Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 2 Republican, may have narrowly won his party’s nomination for speaker on Wednesday, but he is still facing an uphill battle to secure the 217 votes he needs to win the leadership post.
Mr. Scalise postponed a vote on the House floor Wednesday afternoon in an effort to win over some of the remaining holdouts who have said they are either undecided on whether to support him, or will refuse to. He has a difficult path ahead of him, in part because the fractious Republican conference includes so many different factions — some overlapping and some not — that make it difficult for any one person to corral.
In fact, resistance against Mr. Scalise’s speakership appeared to have grown, with lawmakers newly declaring on Wednesday evening that they were irrevocably opposed to voting for him.
Many of the holdouts against Mr. Scalise do not fall neatly into any specific category. Others may prove impossible to win over altogether.
The eight lawmakers who voted to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy have largely lined up behind Mr. Scalise’s candidacy. But Mr. Scalise’s nomination has unlocked a new group of dissidents. If all Democrats are present and voting during the vote of speaker, Mr. Scalise can only lose four Republican votes.
Here’s a broad overview of the factions not yet sold on Mr. Scalise.
The McCarthy loyalists
These are mainstream conservative lawmakers who are close to Mr. McCarthy and are still furious that he was ousted, including Representatives Carlos Gimenez of Florida, Mike Lawler of New York, and Lloyd Smucker of Pennsylvania. Mr. Gimenez suggested to reporters that he intends to vote for Mr. McCarthy on the House floor, and Mr. Lawler told CNN in an interview that he had not yet decided who he would vote for.
Hours after the vote, Mr. Smucker wrote on X that the Republican conference was “broken,” and it did not make sense to oust Mr. McCarthy and then turn around and promote those immediately underneath him in leadership. He urged his colleagues to chart a different path forward, adding, “In the meantime, I plan to vote for Jim Jordan on the floor.”
Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Scalise have an icy relationship, making the prospect of switching their allegiance even more unpalatable to the former speaker’s closest allies.
A number of members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus who backed Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, a co-founder of the group, have said that they will either continue to vote for Mr. Jordan on the House floor, or at least continue to oppose Mr. Scalise.
Many of them have said that they are concerned that Mr. Scalise could try to force through another short-term spending bill to avert a shutdown in mid-November. Bringing up such a measure was Mr. McCarthy’s final move as speaker that right-wing Republicans called the final straw for his ouster.
“I let Scalise know in person that he doesn’t have my vote on the floor, because he has not articulated a viable plan for avoiding an omnibus,” Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky wrote on X, using the term for a single bill that funds the entire government.
These holdouts include Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Lauren Boebert of Colorado, and Bob Good of Virginia.
Still other conservatives who have long demanded fundamental changes in the way the House operates complained that Mr. Scalise appeared unwilling to accept a new way of doing business.
Representative Chip Roy of Texas, an influential conservative who led the bloc of lawmakers who opposed Mr. McCarthy’s speakership bid in January, said he was “not happy” with how Mr. Scalise quickly shot down his bid on Wednesday to change the party’s internal rules for nominating a speaker. And Representative Michael Cloud of Texas said the Louisiana Republican had tried to rush his election on the floor, calling it “underhanded.”
Mr. Scalise appeared on Wednesday evening to have won over one hard-right holdout, Representative Anna Paulina Luna of Florida. She emerged from a meeting with the Louisiana Republican saying she would vote for him after being assured that he would prioritize issues like impeaching President Biden and defunding the office of the special prosecutor investigating former President Donald J. Trump.
But in a reflection of the difficulty of the task ahead of Mr. Scalise, Ms. Luna tempered her endorsement hours later, and on Thursday afternoon said on X that she would not vote for Mr. Scalise after all.
“There is no consensus candidate for speaker,” she wrote. “We need to stay in Washington till we figure this out.”
The wild cards
Then there are the Republicans with their own, singular grievances. One of them is Representative Ken Buck of Colorado, a former prosecutor who has said he wants the next speaker to clearly state that the 2020 presidential election was not stolen from former President Donald J. Trump and a commitment that the next speaker will secure deep cuts in federal spending.
During closed-door discussions in the run-up to the nomination vote on Wednesday, Mr. Buck directly asked both Mr. Scalise and Mr. Jordan who won the 2020 election, and neither would flatly state that it was Mr. Biden.
Representative George Santos of New York, who had originally supported Mr. Jordan for speaker, announced on X around 10 p.m. on Wednesday night that he had “yet to hear from the Speaker-Designate” and had “come to the conclusion that my VOTE doesn’t matter to him.”
“I’m now declaring I’m an ANYONE but Scalise and come hell or high water I won’t change my mind,” wrote Mr. Santos, who has been indicted on a litany of charges including money laundering, wire fraud, and stealing the identities and credit card details of donors to his campaign.
The group also includes Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina, one of the eight Republicans who voted to oust Mr. McCarthy. She showed up to a private meeting of House Republicans on Tuesday night wearing a tank top emblazoned with a scarlet letter “A,” to represent how she said she was being marginalized for her vote.
Another holdout is Representative Victoria Spartz of Indiana, who has previously floated resigning from Congress. In a statement earlier this month, she called Washington a “circus” for which she would not sacrifice her time away from her children, adding that “I cannot save this republic alone.”
Ms. Spartz said she voted “present” during the closed-door G.O.P. nominating contest and did not know how she would vote on the House floor.