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GOP Reps Already Have a Backup Plan Should McCarthy Fail, But It's Not Perfect

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A group of GOP representatives approached House Republican Whip Steve Scalise, telling him he should “be ready” for the Speaker of the House bid, should Kevin McCarthy fail to nail down enough votes, according to Politico.

The lawmakers spoke with Scalise to discuss the possibility that McCarthy could fall, and they believe he would be a good consensus leader if things do not go McCarthy’s way, GOP lawmakers and aides told Politico.

Over the last month, demands have been laid out for the speakership, and the lawmakers believe Scalise could be a more “palatable” option, according to Politico.

Talk of Scalise taking the speakership from McCarthy could place the lawmaker in a rough position, as he doesn’t want to be seen as an opposition to McCarthy, according to Politico.

If Scalise makes a move toward the position and causes McCarthy to fall, Scalise could be alienated by the GOP conference, further adding to the drama of the House takeover, according to Politico.

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Currently, Scalise has not organized support or announced a potential run, and his office has declined to comment on the matter, according to Politico. In lieu of a comment, Scalise’s office pointed to his public statements where he endorsed McCarthy and said he would never run against him.


So far, Scalise has flown under the radar, with one of his allies saying he is in “listening mode,” according to Politico.“Does he want to be speaker? Absolutely. But is he going to screw Kevin? Absolutely not,” another person close to Scalise told Politico.

Scalise has been a part of the speakership discussion before, as five of the 54 recent Republican statements backing McCarthy made some mention of him, according to Politico.

“Steve Scalise is a dear friend and I thank God every day for his miraculous survival from his attempted murder,” Republican Arkansas Rep. French Hill wrote in one of the statements making reference to Scalise’s near-assassination in 2017. “But, on January 3rd, first or last ballot, I’m committed to our Speaker-elect Kevin McCarthy.”

Alongside McCarthy, Republican Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs announced in November that he will be running for the speakership.

“I think the country wants a different direction from the House of Representatives,” Biggs said in a Newsmax appearance  “It’s a new world, and, yes, I’m going to be nominated for the position of Speaker of the House.”

Scalise did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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