Where will Florida’s delegation fall on the Speaker vote?
Steve Scalise. Image via AP.

Members like Matt Gaetz favored Jim Jordan, but will vote Steve Scalise on the floor.

Most House Republicans have committed to supporting Majority Leader Steve Scalise for Speaker. But he’s reportedly scrambling to bring in the full 217 votes needed to win on the floor.

As always, several Florida members are playing a major part in deliberations.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, less than two weeks after leading the first successful ouster of a Speaker ever with Kevin McCarthy, seems reluctant to rock the boat further. Gaetz voted for U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio in conference, but after Scalise won, Gaetz is following his mentor’s lead and backing the Majority Leader.

“We need the most conservative Speaker who can win,” Gaetz posted on X. “Two men ran — I voted for Jordan. Scalise beat him by 7 votes. Now, Jordan is whipping votes for Scalise.”

U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna had publicly endorsed Jordan earlier this week, but said after a meeting with Scalise, she initially said she would support him on the floor.

However, when it became clear to her after a midday Republican conference meeting that there was no consensus candidate, she posted that she would not vote Scalise, and called for a delay in the vote.

“There is no consensus candidate for Speaker,” she posted. “We need to stay in Washington till we figure this out. I will no longer be voting for Scalise. I don’t even think we make it to the floor.”

She did say earlier she trusted Scalise to allow the House Oversight Committee authority to defund a Special Counsel investigation of Donald Trump, vote on impeaching President Joe Biden and issue a subpoena for the President’s son, Hunter, to testify to Congress, all demands she had for a Speaker choice.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Carlos Giménez remains firmly in the “OK” camp, “Only Kevin.” The Miami-Dade Republican told Fox News that even though McCarthy has asked not to be nominated, he will cast his vote for the former Speaker on the first ballot.

“He said, please don’t nominate him,” Giménez said. “That doesn’t mean, ‘Please don’t vote for me.’”

Meanwhile, several other members of the delegation endorsed Jordan ahead of a conference vote, but have not made clear if they will now roll with Scalise.

U.S. Rep. Cory Mills, a Winter Park Republican, notably missed the conference vote as he led a private rescue mission to evacuate Americans from Israel.

U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican, initially supported nominating Trump for Speaker. But after Trump endorsed Jordan, Steube followed suit. He hasn’t issued any public statements since Scalise won the conference vote.

U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz, a St. Augustine Beach Republican, endorsed Jordan but intends to follow the conference’s lead. He made clear he doesn’t want another protracted battle paralyzing the House.

America has far greater issues and threats to be dealing with right now — terrorism, socialism, Communist China, and a wide open border to name a few,” Waltz posted in X. “I’ll be joining Jim Jordan to vote for Steve Scalise on the House floor. We must come together and move forward.”

U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds, a Naples Republican, also backed Jordan early but has not said where he will go now.

Donalds, for his part, told reporters ahead of the conference vote he does want to see a consensus form around a candidate. But he also said it’s worth evaluating a full shake-up.

“With all that’s gone in this Congress, it might be time for a new look at leadership,” he said. “Let’s just be honest. We wouldn’t be at this place if our leadership was batting 1.000.”

Notably, Mills, Steube and Waltz all voted with the conference when McCarthy became Speaker, and held for 15 ballots. Luna initially voted for alternative choices but ultimately supported McCarthy.

Donalds supported McCarthy, but after multiple ballots became a candidate himself for the pos. He then ultimately voted McCarthy after helping strike a deal about rules. Gaetz never supported McCarthy.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].

One comment

  • Sonja Fitch

    October 13, 2023 at 3:04 am

    Gaetz is an accused pedophile! Gaetz is a small town rich boy! Folks in SW Florida get this man out of politics . The people in the SW. Florida are good law abiding citizens that respect common good!

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