WATCH THE WHIP: Is Scalise the preferred speaker candidate?

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If Republicans can get their act together and maintain a majority in the U.S. House next term, then the Louisiana superstar in its leadership should be promoted to the rank of speaker.

At least that was the suggestion from a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll of GOP voters that was released this month. The survey made waves in Potomacland, where conservative congressman are sorta, kinda decided on who should replace Speaker Paul Ryan, depending on the timing of the internal election and the outcome of the midterm elections and a variety of other factors that point to indecision and hesitation. 

The poll also served as a splash in the face for those stuck in Baton Rouge’s Capitoland — yes, depending on how you look at it, Majority Whip Steve Scalise is still in this thing.

According to the poll, 9 percent of the Republican voters surveyed preferred Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who at times seemed to have the establishment blessing. Scalise, who has been supportive of McCarthy and respectful of the Hill’s pecking order, doubled that figure for an 18 percent showing in the poll. Freedom Caucus Chair Jim Jordan of Ohio came in second with 11 percent.

The numbers may spell problems for McCarthy, who has the second-to-highest gig in the House leadership. Should he run, this will be McCarthy’s second attempt for the big gavel. (An on-air gaffe during a Fox News interview may have doomed his bid to succeed then-Speaker John Boehner in 2015.)

Several of Scalise’s allies have said that the whip would consider running if McCarthy could not garner enough support in preliminary vote counts.

This story was originally published for Weekly subscribers on August 16, 2018. Wish you had read it then? Become a part of our elite community by subscribing today!

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