POLITICS & ELECTIONS

House Republicans reject Jim Jordan a third time for the speaker’s gavel as opposition deepens

Oct 20, 2023, 11:00 AM | Updated: 11:12 am

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, House Judiciary chairman and staunch ally of Donald Trump, meets with repo...

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, House Judiciary chairman and staunch ally of Donald Trump, meets with reporters about his struggle to become speaker of the House, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Oct. 20, 2023. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Jim Jordan failed badly Friday on a third ballot for the House speaker’s gavel, rejected by even more Republicans from the conservative mainstream who warned the hard-edged ally of Donald Trump that no threats or promises could win their support.

The Republicans have no realistic or workable plan to unite the fractured GOP majority, elect a new speaker and return to the work of Congress that has been languishing since hard-liners ousted Kevin McCarthy at the start of the month.

In all, Jordan lost 25 Republican colleagues, leaving him far from the majority needed.

Ahead of the vote, Jordan showed no signs of stepping aside, insisting at a Capitol press conference: “The American people are hungry for change.”

Drawing on his Ohio roots, Jordan, who is popular with the GOP’s right-flank activist base of voters, positioned his long-shot campaign alongside the history of American innovators including the Wright brothers, urging his colleagues to elect him to the speakership.

McCarthy himself rose in the chamber to nominate Jordan, portraying him as a skilled legislator who reaches for compromise. That drew scoffs of laughter from the Democratic side of the aisle.

McCarthy said of Jordan, “He is straightforward, honest and reliable.”

Democrats nominated Leader Hakeem Jeffries, with Rep. Katherine Clark calling Jordan, who refused to certify the 2020 election, “a threat to democracy.”

“We need a speaker worthy of wielding the gavel,” she said.

But after two failed votes, Jordan’s third attempt at the gavel did not end any better — in large part because more centrist Republicans are revolting over the nominee and the hardball tactics being used to win their votes. They have been bombarded with harassing phone calls and even reported death threats.

In fact, the hard-charging Judiciary chairman lost rather than gained votes despite hours of closed-door talks, no improvement from the 20 and then 22 Republicans he lost in early rounds this week.

For more than two weeks the stalemate has shut down the U.S. House, leaving a seat of American democracy severely hobbled at a time of challenges at home and abroad. The House Republican majority appears to have no idea how to end the political turmoil and get back to work.

With Republicans in majority control of the House, 221-212, any candidate can lose only a few detractors. It appears there is no Republican at present who can win a clear majority, 217 votes, to become speaker.

“He doesn’t have the votes to be speaker,” Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., said after a late Thursday meeting when Jordan sought to hear detractors out and shore up support.

The holdouts want “nothing” from Jordan, Gimenez said, adding that some of the lawmakers in the meeting simply called on Jordan to drop out of the race.

One extraordinary idea, to give the interim speaker pro tempore, Rep. Patrick McHenry, more powers for the next several months to at least bring the House back into session and conduct crucial business, was swiftly rejected by Jordan’s own ultra-conservative allies.

A “betrayal,” said Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind.

Next steps were highly uncertain as angry, frustrated Republicans predict the House could essentially stay closed for the foreseeable future — perhaps until the mid-November deadline for Congress to approve funding or risk a federal government shutdown.

“We’re trying to figure out if there’s a way we can get back with a Republican-only solution,” said veteran legislator Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla.

“That’s what normal majorities do. What this majority has done is prove it’s not a normal majority.”

What was clear was that Jordan was refusing to step aside, appearing determined to wait out his foes even as his path to become House speaker was all but collapsing.

“What we saw with Speaker McCarthy in the 15 rounds is that he went down first and then he came back,” said Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., referring to January’s historic election. “That’s where we are with Jordan.”

But earlier, Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., said “it’s not going to happen.”

Many view Jordan, a founding member of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, as too extreme for a central seat of U.S. power, second in line to the presidency.

“Who normalized Jim Jordan?” asked Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries, reiterating that his party was “ready, willing and able” to partner with more traditional Republicans on a path to re-open the House.

“One thing I cannot stomach or support is a bully,” said a statement from Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, who voted against Jordan on the second ballot and said she received “credible death threats.”

A closed-door meeting Thursday to regroup grew heated at times with Republican factions blaming one another for sending their majority into chaos, lawmakers said.

When Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, a chief architect of the ouster of the speaker two weeks ago, rose to speak, McCarthy told him it was not his turn.

“We’re shaking up Washington, D.C. We’re breaking the fever. And, you know what, it’s messy,” Gaetz said later, saying he had no regrets over the past weeks of havoc.

Elevating McHenry to an expanded speaker’s role could be a possible off-ramp for the crisis, but it would not be as politically simple as it might seem.

Republicans are loath to partner with the Democrats in a bipartisan way on the arrangement, and it’s highly unlikely Republicans could agree to give McHenry more powers on their own, since their hard-liners don’t like it.

McHenry himself has brushed off attempts to take the job more permanently after he was appointed to the role after the unprecedented ouster of McCarthy more than two weeks ago.

To win over GOP colleagues, Jordan had relied on backing from Trump, the party’s front-runner in the 2024 election, and groups pressuring rank-and-file lawmakers for the vote. But they were not enough and in fact backfired on some.

Jordan has been a top Trump ally, particularly during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack by the former president’s backers who were trying to overturn the 2020 election he lost to Biden. Days later, Trump awarded Jordan a Medal of Freedom.

First elected in 2006, Jordan has few bills to his name from his time in office. He also faces questions about his past.

Some years ago, Jordan denied allegations from former wrestlers during his time as an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University who accused him of knowing about claims they were inappropriately groped by an Ohio State doctor. Jordan has said he was never aware of any abuse.

KSL 5 TV Live

Politics & Elections

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks at the US Capitol earlier this year. (Craig Hudson/REUT...

Ted Barrett, Morgan Rimmer and Clare Foran, CNN

Senate passes surveillance bill despite contentious debate over privacy concerns

The Senate voted late Friday to reauthorize a key surveillance authority, avoiding a lapse in the controversial program.

5 hours ago

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman speaks as he joins Ryan Smith, co-founder and chairman of Smith Enter...

Michael Houck and Lindsay Aerts, KSL TV

Smith Entertainment Group addresses the logistics and politics of bringing the NHL to Utah

On Friday, the NHL and the new owners of the Utah NHL team discussed the exciting opportunities that the team can bring to Beehive State.

21 hours ago

Donald Trump sits at a table a jury has been seated for his trial...

Jennifer Peltz, Michael R. Sisak, Jake Offenhartz and Alanna Durkin Richer

Jury of 12 people and 6 alternates is seated in Trump’s hush money trial in New York

A full jury of 12 people and six alternates has been seated Donald Trump's hush money case, setting the stage for expected opening statements next week in the first criminal trial of a former U.S. president.

1 day ago

FILE: Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-LA) speaks during a news conference following a closed-d...

Stephen Groves, Lisa Mascaro and Kevin Freking

Ukraine, Israel aid advances in rare House vote as Democrats help Republicans push it forward

The House has pushed a $95 billion national security aid package for Ukraine, Israel and other U.S. allies closer to passage.

1 day ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., speaks at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 29, 2024. Short...

Melanie Zanona, Manu Raju, Annie Grayer and Lauren Fox, CNN

Johnson won’t change rules over removing him from speakership after hardliners revolt

Speaker Mike Johnson announced he will not change the procedure for removing him from the speakership.

2 days ago

FILE - New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks Feb. 16, 2024, in New York. Donald Trump coul...

Philp Marcelo, Associated Press

New York man pleads guilty to sending threats to state attorney general and Trump civil case judge

A New York man has pleaded guilty to sending death threats to the state attorney general and the Manhattan judge that presided over former President Donald Trump’s civil fraud suit.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

House Republicans reject Jim Jordan a third time for the speaker’s gavel as opposition deepens