Republican Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia’s 8th congressional district will challenge House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan for the speakership, he announced Friday.
Scott is a seven-term congressman from Tifton, a township in southern Georgia. He made the announcement on X, now known as Twitter, amid furious negotiations by House Republicans to obtain the necessary 217 votes for any candidate to elect a speaker.
“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,” 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.
— Rep. Austin Scott (@AustinScottGA08) October 13, 2023
Scott’s announcement comes less than one day after the withdrawal of House Majority Leader Steve Scalise from the speakership election. Scalise was nominated for the position by his party on Wednesday in a narrow vote of 113 to 99, but was unable to secure the backing of 217 House Republicans, the number required to elect a speaker on the floor.
“It’s a tough scenario. There are people in there who are honorably trying to get to the right place and there are people in there, as you know, who like to go on the TV and are not necessarily negotiating for anything other than TV time,” Scott told reporters on Friday morning before his announcement. “It makes us look like a bunch of idiots.”
Apart from Jordan and Scalise, Republican Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma’s 1st congressional district and former President Donald Trump, the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, have expressed interest in serving as speaker, with Trump vowing to do so only temporarily. Other House Republicans, meanwhile, have insisted that they will only support former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.