Here are the Republicans vying to replace McCarthy as House Speaker | ET REALITY


Within hours of Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s removal as House Speaker, the race among Republicans to succeed him was on.

The No. 2 House Republican, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, has begun using the phones to drum up support for the job, as has a well-known conservative, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, chairman of the Republican Study Committee, has also been making calls expressing interest in the position.

There are several other names in the mix, including Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, the bow-tie-wearing North Carolina policy expert serving as acting president, whom some Republicans are trying to recruit. And some far-right lawmakers have vowed to nominate former President Donald J. Trump, since it is not necessary for a president to be a member of the House of Representatives.

Here’s a look at the current top contenders:

As House Majority Leader, Scalise, 57, is the favorite among many House Republicans to succeed McCarthy.

Scalise, former leader of the Republican Study Committee, is considered more conservative than McCarthy, with whom he had a somewhat frosty relationship. And he is already looking for powerful support. Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the Republican whip, has endorsed Scalise, according to people familiar with the matter, and hopes to take the No. 2 spot himself.

But Scalise, who has served in Congress since 2008, faces some challenges. He was diagnosed with blood cancer over the summer and is now undergoing intense treatment, which has led him to wear a mask to vote in the House and attend press conferences. And in 2017, during a practice for a congressional baseball game, an anti-Trump extremist shot and seriously wounded Scalise. He still walks with a limp from the incident.

He also apologized in 2014 for having spoken in 2002 at a white nationalist meeting, saying he would not have attended if he had been better informed about the group. A Louisiana-based political reporter later said that Scalise had once described himself as “like David Duke without the baggage,” referring to the former Klansman and white supremacist who was also a Louisiana politician.

Still, Scalise has the support of some traditional Republicans. Hours after McCarthy’s ouster, Rep. Tony Gonzales of Texas published a statement on social media in favor of Mr. Scalise.

“For a time like this…Steve is the right man to lead our country,” he wrote.

Jordan, 59, is considered one of the first hardline conservative members of Congress. A thorn in the side of past speakers, Jordan is a co-founder of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus and mentored many of its younger, louder members.

But Jordan, who has been in Congress since 2007, has also risen through the leadership ranks in recent years, becoming an ally of McCarthy and being named chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Jordan is a close Trump ally with whom he speaks frequently. He has been Trump’s main defender on Capitol Hill, using his committee to try to intervene in the various legal cases against the former president.

Jordan, a wrestling champion in his youth, has also been dogged by accusations that he turned a blind eye to allegations of sexual abuse committed by an Ohio State University doctor decades ago. Jordan has denied those allegations.

Right-wing members of Congress quickly announced their support for Mr. Jordan.

Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican with libertarian streaks, called Jordan his “first choice.” Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, who led the campaign to unseat McCarthy, wrote on social media platform X: “My mentor Jim Jordan would be great!”

Jordan attended a luncheon with several members of the Texas Republican delegation Wednesday morning, where he spoke to them about his candidacy.

“I think I can unite the conservative base, the party and the conference,” he said. “That’s why I’m running.”

Hern, 61, has been in Congress since 2018 and is the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee.

A wealthy businessman, he began his career running several McDonald’s franchises.

He quickly began making calls to gauge support for his candidacy after McCarthy’s ouster and he defended himself on Newsmax. He said the American people “want real results, and I think I could get them if people here want to put me in that place.”

However, he could face an uphill race against better-known contenders like Scalise and Jordan.

Hern did not definitively confirm that he will run on Wednesday, but said that “people have been asking me about a different face, someone who has a different set of experiences” than the others who have already jumped into the race.

“So let’s talk about it and see how it resonates,” he said.

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