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Hours before they are supposed to move forward with a candidate for speaker, House Republicans have no idea who will emerge as their next leader. 

They heard from the two men who have come forward to try to replace Kevin McCarthy as speaker Tuesday evening in a question-and-answer forum.

Both Jim Jordan, who chairs the powerful House Judiciary Committee, and Steve Scalise, the House’s number two Republican, have rounded up endorsements from rank-and-file members. 

The candidates breathed a sigh of relief after Kevin McCarthy discouraged his allies from throwing his name into the hat – which would have further complicated the race. 

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., confirmed to DailyMail.com he had heard from the former speaker asking him not to nominate McCarthy. 

‘He wanted to let this process play out without him in it, see if one of these candidates can get to consensus,’ he said. ‘I don’t think they will.’ 

Majority Leader Steve Scalise, the House’s number two Republican, is running for the speakership  

Rep. Jim Jordan, chair of the powerful Judiciary Committee, is running against Scalise for the speakership 

He said he didn’t think either candidate would become the next speaker. ‘I don’t think we’ve heard from the speaker yet.’ 

Republicans must first vote on a secret ballot internally among themselves. That will happen Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. 

Whichever candidate gets the majority within the conference then must go against the Democratic candidate, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, on the House floor to be elected speaker. 

With only a four-vote majority, Republicans must be nearly unanimous to push their candidate through the House.  

Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., also left the meeting not confident the House would get a speaker tomorrow. ‘It’s going to take more than one day to get this done.’  

But Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., one of the eight Republicans who voted with McCarthy to oust Democrats last week, had a more optimistic outlook. 

‘I think so,’ he told DailyMail.com when asked if he thought either candidate could get to a majority on the House floor tomorrow. He declined to say who he supported. 

Scalise, who is battling blood cancer on top of running for speaker, left the meeting and said he pitched himself as a ‘unifier’ within the conference. ‘People want to see us get back on track,’ he said. 

Scalise, as a current member of the GOP leadership team, has seemingly garnered more traction among establishment Republicans while Jordan is popular with the conference’s right wing. 

A sizable number of Jordan supporters have not committed to supporting Scalise if he ends up being the candidate who gets the most vote within the conference. 

Rep. Dan Bishop, a McCarthy foe who threatened to support ousting him but ultimately didn’t, now supports Jordan. He didn’t rule out supporting Scalise but said he didn’t believe the majority leader had a ‘crystal clear plan’ to lead the conference through a tough spending battle. 

‘Some of [my concerns] with Scalise are so obvious that I’m not going to say it,’ Bishop told DailyMail.com. ‘But do we really think this institution works so well that we should just move up the next guy?’

‘If you think that Congress and Republicans in Congress have done a fantastic job with 20 years, then it would make sense,’ said Bishop. ‘If you think there’s been shortcomings, then maybe not.’ 

Both Scalise and Jordan admitted that they would need to put a continuing resolution (CR) – a bill to extend government funding at FY 2023 levels and avert a government shutdown while they hash out a longer term spending plan. 

CRs are widely disliked – particularly with the right wing flank and were what prompted McCarthy’s ouster. 

Kevin McCarthy told allies not to nominate him for the speakership  

But one emerging consensus among Republicans was they wanted to rectify a lack of transparency and honesty they found under McCarthy’s leadership. 

‘We have been hearing of nothing but backroom deals and promises that have been made then supposedly broke,’ said Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla. She said Jordan was the only candidate who said he would not honor any backroom promises. 

She also predicted the speaker’s race could drag on indefinitely. 

‘I don’t know if by the end of tomorrow we will have a speaker – I don’t know if by the end of the week we will have a speaker,’ she told reporters. ‘I just don’t think that there is a candidate at this point in time who has a lion’s share of the support.’ 

And without an elected House speaker, the lower chamber cannot move on to other legislative priorities – namely passing spending legislation to avert a government shutdown next month, and aid to replenish Israel’s defense capabilities amid attacks from Hamas

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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