House Majority Leader Steve Scalise has risen through the ranks of leadership during his time in Congress. Now that Kevin McCarthy has been ousted from House speakership, the Louisiana Republican hopes to be elected to the post.
Scalise’s pitch: He wrote a letter to colleagues asking for their support in the speaker’s race, referring to a shooting in 2017 that left him seriously wounded, with a grueling, monthslong recovery process.
“I firmly believe this conference is a family. When I was shot in 2017, it was members of this conference who saved my life on that field,” he said. Scalise was shot by a gunman who opened fire as congressional Republicans were practicing for an annual charity baseball game.
“I love this country, and I believe we were sent here to come together and solve the immense challenges we face. As I face new challenges, I feel even more strongly about that today.”
Scalise’s record: Scalise was elected to Congress in 2008. In the position of House majority leader, he oversees the House floor and scheduled legislation for votes. Before he became majority leader, Scalise served as House GOP whip, a role focused on vote counting and ensuring support for key party priorities. He supported objections to electoral college results when Congress met to certify Joe Biden’s presidential win on January 6, 2021.
Scalise’s health: In August, Scalise announced that he had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which he described as “a very treatable blood cancer.” In September, Scalise told reporters that in response to treatment, his cancer “has dropped dramatically.”
Criticism: In 2014, Scalise faced intense blowback for having given a speech in 2002 to a White supremacist group founded by former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke. Scalise apologized and said in a statement that speaking to the group “was a mistake I regret, and I emphatically oppose the divisive racial and religious views groups like these hold.”