
“We got broad support across the conference; I feel good about where we’re at, but we got a candidate where members are gonna ask you more questions, we’ll go from there,” he told reporters, later adding “I feel real good about the vote.”
House Republicans are once again working to elect a Speaker after eight Republicans joined with Democrats last week and voted to oust then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from the position.
Scott referenced McCarthy’s ouster when discussing his Speaker bid.
“A couple of days ago when eight Republicans, eight Republicans … with 208 Democrats to take the Speaker of the House out. That’s the wrong thing to do,” he said. “And so we have to stop that type of stuff. If we’re gonna be the majority party we have to act like the majority party.”
Aris Folley contributed. Updated at 1:12 p.m.