Steve Scalise

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Steve Scalise
File:Steve Scalise official portrait.jpg
House Majority Whip
Assumed office
August 1, 2014
Leader Kevin McCarthy
Preceded by Kevin McCarthy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 1st district
Assumed office
May 3, 2008
Preceded by Bobby Jindal
Member of the Louisiana Senate
from the 9th district
In office
January 14, 2008 – May 6, 2008
Preceded by Ken Hollis
Succeeded by Conrad Appel
Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives
from the 82nd district
In office
January 8, 1996 – January 14, 2008
Preceded by Quentin Dastugue
Succeeded by Cameron Henry
Personal details
Born Stephen Joseph Scalise
(1965-10-06) October 6, 1965 (age 52)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Jennifer Letulle
Children 2
Education Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge (BS)
Website House website
Party website

Stephen Joseph Scalise (/skəˈls/; born October 6, 1965) is the current United States House of Representatives Majority Whip and representative for Louisiana's 1st congressional district, serving since 2008. He is a member of the Republican Party[1][2] and was the chairman of the conservative House Republican Study Committee.[3]

Prior to his congressional tenure, Scalise served for four months in the Louisiana State Senate and twelve years in the Louisiana House of Representatives. On June 19, 2014, Scalise was elected by his Republican colleagues to serve as Majority Whip of the United States House of Representatives. He assumed office on August 1. He is the first Louisianian in the Majority Whip's position since Democrat Hale Boggs of Louisiana's 2nd congressional district held the position from 1962 to 1971. In 2017, Scalise became the dean of the Louisiana Congressional delegation upon the retirement of former senator David Vitter.

On June 14, 2017, Scalise was shot at a practice session for the congressional baseball team in Virginia, and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.[4][5]

Personal life

Scalise was born in New Orleans, one of three children of Alfred Joseph Scalise, a real estate broker who died on October 8, 2015, at the age of 77, and the former Carol Schilleci. His siblings are Glenn and Tara Scalise.[6]

Scalise graduated from Archbishop Rummel High School in Metairie in Jefferson Parish and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, with a major in computer programming and a minor in political science.[7] At Louisiana State University, Scalise was a member of the Acacia Fraternity.[8] He serves on the board of the American Italian Renaissance Foundation, servicing the American Italian Cultural Center. He married Jennifer Ann Scalise (née Letulle) on September 4, 2005, six days after the landfall of Hurricane Katrina.[9] The couple has two children.[10]

Louisiana Legislature

Republican (formerly Democratic) State Representative Quentin D. Dastugue made an unsuccessful bid for Governor of Louisiana in 1995, dropping out before the nonpartisan blanket primary. Scalise was recruited by state Republicans to run for Dastugue's District 82 seat in the Louisiana House of Representatives, winning his election bid.[11] Scalise was re-elected to the seat in 1999 and 2003, serving until 2007.[12] His legislative peers named him to the House Appropriations Committee as the representative of the First Congressional District. Scalise opposed the 2002 Stelly Plan, a proposal by Lake Charles Representative Vic Stelly, since repealed, to reduce certain state sales taxes on food for home consumption and utilities in exchange for higher state income taxes.

Scalise was elected in the October 20, 2007, nonpartisan blanket primary to the District 9 seat in the Louisiana Senate vacated by the term-limited Ken Hollis of Metairie. Scalise received 19,154 votes (61 percent) in a three-way contest. Fellow Republican Polly Thomas, an education professor at the University of New Orleans who subsequently won a special state House election in 2016, polled 8,948 votes (29 percent). A Democrat, David Gereighty, polled 3,154 votes (10 percent) in the heavily Republican-oriented district. Scalise, who was term-limited out of the House, was succeeded in the state House by his aide, Cameron Henry of Metairie.

In the special election on November 4, 2008, to fill the remaining three and one-half years in Scalise's state Senate term, Conrad Appel defeated Polly Thomas, 21,853 (52.1 percent) to 20,065 (47.9 percent). Thomas had also lost the race for the seat in 2007 to Scalise.[13]

U.S. House of Representatives

On being asked by The Times-Picayune of New Orleans to assign Democrat Barack Obama a letter grade for Obama's first 100 days as President, Scalise awarded the new president an L (for "liberal").[14]

Committee assignments

Legislative history

In 2011, Scalise became a co-sponsor of Bill H.R.3261 otherwise known as the Stop Online Piracy Act (withdrawn January 23, 2012).[15] As chairman of the Republican Study Committee, Scalise dismissed Derek Khanna, a committee staffer, in December 2012 because of pressure from content industry lobbyists after the study committee published a memo advocating copyright reform.[16]

In 2013, Scalise voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.[17] Also in 2013, Scalise sponsored a bill called the FCC Consolidated Reporting Act. The bill makes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) consolidate several of their reports into one report.[18]

Leadership race

In the aftermath of Rep. Eric Cantor's unexpected defeat by David Brat on June 10, 2014, Scalise launched a campaign to replace Rep. Kevin McCarthy in the position of Majority Whip of the House; McCarthy himself would replace Cantor as House Majority Leader. Scalise's ascent to leadership built on his "come-from-behind win in 2012 to become chairman" of the Republican Study Committee.[19] Scalise subsequently won a three-way race for whip, winning on the first ballot despite the efforts of fellow candidates Peter Roskam and Marlin Stutzman.[20][21] He came under fire for using the assistance of a federal lobbyist, John Feehery, when hiring staff for the Majority Leader's Press Office.[22]

Political stances

Scalise supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order to impose a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries. He stated that "It's very prudent to say, 'Let's be careful about who comes into our country to make sure that they're not terrorists.'"[23]

Scalise has been an opponent of gun control and was given an "A+ rating" from the National Rifle Association.[24][25]

Political campaigns

2008 special election

In 2004, Scalise announced that he would run for the U.S. House but thereafter deferred to the preference of party leaders and supported Jindal, who won the position vacated by the successful U.S. senatorial candidate, David Vitter.

In 2007, when Jindal was elected to the governorship of Louisiana, Scalise announced his intentions to seek the seat yet again. This time he received Republican party backing.

Scalise's strongest Republican primary opponent, State Representative Timothy G. "Tim" Burns from Mandeville in St. Tammany Parish, accused Scalise of push polling, a practice in which a campaign contacts voters by telephone and asks probing questions which leave a negative impression of his opponent. Scalise defended his poll from criticism by Burns: "We were running a public opinion survey this week conducted by the largest Republican polling firm in the country, Public Opinion Strategies. . . . conducted with a sample of 300 people, and it shows Scalise at 57 percent, Burns at 26 percent and undecided at 17 percent The margin of error is 5.6 percent. We ran a fact-based public opinion survey, not a push poll."[26]

In the March 8, 2008, Republican primary, Scalise polled 16,799 votes (48 percent). He went on to win the runoff election on April 5 against Burns, who received 9,631 votes (28 percent) in the initial primary.[27][27][28]

In the May 3 general election, Scalise received 33,867 votes (75.13 percent) to Democrat Gilda Reed's 10,142 ballots (22.5 percent). Two minor candidates polled the remaining 2.36 percent of the vote. Reed was a favorite of organized labor and the Democratic constituency groups. The First District has been Republican since 1977, when Bob Livingston won a special election.[29]

Scalise was sworn in on May 7, 2008.


In the regularly scheduled election, Scalise was reelected over Democrat Jim Harlan, 66 percent to 34 percent.


Scalise defeated the Democratic nominee, Myron Katz, and an Independent, Arden Wells, in his 2010 bid for reelection.


In June 2009, Scalise joined Dan Kyle, the former legislative auditor and the treasurer of the Louisiana GOP, as directors of a national presidential fund-raising effort promoting Governor Jindal. According to Kyle, the group hoped to raise $60 million to persuade Jindal to seek the 2012 party nomination.[30] Others on the committee include former State Representative Woody Jenkins. Former Republican State Senator Tom Schedler of Slidell had his name removed from the group, not because he opposes Jindal but because such fund-raising activity could conflict with Schedler's role at the time as first assistant to Louisiana Secretary of State Jay Dardenne.[30] In 2010, Schedler succeeded Dardenne as secretary of state.

In his own 2012 congressional race, Scalise prevailed with 193,490 votes (66.6 percent) over four opponents, the strongest of which was the Democrat M. V. "Vinny" Mendoza, who finished with 61,979 votes (21.3 percent). A second Republican, Gary King, received 24,838 votes (8.6 percent). Independent Arden Wells ran again and received 4,285 votes (1.5 percent) in his second race against Scalise.[31]

2016 presidential campaign

In the 2016 presidential elections, Steve Scalise endorsed Republican candidate Donald Trump, who would go on to win the presidency.[32][33][34]

European-American Unity and Rights Organization convention speaker

In 2002, Scalise was a speaker at a convention for the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), a group which was founded by David Duke. This was revealed in 2014, after political blogger[35][36] Lamar White, Jr. uncovered anonymous comments from 2002 on Stormfront, a white supremacist website, which made reference to Scalise as a 2002 speaker at the convention.[35][37][38][39][40][41] Scalise confirmed that he had spoken at the EURO conference in 2002 and stated at the time he did not know of the "racist nature of the group". Scalise said he spoke about state tax legislation and that EURO was “one of the many groups that I spoke to regarding this critical legislation" further stating that this is a group "whose views I wholeheartedly condemn". Scalise apologized for speaking to the group saying, "It was a mistake I regret, and I emphatically oppose the divisive racial and religious views groups like these hold."[36]

Various Louisiana politicians, including Republican Governor Bobby Jindal and Democratic Congressman Cedric Richmond defended Scalise's character.[42] Speaker of the House John Boehner voiced his continued confidence in Scalise as Majority Whip.[37][43] Several Democratic members of Congress, as well as Mo Elleithee, a spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee, criticized Scalise, and challenged his statement that he was not aware of the group's affiliation with racism and anti-Semitism.[44] Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center called upon Scalise to step down from his leadership position as Majority Whip.[45][46][47]


On June 14, 2017, at 7:09 am EDT, Scalise and three other people were shot and wounded by James Hodgkinson, who opened fire with a rifle during a baseball practice of the Republican team for the annual Congressional Baseball Game. The practice was taking place at the Eugene Simpson Baseball Fields in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia. Scalise, the only member of Congress to be hit, was shot in the hip. Representative Mo Brooks, who was also at the practice, witnessed the attack and said he saw someone with a rifle behind the third base dugout. Brooks then heard Scalise scream from second base. Scalise crawled into right field, bleeding. Senator Jeff Flake and Representative Brad Wenstrup, a former combat surgeon, ran to assist Scalise after Hodgkinson was shot.[48][49] Senator Rand Paul, also a witness, said he heard "as many as 50 shots". Scalise, initially conscious, went into shock while being taken to MedStar Washington Hospital Center[5][50] in critical condition, where he underwent immediate surgery.

Scalise was hit by a single rifle bullet that "travelled across his pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs, and causing severe bleeding".[5] Dr. Jack Sava at the MedStar Washington Hospital Center said that "when he arrived, he was in critical condition with an imminent risk of death". But by June 16, although still in critical condition, "We have controlled internal bleeding and his vital signs have stabilized". Scalise will require additional operations to manage abdominal and bone injuries; it was not known how long he would have to stay in the hospital, and would need to convalesce on leaving. Sava stated he was a lot more optimistic about his recovery than he was around the time of the shooting. He stated that even though Scalise remained in critical condition, the doctors had controlled his internal bleeding and vital signs had been stabilized.[5] On June 17 it was announced that his condition had improved to "serious" and he was responsive enough to talk with his family.[51] On June 21, 2017, the hospital issued a press release stating: "Congressman Steve Scalise continues to make good progress. He is now listed in fair condition and is beginning an extended period of healing and rehabilitation."[52][53]

On July 5, 2017, the Congressman was returned to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) after becoming ill with an infection related to the shooting.[54]

On July 13, 2017, it was reported that Congressman Scalise had undergone additional surgery and that his condition had been upgraded to fair.[55]

See also


  1. "Current House Floor Proceedings Legislative Day of May 7, 2008 110th Congress – Second Session". Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  2. "Office of the clerk, U.S. House of Representative". May 7, 2008. Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  3. "Deborah Barfield Berry, With Alexander departing, delegation's clout in question? Will Alexander loss, Senate battle hurt Louisiana in the nation's capital?". Shreveport Times. Retrieved August 19, 2013. 
  4. CNN, Saba Hamedy. "Hospital: Scalise critical, 'improved' in last 24 hours". CNN. Retrieved June 21, 2017. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 David Choi (June 16, 2017). "Scalise doctor: He came in with an 'imminent risk of death,' recovery now a good possibility". - Business Insider. Retrieved June 17, 2017. 
  6. "Alfred Joseph Scalise". The Times-Picayune. October 9, 2015. Retrieved October 10, 2015. 
  7. Pierce, Charles (July 8, 2013). "Home / Blogs / The Politics Blog The Politics Blog The Republicans' New Debt Ceiling "Menu"". Esquire. Retrieved December 8, 2014. 
  8. "Tell Us About Your Fraternity's Racist History and/or Present". Gawker. March 16, 2015. Retrieved September 22, 2015. 
  9. "Marriage Annacouments". Times Picayune. 2006. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  10. Alpert, Bruce, "You can call him 'Mr. Majority Whip' – Rep. Steve Scalise wins House leadership race", Times-Picayune, June 19, 2014. "... [W]ife, Jennifer, and children Madison and Harrison"; caption. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  11. Bridges, Tyler (May 7, 2015). "Steve Scalise, Take Two". Politico. Retrieved September 22, 2015. 
  12. Scalise, Steve J. 4, 2016/ Archived March 4, 2016 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved September 22, 2015.
  13. Louisiana Secretary of State, November 4, 2008, election results: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 28, 2008. Retrieved November 8, 2008. 
  14. Tilove, Jonathan, "Obama's first 100 days are graded on a curve" in Times-Picayune (New Orleans), 2009 April 29, Saint Tammany Edition, pp. A1, A6 (web version = Louisiana's congressional delegation grades President Obama's first 100 days from A to L.)
  15. Bill H.R.3261 16, 2012/ Archived March 16, 2012 at the Wayback Machine;;
  16. Lee, Timothy B. (December 6, 2012). "Staffer axed by Republican group over retracted copyright-reform memo". Ars Technica. Condé Nast Publications. Retrieved December 8, 2012. 
  17. Trotter, J.K. (February 28, 2013). "Here's Who Voted Against the Violence Against Women Act". The Atlantic. 
  18. Harrison, Julie, "Scalise’s FCC consolidation bill sails through House" 5, 2015/ Archived January 5, 2015 at the Wayback Machine, The Ripon Advance, 9-12-13. (Retrieved 9-12-13).
  19. Joachim, David S., "Louisianan Seeks to Extend Rapid Rise in House G.O.P." 9, 2015/ Archived November 9, 2015 at the Wayback Machine, New York Times, June 19, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  20. Parker, Ashley, and Jeremy W. Peters, "House Republicans Name McCarthy as Cantor’s Replacement" 1, 2015/ Archived October 1, 2015 at the Wayback Machine, New York Times, June 19, 2014. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  21. Sherman, Jake; Bresnahan, John; Palmer, Anna (June 19, 2014). "Inside the House GOP leadership shake-up". Politico. Retrieved June 20, 2014. 
  22. Palmer, Anna; Sherman, Jake. "To pick staff, Scalise turns to lobbyist". Politico. Retrieved August 6, 2014. 
  23. Blake, Aaron. "Coffman, Gardner join Republicans against President Trump's travel ban; here's where the rest stand". Denver Post. Retrieved January 30, 2017. 
  24. Beckett, Lois (2017-06-14). "Steve Scalise: Republican wounded in baseball shooting is key figure in House". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-07-08. 
  25. "Th irony of Scalise and Gun Control". Daily Kos. Retrieved 2017-07-08. 
  26. "Scalise defends integrity of GOP runoff survey". Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  27. 27.0 27.1 Louisiana Secretary of State Unofficial Election Results Inquiry Results for Election Date: 4/05/08[permanent dead link]
  28. " ELECTIONS section". Retrieved June 7, 2014. 
  29. Louisiana Secretary of State-Multi-Parish Elections Inquiry 19, 2008/ Archived September 19, 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  30. 30.0 30.1 "Michelle Millhollon, "Official pulls out of Jindal group", June 16, 2009". Baton Rouge Morning Advocate. Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  31. "Louisiana election returns, November 6, 2012". Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  32. Entous, Adam. "House majority leader to colleagues in 2016: ‘I think Putin pays’ Trump". Washington Post. 
  33. Pasha-Robinson, Laura. "Republican leader who said Putin pays Trump insists it was 'a joke'". Independent. 
  34. "Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump". FiveThrityEight. Retrieved May 11, 2017. 
  35. 35.0 35.1 Costa, Robert. "House Majority Whip Scalise confirms he spoke to white nationalists in 2002". Washington Post. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  36. 36.0 36.1 Martin, jonathan & Calmes, Jackie (December 31, 2014). "Republicans Try to Fix Damage Scalise’s 2002 Speech Could Do in 2016". New York Times. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  37. 37.0 37.1 Jaffe, Alexandra & Walsh, Deirdra (December 31, 2014). "GOP leadership stands by Scalise after white supremacist speech". CNN. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  38. Sarlin, Benjy (December 29, 2014). "GOP leader Steve Scalise may have addressed supremacist conference". MSNBC. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  39. Reilly, Mollie & Grim, Ryan (December 29, 2014). "House Majority Whip Steve Scalise Spoke At White Supremacist Conference In 2002". The Huffington Post. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  40. "House Majority Whip Steve Scalise Was Reportedly an Honored Guest at 2002 International White Supremacist Convention". Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  41. Calderone, Michael (December 30, 2014). "How Louisiana Blogger Lamar White, Jr. Landed The Steve Scalise White Supremacist Scoop". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  42. O'Donoghue, Julia (December 29, 2014). "Steve Scalise attended white nationalist event, but says he wasn't aware of group's views". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  43. Bendery, Jennifer (December 30, 2014). "John Boehner Backs Steve Scalise Amid Controversy Over White Supremacist Meeting". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  44. Benjy Sarlin (March 19, 2015). "Steve Scalise: Speaking at supremacist event 'a mistake I regret'". MSNBC. 
  45. Berman, Mark (December 30, 2014). "SPLC calls for congressman who spoke to white supremacist group to step down from leadership". Washington Post. Retrieved December 31, 2014. 
  46. Scileifstein, Mark (December 30, 2014). "Steve Scalise denials not believable and he should resign as whip, civil rights group says". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved June 15, 2017. 
  47. Sullivan, Peter (December 20, 2014). "Civil rights group: Scalise must go". The HIll. Retrieved June 15, 2017. 
  48. "Scalise critical, shooter ID'd as James Hodgkinson". Fox News. Retrieved June 15, 2017. 
  49. CNN, Karl de Vries and Eugene Scott. "Rep. Scalise shot in Virginia". CNN. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  50. "Steve Scalise facing more surgeries, hospital update says". Retrieved June 15, 2017. 
  51. "Scalise Shooting: GOP congressman upgraded from 'critical' to 'serious' condition". Fox News. June 17, 2017. Retrieved June 17, 2017. 
  52. "Condition Update: Rep. Steve Scalise". MedStar Washington Hospital Center. 21 June 2017. Retrieved 13 July 2017. 
  53. Howard, Jacqueline (21 June 2017). "Rep. Steve Scalise is now in 'fair' condition after shooting". CNN. Retrieved 13 July 2017. 
  54. Choi, David (July 6, 2017). "Rep. Steve Scalise re-admitted to intensive care unit". Fox News. Retrieved 13 July 2017. 
  55. "Rep. Steve Scalise has new operation after shooting, condition fair". NBC News. Retrieved 2017-07-15. 

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Bobby Jindal
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Louisiana's 1st congressional district

Preceded by
Kevin McCarthy
House Majority Whip
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jim Jordan
Chair of the Republican Study Committee
Succeeded by
Rob Woodall
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jackie Speier
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Marcia Fudge