House Republicans could select their new candidate for speaker in a vote Friday afternoon after huddling for several hours behind closed doors.
A senior GOP aide told Fox News Digital that Republicans will vote on their pick for the speaker’s gavel after a 1 p.m. candidate forum.
GOP lawmakers started the day discussing whether the threshold to pick a nominee for speaker should be raised to 217 — a House-wide majority. Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., won a simple majority of the conference on Wednesday, but had dropped out of the race by Thursday over growing public opposition.
“I think we’ll have a vote in conference,” Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Calif., told reporters on Friday. He added that he believes it is highly unlikely a House-wide vote will happen Friday.
Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern, R-Okla., similarly predicted a House GOP vote in conference on Friday.
“We’ll go straight to the vote from [the candidate forum],” Hern told reporters. He said the vote would be conducted via secret ballot, but that candidates are able to call for a roll call vote if they wanted one.
The current front-runner is Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, though it’s unclear if moderates and Republicans in swing districts could feel comfortable getting behind a lawmaker who made his name as a GOP bomb-thrower.
But in a surprise move after Republicans’ first conference meeting on Friday, Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., launched his own bid for the gavel.
“I have filed to be Speaker of the House. We are in Washington to legislate, and I want to lead a House that functions in the best interest of the American people,” Scott wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
And while it’s not clear if a House-wide vote will happen soon — a GOP nominee for speaker will need 217 votes to win the gavel without Democratic support — House Democrats are racing to unite for a possible move Friday afternoon, according to an email obtained by Fox News Digital.
“Thank you for your patience with the floor schedule (or lack thereof) this week. As you have heard from our office, we expect that the Republicans may go to the floor for a vote on Speaker of the House as early as this afternoon,” Minority Whip Katherine Clark’s office sent to Democrats on Friday.
“We need all Members here and voting. No Member should leave DC at this time.”