A mad dash is kicking off in the House GOP to elect a new nominee for Speaker after the House ousted Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from the post Tuesday, and he declined to seek the gavel again.
Republicans expect to hold an internal candidate forum Tuesday and an election Wednesday.
Here are the top GOP contenders for Speaker — and who is out of the running.
Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.)
The now-top-ranking House Republican is the most obvious pick to move up to the Speakership, and he threw his hat into the ring Wednesday afternoon.
“You know my leadership style I’ve displayed as your Majority Leader and Whip,” Scalise wrote in a “dear colleague” letter.
“I have a proven track record of bringing together the diverse array of viewpoints within our Conference to build consensus where others thought it impossible.”
Scalise is seen as more ideologically conservative than McCarthy was, and he has the built-in advantage of years in House GOP leadership and the infrastructure that comes with it.
But the Louisiana Republican, who survived critical injuries from the 2017 Congressional baseball shooting, is currently battling another physical challenge: He is undergoing treatment after being diagnosed with a “very treatable” blood cancer in August.
Despite that, Scalise already has stong backers, including Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) and Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.). Multiple GOP sources say he has been having conversations with members about seeking the post.
But members are not universally coalescing around him yet as they explore other options.
Scalise attended a Wednesday Texas Republican delegation meeting where members heard from Speaker candidates. He did not respond to questions from reporters as he left.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio)
Jordan also officially jumped in the race Wednesday to be Speaker, telling reporters he is vying for the role and sending a letter to colleagues asking for their support.
Jordan, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, could be an appealing candidate for hard-line conservatives: The Ohio Republican served as the first-ever chairman of the House Freedom Caucus.
Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.) have already endorsed him for the job.
Jordan was nominated for the Speakership on the first three ballots in the drawn-out January election, but he threw his support behind McCarthy throughout all 15 rounds.
On Wednesday, he pointed to his efforts passing border security legislation, conducting oversight of the Biden administration and reining in spending.
“We agreed at the beginning of the Congress that there are three fundamental things the House must do: pass the bills that need to be passed, do the overnight, and rein in the spending,” Jordan wrote in his letter to colleagues.
“Working with [House Homeland Security Committee] Chairman [Mark] Green and our leadership, I helped to deliver the most significant legislative accomplishment this Congress: the strongest immigration and border enforcement bill ever. With other committee chairs and the members of the Judiciary Committee, I am doing the overnight and holding the Administration accountable. And I have been among the leaders in pushing for fiscal discipline my entire career,” he added.
Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.)
Hern is chair of the Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus in the House. Before coming to Congress, he was a businessman who got his start with a line of successful McDonald’s franchises.
His name briefly came up during McCarthy’s 15-ballot election in January. Now, he is more openly considering a bid.
Hern attended a meeting with the Texas House GOP delegation Wednesday, but he stopped short of formally announcing a run for Speaker.
“I’m out looking at this and rolling forward with trying to find, you know, where the support might be. People have asked me to run; it’s not something I’ve ever talked about running, nobody’s ever seen a message where I’ve said I’m running for Speaker,” Hern said.
“That was not part of my issue when I came here; my issue was come make a difference. And if this is part of making a difference and people want me to run then I’ll certainly look at it,” he added.
Emerging from the meeting, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said Hern made clear he is running.
“My narrative is that people have been asking me about a different face, somebody’s got different sets of experiences,” Hern told reporters walking into the meeting.
Former President Trump
As the Speaker does not technically need to be an elected member of the House, Trump’s name has come up as a possible Speaker from time to time.
Rep. Troy Nehls (R-Texas) said Tuesday that he will nominate Trump for Speaker, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said Wednesday that she will support Trump for Speaker.
But it is highly unlikely he would become Speaker or get any serious support.
Other potential contenders
House GOP members have mentioned a swath of other potential candidates for Speaker in passing. Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that he would like to see Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) as Speaker.
Other floated names include Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas), chairman of the House Budget Committee.
“I’m honored that I get to lead the charge on restoring fiscal responsibility … That’s my focus,” Arrington said Wednesday. “I pray and always keep an open mind of what God might have in store for me, but this is where I am today. And I think we’re making great strides.”
Not running – but looking to move up in GOP leadership
Emmer had been speculated to be a potential candidate for Speaker. But Emmer confirmed Wednesday that he is supporting Scalise for Speaker and seeking his spot as House majority leader.
According to three GOP sources, Emmer had been making calls to members about moving up.
And Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.), currently chief deputy whip, confirmed Wednesday that he is looking to take Emmer’s place as House majority whip if he moves up.