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Scalise is the GOP's pick to be the House speaker but he faces an uncertain path. What happens next?

The speaker of the House is normally elected every two years, in January, when the House organizes for a new session

WASHINGTON (AP) — Now that House Republicans have chosen Majority Leader Steve Scalise as their nominee for speaker, the race is on to secure the 217 votes he will need on the House floor to win the gavel and officially take the place of the ousted Kevin McCarthy.

The GOP conference picked Scalise as their nominee on Wednesday in a secret ballot. Lawmakers exiting the room said Scalise won 113 votes, while Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, the House Judiciary Committee chairman, took 99. A handful of Republicans declined to vote for either.

With Scalise falling well short of 217 in the conference vote, the Louisiana congressman's path to the speakership is uncertain. He was holding meetings to try and unite Republicans behind him, but some lawmakers said they were still supporting Jordan.

McCarthy, R-Calif., was suddenly and unexpectedly removed as speaker last week after just nine months on the job, leaving the House essentially leaderless with North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry in a caretaker role.