No clear front runner for House Speaker after GOP candidate forum, lawmakers say
Votes are on hold in the House until a new Speaker assumes office.
A closed-door candidate forum for House Speaker held Tuesday with GOP Majority Leader Steve Scalise and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, making their final pitches for the post failed to produce a clear frontrunner, according to multiple GOP lawmakers who attended the event.
Held during a party conference meeting, the forum saw the two declared candidates attempt to woo Republican representatives to become the next leader of the lower chamber of Congress.
Votes are on hold in the House until a new Speaker assumes office. The winner will need a simple majority of 218 of yes votes on the House floor to assume office.
"Each declared candidate for Speaker will have 5 minutes of opening remarks, followed by a Q&A session with Members, and concluding with a 2 minutes closing statement. I look forward to hosting a productive session to ensure we focus on delivering for the American people," House GOP Conference Chair Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) wrote Tuesday on X ahead of the forum.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was ousted as Speaker last week after Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., introduced a motion to vacate the position that passed with eight GOP votes and the support of all Democratic lawmakers.
McCarthy has not declared his candidacy as of press time, but has not ruled out returning to the speakership if none of the candidates receive enough support.
"Whatever the conference wants, I will do," he said Monday.
Outside of the candidate forum, however, McCarthy confirmed that he "asked the members not to nominate" him at Tuesday's meeting.
The House GOP conference speaker election is expected to be held on Wednesday. It is unclear at this time when the full House floor vote will occur.