Republican Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia, who entered the race for House speaker after House Majority Leader Steve Scalise dropped out, lost the GOP’s nomination to Rep.
Jim Jordan of Ohio in a 124-81 vote Friday.
After the vote, Scott told CNN he was dropping out of the race and endorsing Jordan.
“We had the vote; Jim Jordan won the vote. The party should unite behind the person who wins the vote,” he said.
Scott announced his intentions for the speakership in a Friday post on X, formerly known as Twitter: “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.”
Scott, an ally of ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy, told CNN he decided to run because “we have to do the right thing the right way. That’s something that we as a conference are not doing right now.”
“When I woke up this morning, I had no intentions of doing this. It took me a long time to even get to my wife to tell her to call all our friends and be in prayer because we haven’t done any preparation or any whipping or anything for this,” he said Friday.
Scott said Rep. Frank Lucas was going nominate him in the GOP conference meeting.
The seven-term representative told CNN’s Manu Raju on Thursday that the GOP’s inability to elect a new speaker “makes us look like a bunch of idiots.”
“We’ve got a very small group of people that they have to have everything their way. We had a group that sabotaged Speaker McCarthy and now we’ve had a group that sabotaged Steve Scalise, both of them great people,” he said.
Scott and Jordan were vying for the speaker’s gavel after McCarthy was ousted from the role this month and declined to run again. Scalise, whom the GOP conference voted to nominate over Jordan, dropped out of the race Thursday after House Republicans failed to coalesce behind him.
House Republicans picked Jordan, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, as their speaker nominee Friday afternoon, though it is unclear whether the Ohio Republican can win enough support to secure the gavel in a full House vote.
Scott has been a vocal defender of McCarthy, criticizing the Republicans who voted to remove the California Republican as speaker. Earlier this month, the Georgia lawmaker said Republican leadership “will have to decide to either hold these members accountable or lose the faith of the rest of the conference.”
“The eight Republicans who supported Joe Biden and the Democrats’ desire to remove Kevin McCarthy as Speaker are nothing more than grifters who have handed control of the House to the Democratic Party in the name of their own glory and fundraising,” he said in a statement.
After receiving a bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Georgia, Scott spent 20 years owning and operating an insurance brokerage firm. He began his political career in the Georgia House of Representatives in 1997, where he served until being elected to Congress in 2011.
Scott, who represents Georgia’s 8th Congressional District, serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Armed Services Committee and the House Agriculture Committee.