Jim Jordan has failed to secure a second round of votes for speaker of the House of Representatives, in a defeat that could spell the end of his bid for the Republican’s top job.
A handful of disgruntled Republicans immediately voted against Jordan and instead put forward Kevin McCarthy, Whip Tom Emmer, Byron Donalds – and even former Speaker John Boehner – as chaos erupted in the chamber. Firebrand Republican Jordan could only afford four votes in the chamber with the narrow majority of the Republican party.
The House of Representatives has been in chaos for 15 days since former Speaker Kevin McCarthy was ousted by eight of his hardline Republican colleagues. McCarthy — whose confirmation lasted five days and 15 rounds in January — actually received more support from holdouts during the subsequent rounds of voting, unlike Jordan, who began hemorrhaging former backers during the second round of voting.
Ohio Republican Rep. Dave Joyce is expected to nominate interim chairman Patrick McHenry to the top position shortly after Jordan’s defeat. However, support for this move is divided among Republicans.
On Tuesday, 20 Republicans voted against Jordan, destroying his chance to become chairman on the first ballot.
Jordan, chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee and co-founder of the Freedom Caucus, had broad appeal from his party’s right wing, but moderate and pragmatic conservatives were angered by the process by which he arrived at the speaker’s nomination.
The wife of Republican mainstay Don Bacon — the first to vote against Jordan on Tuesday — revealed anonymous text messages warning her husband to support Jordan.
On Tuesday, 20 Republicans voted against Jordan, wiping out his chance to become chairman in the first round of voting. He met the same fate on Wednesday in the second voting round
Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry is perhaps the clearest path to a longer-term speaker solution
“Your husband better support Jim Jordan,” reads one of the messages sent to Angie Bacon, according to Politico.
“Your husband will never hold political office again,” said another. “What a disappointment and failure he is.”
Bacon voted for McCarthy, R-Calif., on Wednesday, dealing another blow to Jordan.
In a moment of levity, Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., voted for former Speaker John Boehner, best known for his affinity for cigar smoking and his brash style. Democrats in the room clapped and laughed at Kelly’s vote, a sign of the level of dysfunction engulfing the chamber.
Jordan began losing votes from lawmakers who supported him on the first ballot.
Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Mich., brought on Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., emerged in a reversal of his vote in Jordan on Tuesday. Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-Ga., also changed his original vote for Jordan and voted for Steve Scalise in the runoff.
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., — who vowed never to vote for Jordan — voted again for Tom Emmer, R-Minn., on the second ballot.
Jordan also faced criticism for using “intimidation tactics” this weekend in an effort to gain Republican support to support his bid for speaker. His office has disputed these claims.
Vote count of the first speaker
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, DN.Y. — 212
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio – 200
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-California. — 6
Former Rep. Lee Zeldin, R-N.Y. — 3
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La. — 7
Rep. Mike Garcia, R-California. — 1
Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Minn. — 1
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla. — 1
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky. — 1
He spent the weekend pressuring holdouts to vote for him — with the unspoken threat that if they didn’t, they would risk a primary challenge, given Jordan’s popularity with grassroots conservatives .
“I think some of it backfired … and I think it was to Jim’s detriment,” said Florida Congressman Byron Donalds, who voted for Jordan.
“Jim didn’t necessarily support the strategy,” fellow Ohio Rep. David Joyce added.
Former President Donald Trump endorsed Jordan for the top Republican position, reiterating his support in a post on Truth Social Tuesday.
“Jim Jordan will be a GREAT Speaker of the House of Representatives. As everyone knows, I long ago gave him my full and total approval!’
Meanwhile, Democrats remain united around Hakeem Jeffries, who serves as minority leader.
Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., joked about yesterday’s vote count, in which Jeffries received more votes than Jordan.
“212 against 200. No election refusal will take away this vote total,” he said in the audience on Wednesday.
Chants of “Hakeem, Hakeem, Hakeem” rang out from across the room.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., nominated Jordan on Wednesday ahead of the second vote.
He praised his commitment to conservative principles and strong support for Israel, which is reeling after more than 1,300 people were killed by Hamas terrorists nearly two weeks ago.
Two weeks ago, Kevin McCarthy was impeached when eight Republicans joined all Democrats in voting to oust him from office in an unprecedented vote. Then-Majority Leader Steve Scalise, the House’s No. 2 Republican, defeated Jordan for the nomination by a vote of 124 to 88.
Scalise, who is in the middle of the battle against blood cancer, quit the fight when it became clear that a dozen Republicans would not vote for him.
Jordan went on to win the Republican nomination on Friday by a vote of 124-81.
But in a follow-up vote, members were asked: ‘Would you vote for Jordan in the House of Representatives?’ Fifty-five of them said they wouldn’t do so, even if Republicans can only afford to lose four votes in the House.
McHenry, 47, chairman of the Financial Services Committee, the current interim chairman, would need Democratic votes to be elected interim chairman.
Electing McHenry would give him the power to bring legislation to the floor and break the deadlock in the House of Representatives as Congress heads toward another possible shutdown.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., opposed Rep.’s bid Tuesday. Jim Jordan as speaker
Meanwhile, Congress remains paralyzed, unable to do business and has only a month left before the government runs out of money again.
The House of Representatives also cannot vote to provide much-needed aid to Israel after the atrocities Hamas The terror attack killed more than 1,300 civilians and killed at least 29 Americans.
President Biden is considering a $100 billion request to Congress that would include aid to Ukraine and Israel.
He is expected to make the request by the end of the week and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says the Senate will act quickly despite the turmoil in the House of Representatives.