Jim Jordan’s ambitious pursuit of becoming the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives came to an end on Friday after his fellow Republicans withdrew their support following a third unsuccessful vote on the House floor. This development leaves the House unable to respond to President Joe Biden’s request for a $106 billion national-security package, including military aid for Ukraine and Israel and also puts at risk averting a partial government shutdown scheduled for November 18.
Jim Jordan received diminishing support over the course of the week. In a third round of balloting on Friday, he garnered 194 votes, down from the 200 votes he received on Tuesday, falling short of the majority needed to secure the speaker’s role. Subsequently, Republicans voted 112-86 to withdraw Jordan’s nomination in a closed-door meeting.
After the meeting, Jim Jordan acknowledged, “It was an honour to be their speaker designee. We need to come together to figure out who our speaker is going to be. I’m going to work as hard as I can to help that individual.”
The next candidate for Speaker remains uncertain, with Representative Kevin McCarthy stating, “We’ll have to go back to the drawing board.” McCarthy, who was ousted as Speaker on October 3, has endorsed Representative Tom Emmer, the No. 3 House Republican, although at least four other lawmakers have expressed their intention to run for the position.
The tenuous Republican majority in the House, with a slim 221-212 lead, leaves little room for defections in party-line votes, underscoring the current legislative dysfunction.
This is further complicated by the rejection of other candidates, including No. 2, Steve Scalise. As a result, lawmakers are set to hear from candidates on Monday evening, with a possible vote on Tuesday. Candidates besides Emmer include Kevin Hern, who leads a conservative policy group, and Austin Scott, a low-profile lawmaker who briefly entered the Speaker bid last week.
Despite the pressing issues at hand, including Biden’s aid package and government funding due to expire on November 17, Republicans have already considered and rejected an alternative plan. This plan would have granted more authority to Republican Representative Patrick McHenry, temporarily occupying the Speaker’s chair. House Democrats and the White House expressed openness to this idea, but Republicans opted not to pursue it.
Jim Jordan, a close ally of Donald Trump, played a prominent role in Trump’s efforts to challenge the results of the 2020 election. He is known for his uncompromising stance and played a role in government shutdowns in 2013 and 2018. Jordan’s supporters argue that this uncompromising approach would make him an effective advocate for conservative policies.
However, Jordan’s aggressive tactics worked against him, with some of his Republican opponents decrying a pressure campaign organised by his supporters that resulted in harassing phone calls and death threats.
Despite these concerns, Jim Jordan’s allies argued that such threats were not uncommon for members of Congress. In the final vote on Friday, 25 Republican lawmakers opposed his candidature, more than the 20 who did so on Tuesday.
Jim Jordan’s vote total of 194 fell short of McCarthy’s votes in any of the 15 challenging rounds of voting in January. On the Democratic side, Jordan was uniformly opposed, with Democrats denouncing him as a dangerous extremist.
Jim Jordan’s Republican opponents refrained from celebrating his defeat, with Representative Mario Diaz-Balart expressing uncertainty about the situation, saying, “I’m not feeling too good about any of this. The only thing that’s positive is that now we can get back to trying to elect the speaker who has the support of the conference.”