Steve Scalise wins House GOP speaker nomination

The GOP decided against changing the vote threshold for speaker early Wednesday.

October 11, 2023, 5:01 PM

House Republicans voted 113-99 Wednesday to nominate Majority Leader Steve Scalise for speaker of the House, defeating Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan.

The vote was conducted by secret ballot, with 113 members voting for Scalise, 99 for Jordan, eight for others and three voting present. But ABC News has been told there will likely not be a vote for speaker on Wednesday due to Scalise's struggles to nab the 217 votes he will need to become speaker when the full House votes, per sources.

Scalise thanked his colleagues for designating him as the next speaker.

"I want to thank my House Republican colleagues for just designating me as the speaker. Obviously, we still have work to do, we're going to have to go upstairs on the House floor and resolve this and then get the House opened again," Scalise said.

Scalise did not indicate that there would be a floor vote on the House floor Wednesday regarding the speakership, and timing on a floor vote remains unclear.

"We have a lot of work to do," he said. "We need to make sure we're sending a message to people all throughout the world, that the House is open and doing the people's business."

Scalise said the first order of business under his speakership will be to pass a bipartisan resolution standing with Israel. He also said the House, under his leadership, will also take up spending bills to fund the government; will work to get the economy moving, and address the border crisis.

But uncertainty remains about whether enough of Jordan's backers will throw their support behind Scalise in a vote on the House floor -- despite the fact that Jordan plans to vote for Scalise on the floor and is encouraging his colleagues to do the same, multiple sources told ABC News.

"I think it's important to come together and I've offered to nominate, to nominate Steve on the House floor," Jordan told ABC News.

Jordan's message to the holdouts: It's time to come together.

"It's a critical time for the House of Representatives to get back in session to have a Speaker of the House," Jordan said, bringing up the war in Israel. "It's important we're back functioning as the House of Representatives. We need a Speaker and Steve is the guy for that."

Still, Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, who supported Jordan, was noncommittal when pressed by ABC News' Rachel Scott about how she would vote.

"Are you going to support Scalise?" Scott asked.

"We will see you at 3 p.m.," Luna replied.

When Scott pointed out, "That's not a yes," Luna reiterated, "We'll see you at 3 p.m."

Scalise backers agreed that it's possible the Louisiana Republican doesn't have the votes he needs.

"I would've wanted to hear a very clear, 'Let's get behind the winner.' I didn't quite hear that today," said Rep. Don Bacon.

Bacon said that the conference has "the same problem" securing enough votes for a speakership, noting that there are "eight proven people that are not loyal to the team at all, only to themselves" -- a reference to the eight Republicans who joined Democrats in voting to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

"I just hope Steve can make sure he can count up 217 votes before going on the floor," Bacon added.

Shortly after the vote, Rep. Kevin Hern, R-Okla., announced that he is running for House majority leader, gunning for the vacancy created by Scalise winning the nomination for speaker. Hern had flirted with running for speaker and is the chairman of the GOP's largest conference, the Republican Study Committee.

One GOP representative, Max Miller, said he will still vote for Jordan, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump in his speakership bid, on the floor. If other members join Miller, the vote on the floor could take several rounds, potentially similar to what McCarthy faced in January.

ABC News' John Parkinson, Mariam Khan, Lalee Ibssa and Katherine Faulders contributed to this report.