As the House of Representatives operates without a fully functioning speaker, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) and fellow Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) competed to get their party’s nomination for the role after Kevin McCarthy was ousted as speaker last week through a motion to vacate.

On Wednesday afternoon, House Republicans voted 113-99 to nominate Scalise in a secret ballot.

Both lawmakers wrote separate letters to their fellow Republicans, seeking their support while vowing to strengthen the party’s attempts to fight the Biden administration’s policies, in addition to promoting the conservative agenda.

Jordan heads the House Judiciary Committee and was the first one to announce that he would be running for speaker. Addressing journalists on Capitol Hill, he said he was confident about his bid because House Republicans have been supportive of his decision. The Republican conference, he said, is deeply divided and the new speaker would need to prioritize the restoration of unity.

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“I’ve had a lot of people reach out to us, asking me to do it, because they think we can. We’ll see if that happens, but I think I can,” he said.

In a letter to his fellow Republican lawmakers written Wednesday, he lauded the House Republicans’ work but added that more needs to be done.

“We are at a critical crossroads in our nation’s history. Now is the time for our Republican conference to come together to keep our promises to Americans. The problems we face are challenging, but they are not insurmountable. We can focus on the changes that improve the country and unite us in offering real solutions. But no matter what we do, we must do it together as a conference. I respectfully ask for your support for Speaker of the House of Representatives,” he wrote.

Scalise presented himself as a peacemaker, reminding his colleagues that he has a “proven track record” of forging agreement among the different factions of the Republican party.

“As I face new challenges, I feel even more strongly about that today,” he wrote in a letter announcing his bid for speaker. “I know the coming weeks ahead will be some of the most arduous times we will face together, but this Conference is worth fighting for — we cannot lose sight of our shared mission. Now, more than ever, we must mend the deep wounds that exist within our Conference and focus on our objectives so we can get back to work for the millions of people who are counting on us,” he said.

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