Senate Republicans divided over House Speaker’s race

October 9, 2023

The race for a new Speaker of the House is reportedly dividing Republicans in the Senate between traditional and MAGA-aligned conservatives.

House Republicans were set to meet behind closed doors Monday to discuss where their conference goes next after the unprecedented ousting of Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from the Speakership. An internal election among House Republicans is set for Wednesday, but so far no formal vote to elect a new Speaker has been scheduled.

According to The Hill, many mainstream GOP Senators are quietly rooting for House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) over House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-OH), and for the vote to happen quickly to quell voters’ concerns about the Republican party’s ability to govern.

Jordan has a reputation for being a partisan firebrand who currently chairs not just the Judiciary Committee but also the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government, which he helped create to investigate what he’s called “this weaponization of the DOJ against the American people.”

During a heated Judiciary hearing last month, Attorney General Merrick Garland pushed back against accusations by Jordan and other Republicans of political bias in the Department of Justice.

According to reports, many Republican Senators are also leery of the House impeachment inquiry into President Biden that Jordan is leading along with House Oversight and Accountability Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY), warning that impeachment is a “political loser” ahead of the 2024 Presidential election.

One Republican Senator, speaking to The Hill on the condition of anonymity, voiced concern that the growing power of conservatives in the House could embolden Senate hardliners, making it more difficult to get things done in Congress.

On the other hand, Senate Republicans who’ve aligned with former President Trump reportedly favor Jordan. 

Trump briefly flirted with the idea of running for Speaker but has instead thrown his endorsement behind Jordan, declaring Friday on his platform Truth Social that the Ohio Representative “will be a GREAT Speaker of the House, & has my Complete & Total Endorsement!”

Adding his own endorsement of Jordan to Trump’s, Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) said Friday, “Jim Jordan is a fighter that doesn’t back down, and that’s what we need to secure the border and stop Joe Biden’s inflation bomb agenda.”

Scott Jennings, a former campaign adviser to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), cautioned that House Republicans need to avoid shaking voters’ confidence in electing the party to the White House and Congressional majorities in 2024. The aim, he said, should be to sway voters from thinking the current, GOP-led House is in “constant chaos.” 

“While most people don’t really care who the Speaker of the House is they do care about whether the party itself is acting in a reasonable and thoughtful manner,” said Jennings.

Read more exclusive news from Political IQ.

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