Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia announced his intention to run for speaker on Friday, putting him in a temporary two-way contest with House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan.
Several hours after Republicans denied proposed rules changes for how to elect a speaker nominee, Scott was arguing his point of view to colleague House Republicans amid a candidate session that started at 1 p.m. on Friday.
Austin Scott announced his candidacy for Speaker of the House on platform X, formerly known as Twitter. He wrote on social media that they were in Washington to pass laws and that he wanted to be the leader of a House that served the interests of the American people.
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
On Friday, Ohio Representative Jim Jordan defeated Austin Scott, who entered the contest for House Speaker when House Majority Leader Steve Scalise withdrew.
Whether Scott would keep going to challenge Jordan wasn’t immediately clear.
While speaking with reporters, Austin Scott referred to Jordan as his “good friend” and said that he wasn’t sure he wanted to serve as the speaker of the House.
Scott claimed that while the House ought to be operating properly at the moment, it isn’t.
He continued by saying that if the GOP wanted to hold the majority, they had to behave like it.
Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Oklahoma, the head of the Space, House Science, and Technology Committee, announced that he would propose Austin Scott as speaker.
The Georgia Republican claimed that, more so than who is the speaker, he and his colleagues worry more about the GOP conference and them carrying out their duties.
After House GOP members denied a proposal to alter the rules in an effort to prevent a contentious floor confrontation, a contender just needs 111 votes to win the nomination. A nominee is required to receive 217 votes in order to prevail on the House floor.
Although there are sufficient Republicans who are opposed to or apprehensive of a Jordan speakership to prevent him from obtaining the 217 votes required on the floor, he is expressing confidence that he will achieve the much simpler simple majority requirement on Friday and become the conference’s choice for speaker.
“I believe I can bring the conference together. I believe I can go explain to the nation what we’re achieving and why it matters,” he said to reporters, saying that he feels “assured” going into the vote by secret ballot.
The outcome of the vote could provide insight into how well party unity efforts are working. It’s a good sign if Jordin or Scott receive a sizable amount of votes, but if the votes are distributed fairly, there is probably still a lot of work left to be done to discover a strong nominee.
Scott asserted that he was less concerned with the Speaker’s identity and more concerned with the conference’s performance. He continued by saying he had no thoughts of doing this when he awoke that morning.
He went on to say that he thought that if Republicans were going to hold the majority of people, they had to act morally, and at the time, they weren’t.
If the Ohioan competed for speaker, Scott, a member of the Armed Services panel, has declared he would cast his vote against Jordan.
A person with knowledge of the matter claims that some defense hawks are worried about possible Pentagon spending reductions if Jordan were in control.
Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, declined to defend Jordan when asked in an interview.
However, several Republicans were still concerned that, even with unified Democratic opposition, neither candidate could win the majority vote on the House floor. Republicans might have to work together with Democrats to develop a consensus candidate, according to Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon, if the internal GOP struggle continues for a significant amount of time.
A Look At Austin Scott’s Career
After earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Georgia, Scott spent 20 years overseeing and running an insurance brokerage firm. He began his career in politics in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1997 before being selected to serve in Congress in 2011.
Austin Scott is a member of the House Agriculture, House Armed Services, and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He represents Georgia’s 8th Congressional District.