Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, another Republican, may have narrowly won his party’s nomination for speaker on Wednesday, but he still faces an uphill battle to secure the 217 votes he needs to win the leadership post.
Mr. Scalise delayed a vote in the House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon in an attempt to win over some of his remaining supporters who said they were either undecided whether to back him or would reject it. He faces a tough road ahead, in part because the lopsided Republican conference includes so many different factions — some overlapping, some not — that it makes it difficult for any one person to rally.
In fact, it seemed that the resistance against the oratory of Mr. Scalise has risen, and lawmakers recently declared on Wednesday night that they are irrevocably opposed to voting for him.
Many of those who argue against Mr. Scalisea do not fall into any particular category. Others may prove impossible to conquer completely.
The eight lawmakers who voted to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy overwhelmingly backed Mr. Scalise’s candidacy. But the nomination of Mr. Scalise has unlocked a new group of dissidents. If all Democrats are present and voting during the Speaker’s vote, Mr. Scalise can only lose four Republican votes.
Here is a broad overview of factions that have not yet been sold on Mr. Scalise.
These are the main conservative MPs who are close to Mr. McCarthy and are still furious that he was ousted, including Reps. Carlos Gimenez of Florida, Mike Lawler of New York and Lloyd Smucker of Pennsylvania. Mr. Gimenez suggested to reporters that he intended to vote for Mr. McCarthy in the House, and Mr. Lawler said in an interview with CNN that he has not yet decided who he will vote for.
A few hours after the vote, Mr. Smucker wrote on X that the Republican conference was “broken” and that there was no point in ousting Mr. McCarthy, and then turn around and promote those immediately below him to leadership. He urged his colleagues to chart a different path forward, adding, “In the meantime, I plan to vote for Jim Jordan on the floor.”
Mr. McCarthy and Mr. The Scalises have a frosty relationship, which makes the prospect of shifting their allegiance to the former speaker’s closest allies all the more awkward.
A number of members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus who supported Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the group’s co-founder, said they would either continue to vote for Mr. Jordan in the House, or at least continue to oppose Mr. Scalise.
Many of them said they were worried that Mr. Scalise might try to push through another short-term spending bill to avert a shutdown in mid-November. Presenting such a measure was the last move of Mr. McCarthy as the speaker that right-wing Republicans called the final straw for his ouster.
“I personally let Scalise know that he does not have my vote in the speech because he has not articulated a viable plan to avoid the omnibus,” Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky wrote on X, using the term for a single bill that funds the entire government.
These representatives include Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Bob Good of Virginia.
Other conservatives who have long sought fundamental changes in the way the House operates complained that Mr. Scalise was unwilling to embrace a new way of doing business.
Texas Representative Chip Roy, an influential conservative who led a bloc of lawmakers who opposed Mr. McCarthy for president in January, said he was “not pleased” with Mr Scalise’s swift rejection of his bid on Wednesday to change the party’s internal rules for appointing speakers. And Texas Rep. Michael Cloud said the Louisiana Republican tried to rush his election to the floor, calling it “rude.”
Mr. Scalise appeared to have defeated one hard-right, Representative Anna Paulina Luna of Florida, on Wednesday night. She came out of a meeting with the Louisiana Republican saying she would vote for him after being assured he would prioritize issues like impeaching President Biden and defunding the special counsel’s office investigating former President Donald J. Trump.
But in a reflection of the difficulty of the task before Mr. Scalise, Ms. Luna softened her support hours later, and on Thursday afternoon, after Mr. Trump weighed in against Mr. Scalise, she said on X that she would not vote for him after all.
“There is no consensus candidate for speaker,” she wrote. “We have to stay in Washington until we figure this out.”
Then there are Republicans with their own, unique grievances. One of them is Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, a former prosecutor who has said he wants the next speaker to make clear that the 2020 presidential election was not stolen from former President Donald J. Trump and pledge that the next speaker will ensure deep cuts in federal spending.
During closed-door discussions ahead of Wednesday’s nomination vote, Mr. Buck asked both Mr. Scalise and Mr. Jordan directly who had won the 2020 election, and neither wanted to make it clear that it was Mr. Biden.
Representative George Santos of New York, who originally supported Mr. Jordan for speaker, announced on X around 10pm Wednesday night that he had “not yet heard from the nominee for president” and that he had “come to the conclusion that my VOTE is not important to him.”
“I now declare that ANYONE other than Scalise and come hell or high water I will not change my mind,” wrote Mr Santos, who has been indicted on a range of charges including money laundering, wire fraud and stealing the identity and credit card information of his campaign donors.
The group also includes Representative Nancy Mays of South Carolina, one of eight Republicans who voted to remove Mr. McCarthy. She appeared at a private meeting of House Republicans on Tuesday night wearing a tank top emblazoned with a scarlet “A” to represent what she said was being marginalized because of her voice.
Another holdout is Representative Victoria Spartz of Indiana, who previously resigned from Congress. In a statement earlier this month, she called Washington a “circus” for which she would not sacrifice time away from her children, adding that “I cannot save this republic alone.”
Ms. Spartz said she voted “present” during the closed race for the GOP nomination and did not know how she would vote in the House.