Jim Jordan Loses First Vote For Speaker's Gavel As Moderates Hold Firm

But the Ohio Republican can try again as pressure mounts on his opponents.
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WASHINGTON — Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-Ohio) bid to become the next speaker of the House appeared to be on life support Tuesday night following a big loss on his first floor vote and a decision to put off another vote until Wednesday.

“We’re going to keep going,” Jordan told reporters late Tuesday.

“We had great conversations with, great discussions with our colleagues. Frankly, no one in our conference wants to see any type of coalition government with Democrats.”

But in his first test on the House floor, Jordan lost 20 of his fellow Republicans, a diverse group that included party moderates and members of the powerful House Appropriations Committee that oversees annual spending bills.

After initially planning a second vote Tuesday night, the second vote was postponed until late morning Wednesday, another sign Jordan needed time to try to win more votes.

It took ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) 15 ballots to win the speaker’s gavel in January — though he started with what appeared to be a much stronger base of support than Jordan has.

As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee this year, Jordan has done more to defend Donald Trump than any other Republican in Congress, running a series of hearings decrying the supposed “weaponization of government” against the former president, who faces multiple criminal indictments.

Jordan was also closely involved in Trump’s efforts to undo the 2020 presidential election result, parroting his lies about election fraud and voting to object to certifying Joe Biden’s victory even after a mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Only a handful of Republicans publicly complained about Jordan’s entanglement with the former president; more complained that Jordan undercut his colleague Steve Scalise (R-La.), who had defeated Jordan in an internal party vote for the speaker nomination last week but withdrew from the contest one day later.

Jordan became Republicans’ speaker nominee on Friday, and over the weekend, his allies, including Fox News host and Republican strategist Sean Hannity, pressured the holdouts.

Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.) explained the incentive for moderates to vote for Jordan even if they don’t like him.

“He’s the best person to keep us out of a government shutdown and the best person to keep conservative media off our backs as we face a shutdown,” Armstrong told The Washington Post on Monday.

While waiting until Wednesday gives Jordan more time to try to woo holdouts, it also leaves more time for those who voted against him to face pressure from outside groups.

That pressure may have backfired in the case of some Republicans, such as Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.).

“I’m always open to negotiations and conversations, but the minute — the second — that anybody tries to intimidate or pressure me, that’s when my door closes,” Diaz-Balart told reporters before the vote.

Diaz-Balart wasn’t the only one who may have felt that way.

“I’ve talked to a couple of members where they felt that that’s just not what they needed,” Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) said on Fox News.

“I think some of the pressure campaigns have backfired.”

House Democrats, as expected, stuck with their leader, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) during the floor vote, giving him 212 votes.

Late Tuesday, despite Jordan’s comments otherwise, Jeffries said there’s some bipartisan appetite for trying to reopen the floor, which would require either giving Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), the interim speaker, more power to bring up bills or formally sharing power with Republicans.

“There are informal conversations that have accelerated over the last few days,” Jeffries said.

“It’s my hope, now that it’s clear Jim Jordan lacks the votes to be speaker, that those conversations will accelerate this evening.”

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