Georgia Rep to Challenge Jordan for Speaker
WASHINGTON – Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., a member of Congress since 2011, has announced that he is challenging Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio to be the next House speaker.
Scott, whose Georgia district runs down the middle of the state, from just outside Macon to the Florida border, made his intentions known shortly before the House Republican conference gathered Friday afternoon.
“We are in Washington to legislate, and I want to lead a House that functions in the best interest of the American people,” he said.
Scott’s entry into the race is the latest twist in two weeks of startling events on Capitol Hill. Just nine days ago, and for the first time in U.S. history, members of Congress deposed their chamber’s leader.
The GOP conference then narrowly endorsed Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., to be the next speaker, but after concluding he couldn’t get the 217 votes necessary to secure the gavel, he dropped out of the race Thursday night.
Jordan, who had come in second to Scalise in the closed-door vote to pick a nominee earlier in the week, announced his intention to seek the speakership anew early Friday morning, hours before Scott threw his hat in the ring.
Reps. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., Kevin Hern, R-Okla. and Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., are expected to nominate Jordan at Friday’s meeting, while Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla., will nominate Scott.
The Georgia congressman was an ally of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who called the motion to vacate filed by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., “a selfish waste of time” motivated by “the personal spite” of a select few.
Later, he took to social media to lambast the eight Republicans who voted to remove McCarthy, calling them “nothing more than grifters who have handed control of the House to the Democratic Party in the name of their own glory and fundraising.”
In a second post he added, “There is nothing principled about what they did, and Republican leadership will have to decide to either hold these members accountable or lose the faith of the rest of the conference.”
Prior to arriving in Congress, Scott served in the Georgia House of Representatives, having been elected to that seat at the age of 26.
While in the Georgia House, he chaired the Governmental Affairs Committee and served on the Appropriations, Rules, and Ways and Means Committee, where he chaired the Public Policy Subcommittee.
In 2001, Scott became the first Republican in the Georgia House to work with Democrats to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state’s flag.