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NEWS | Speaker Elections Commence on Capitol Hill

Stay tuned as NSBA monitors action in the House.

*As of 3:00 p.m. Eastern, Oct. 17, 2023.

UPDATE | Rep. Jim Jordan couldn’t muster enough votes to be elected speaker on his first try Tuesday, as 20 GOP lawmakers voted for someone other than the Ohio Republican. But he’s expected to keep going and try to woo holdouts as former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., did in January during his epic 15-round, four-day floor battle.

*As of 4:30 p.m. Eastern, Oct. 13, 2023.

UPDATE | After Rep. Scalise failed to garner votes following his nomination, the GOP has elected House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) as speaker designate.

*As of 1:30 p.m. Eastern, Oct. 11, 2023.

UPDATE | House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) won the GOP nomination for speaker of the House on Wednesday, setting the stage for a floor vote that will require him to secure 217 votes.

*As of 12:15 p.m. Eastern, Oct. 11, 2023.

TODAY | House Republicans will meet in a closed-door Conference meeting to nominate a candidate for the upcoming Speakership election.

The declared candidates, Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), both face significant hurdles on their path to the gavel. Neither is currently believed to hold a strong edge over the other; staff sources on Capitol Hill close to NSBA indicate Scalise is favored, however, balloting has not commenced at this time.

Scalise is viewed as the more establishment candidate, despite his conservative bona fides, and, Jordan - who served as the first Chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, is remembered by many of his fellow House Republicans as a conservative firebrand, as well as for ultimately contributing to the retirement of former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).

Similar to primary and general elections, today’s vote is only the first step in seating a new Speaker: the nominee will have to also survive a full vote on the House floor.

While this floor vote is generally considered a formality, given the razor-thin margins of the parties persisting since the beginning of this Congress, this vote has become a congressional gauntlet – the same vote that took former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) 15 ballots to run in Jan.

For the headache this once-benign vote is now causing by its procedural exploitation of factions in the formal majority and minority parties, the Republican Conference debated an internal rules' change that could help minimize the number of full House votes needed to elect a new Speaker.

To win the Republican nomination under the now-failed proposed rule change, a candidate would have had to amass 217 votes - enough to win the full floor vote. Although this change would have expedited the final election, analysts agree this move was risky. This is because it ran the risk of delaying the internal Republican election, and the Conference relies on a secret ballot, meaning no candidate truly knows who they need to win over.

NSBA is monitoring the election closely and looks forward to working with the new Speaker to pursue a robust small-business legislative agenda.


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