Rep. Steve Scalise Announces Run for Speaker, Enters as a Top Contender

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) is joining the race for Speaker of the House, he announced Wednesday.

The top-ranking House Republican behind temporary Speaker Pro Tem Patrick McHenry (R-NC) tweeted it is with “a strong sense of responsibility and purpose” that he seeks the nomination.

The affable Louisianan is widely liked by his colleagues and may enter the race as the frontrunner.

He is perhaps best known due to his injuries sustained after being shot at a practice for a Republican baseball team in 2017. Scalise endured a long absence from Congress while recovering and continues to suffer related health issues.

Scalise served as the Republican Whip for almost a decade and is the former Chairman of the Republican Conservative Committee (RSC), the largest conservative bloc in the House. Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK), current RSC chair, is also a likely candidate.

Scalise’s rise in the House Republican Conference has followed behind Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA), ouster Tuesday from the top slot in the House. The two have had a friendly public relationship that was never intimate.

McCarthy turned to close friends and allies Rep. Garrett Graves (R-LA) and McHenry during tough fights including the recent spending battle instead of his nominal top deputies Scalise and Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN).

That relatively cool relationship with McCarthy might work in Scalise’s favor in the race.

Scalise is suffering additional health issues, recently announcing a cancer diagnosis.

His ongoing health and cancer treatment may be a factor in the minds of some of his colleagues, although many of his colleagues praised his entry into the race.

Follow Bradley Jaye on Twitter at @BradleyAJaye.

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