A little-known Republican emerged Friday to challenge Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio in a brutal party battle to pick a new speaker.
Representative Austin Scott of Georgia, a prominent conservative and ally of ousted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, said he would seek the nomination. The hard-right Republican, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Mr. He effectively positioned himself as a struggling candidate against Jordan.
Last week Mr. A hard-right wing of Jordan’s supporters, Mr. The surprise move promises to prolong the infighting that has raged among Republicans since McCarthy’s ouster. .
Co-founder of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus and former President Donald J. Trump’s favorite Mr. Jordan smoothed over Republican divisions and insisted on emerging as a consensus choice.
“I think I can hold the conference together,” said Mr. Jordan told reporters. “I think I can tell the country what we’re doing and why it’s important to them.”
In the race Mr. Scott’s entry was unexpected and Mr. No one else raised their hand Friday to challenge Jordan. Mr. Scott, in his seventh term representing a largely rural and deeply conservative district in south Georgia, Mr. He has publicly railed against the hard-right rebels who ousted McCarthy. He promised to return the Congress to its regular functions.
“When I woke up this morning, I had no intention of doing this,” said Mr. Scott told reporters. He added: “But I believe that if we as Republicans are going to have a majority, we have to do the right things the right way. We don’t do that now.
A closed-door candidate forum is scheduled for 1 p.m
House Republicans met Friday morning, and on Thursday their No. 2 leader, Mr. They rejected several proposals to change the internal rules for electing a candidate and were expected to switch next to electing a new candidate.
59 year old Mr. Jordan, if he wins his party’s support and gains a majority in the House, would be second in line for the presidency, achieving a significant surge for a Republican popular with the party’s far-right base. . His combative style and disdain for compromise have plagued past GOP speakers.
Mr. Scott, 53, has been a rank-and-file member of Congress since 2011. He is on the Intelligence Committee, which is usually given to members who are considered trustworthy enough to handle the country’s secrets.
During the intra-party competition on Wednesday, Mr. Mr. Scalise won by just 14 votes. Surpassed Jordan. But instead of consolidating his narrow base of supporters, Mr. Scalise immediately began hemorrhaging supporters, as lawmakers from many factions said they did not want to get behind him. After about 30 hours he pulled out of the tournament.
Mr. Jordan and his supporters hoped to avoid a similar fate, and Mr. Shortly after Scalise’s departure, Republicans immediately called on him to rally around him.
But mainstream Republicans say Mr. They are worried about Jordan. Mr. Many said they did not want to reward Scalise’s supporters for refusing to honor his nomination.
Representative Ann Wagner of Missouri, Mr. He called Jordan’s candidacy a “non-starter.” Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, who represents the district President Biden won, said Mr. Lawmakers said they were concerned about the will of hard-right members who refused to back Scalise.
“The truth is: If you reward bad behavior, you’re going to get more of it,” Mr. Bacon said.
Mr. Rep. Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota, a supporter of Jordan, acknowledged that Republicans won’t support him because they don’t want to reward that behavior.
But he mr. He argued that Jordan should not be judged by the behavior of his staunchest supporters and warned that it would be difficult for any Republican to win a majority.
“I don’t think a lot of people have 217,” said Mr. Armstrong said.
Still other options were discussed.
Some members predicted a fight that could drag on for weeks, including Rep. Patrick D. of North Carolina. They debated how to give McHenry — the speaker pro tempore who primarily conducts the election for speaker — more power. Chamber work until the conflict is resolved.
Katie Edmondson, Annie Gurney And Robert Jimison Contributed report from Washington, et Richard Fawcett From Atlanta.