Top Democrat Floats Potential Candidates For Speaker
Majority Whip James E. Clyburn addresses the media during a press conference on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022.
(Tracy Glantz/The State/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

With discussions now underway about the next House speaker, a top Democrat offered a couple names from among his GOP peers who could take on the role.

The assistant Democratic leader in the House, Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), shared a brief list during an appearance on MSNBC, less than a day after the chamber ousted Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) from his perch as speaker.

He mentioned House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), who announced on Wednesday his intent to run for speaker following reports saying he was lobbying for support for a bid.

“There are people on both sides that could do this. I think that their leader … I know he’s having some health problems, but Steve Scalise is a great guy,” Clyburn said.

Scalise has been receiving treatment for blood cancer. Last week, Scalise told reporters that the cancer has “dropped dramatically” because of chemotherapy.

Clyburn also suggested Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), who is chairman of the House Rules Committee.

“I think that Cole would be a sort of — the kind of tone that we would like to see,” Clyburn said.

Clyburn ultimately reasoned that he will “let” Republicans “handle their business and we’re going to handle ours and hopefully they do something that will make the American people pleased with our activities here in Washington.”


The congressman noted that he believes the Democrats have viable candidates, too, to serve as speaker, “most especially” Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY).

The House voted 216-210 on Tuesday to remove McCarthy as speaker, a role he held since January. Eight Republicans joined with Democrats to vote against McCarthy, citing frustrations with his leadership: Matt Gaetz (FL), Andy Biggs (AZ), Ken Buck (CO), Eli Crane (AZ), Bob Good (VA), Matt Rosendale (MT), Tim Burchett (TN), and Nancy Mace (SC).

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) became temporary speaker as lawmakers hash out who will run for the gavel. A simple majority will be needed to secure victory. The speaker does not have to be a sitting member of the House, according to the Constitution, and there has been some chatter about nominating former President Donald Trump.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said on Wednesday he will run for speaker, setting up a clash with Scalise.

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