Now It’s Jim Jordan’s Turn: Can He Secure the Votes to be Speaker?
WASHINGTON — The House Republican conference nominated Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, to be the next speaker on Friday, but he now faces the same question that ultimately pushed Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., out of the race.
Can he garner the 217 votes he needs on the floor to finally win the gavel?
The nomination of Jordan came after a secret ballot vote in which Jordan was pitted against Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., who entered the contest just hours earlier.
In the end, the vote was 124-81 in favor of Jordan, who lost a similar internal conference vote to Scalise earlier this week.
“I’ve been saying all week, I think I’m the one individual who can bring our team together,” Jordan said shortly before the closed door meeting.
“I think we can unite the conference,” he said.
But Jordan’s confidence will come to naught if he can’t secure those precious 217 votes, and many Republicans have said in recent days that his guaranteed support is about equal to what Scalise had following his nomination and the climb to shore up the rest will be a steep one.
That is in part because Jordan was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus and was, and is, a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump, two factors that might make him anathema to more centrist members of the conference.
Others have raised concerns about Jordan’s ability to fundraise, an area in which he has been greatly outshone by both Scalise and the man he’s trying to succeed, former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
Scott replied to his loss with a call for conference unity.
“I highly respect Jim Jordan. He is an asset to the Republican party and our nominee for Speaker,” he said. “Our conference has spoken, and now we must unite behind Jordan so we can get Congress back to work.”
Because of the precarious nature of Jordan’s support, a number of Republicans said they didn’t believe a vote on the House floor was imminent.
In an email to her conference Friday evening, House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark said House Republicans had informed her that no further votes are expected over the weekend.
“No votes are expected in the House until approximately 6 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 16,” she said.
When it does happen, Jordan will go up against House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., who got the Democrats’ nod earlier this week.
Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the former House majority leader, said in a statement that Jordan’s nomination represented “another sad day for America.”
“Once again, instead of choosing a bipartisan path forward, House Republicans decided to align with Donald Trump and the far-right partisan fringe of their party,” he said. “Today was the latest indication that Republicans have allowed extremists, agitators, and demagogues to hijack their party.
“In doing so, they undermine our work for the American people, damage this institution, and endanger our democracy,” Hoyer added.