Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) has announced his bid for the Speakership of the House. Many political insiders and commentators now perceive Scott’s move as an establishment GOP attempt to block Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) increasing momentum for the position.
Scott wrote on X, “I have filed to be Speaker of the House. We are in Washington to legislate, and I want to lead a House that functions in the best interest of the American people.”
I have filed to be Speaker of the House. We are in Washington to legislate, and I want to lead a House that functions in the best interest of the American people.
— Rep. Austin Scott (@AustinScottGA08) October 13, 2023
However, many were far from impressed, alluding to the fact that Scott’s candidacy is not to lead the House, but to prevent Jordan from doing so. On top of this, others were quick to point out the stock trading “prowess” of Scott, who, according to portfolio data, was the top political trader in 2021, boasting a 780% profit on his FuelCell Energy, $FCEL, stocks.
You are not running to be Speaker.
You are running to stop Jim Jordan from being Speaker because protecting the interests of DC and Ukraine is more important to you than representing your voters.
Drop out and go away. https://t.co/2ArtsseFIR
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) October 13, 2023
This you? https://t.co/tTuqVYb8zC
— Patrick Webb (@RealPatrickWebb) October 13, 2023
While the road to the Speakership is still winding, various forces will continue to be at play.
The case for Jordan appeared to gain strength Friday as Republicans ranging in philosophy from moderate to very conservative signaled their growing comfort with President Donald Trump’s endorsed candidate leading the House.
His stock rose Thursday after Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) withdrew from consideration after failing to secure support from the 217 members necessary to win a full House vote. As a close second, Jordan drew from a well of support running deep thanks to his years chairing the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus. While his pedigree generated consternation from moderate GOP representatives, sources indicate that the small bloc of holdouts is starting to warm to Jordan.
Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), an ally of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), voiced support for Jordan in a statement on X where he said the “best chance to stop [President Joe] Biden” is to coalesce behind the conservative firebrand.
“We must unite behind one leader with the integrity, the ability, and the vision to lead us. I believe Jim Jordan is that leader and I ask my colleagues to join me now,” Hudson wrote.
At the same time, sources continue to describe Jordan’s bid for moderate support as an “uphill battle” made worse by the fact that Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD), a conservative, will be delivering a nominating speech on behalf of the Ohio Republican.
Other congressmen upset by McCarthy’s ouster are starting to come around, including Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) who previously said he would never support Rep. Jordan under any circumstance.
The ultra-conservative faction of the House responsible for McCarthy’s defenestration has tied their wagon to a Jordan speakership. On Thursday, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) switched his allegiance from Scalise to Jordan while excoriating former Speaker Paul Ryan for, as he claimed, growing the national deficit and national debt during his tenure. Ryan recently went public with his criticism of Gaetz for engineering Rep. McCarthy’s downfall.
“Paul Ryan was a failed Speaker in a lot of ways and probably had great connection, great empathy with Kevin McCarthy and they are that commonality… The way to fund the government isn’t the way Paul Ryan did it: through omnibus bills, continuing resolutions. The way to fund the government is through [single-line spending],” Gaetz said.
“Paul Ryan ran this place for years and our deficits and debts grew during that time,” he added.
His show of support from the right was reiterated by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) who on Friday said he is wading into the House’s dispute for the first time because he counts Rep. Jordan as a “good friend and strong conservative.”