Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, speaks with reporters following a closed door meeting with House Republicans as he looks for decisive support to become speaker, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Oct. 16, 2023. A floor vote that could turn into a showdown is set for midday Tuesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Congressman Jim Jordan is working ahead of the Tuesday afternoon vote to unify the House Republican Conference. But will it be enough for him to win the gavel?
Whether Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan has done enough to solidify the votes needed to become the next Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives will be on full display Tuesday afternoon as the chamber gavels in.
The House has been without a Speaker for nearly two weeks after California Congressman Kevin McCarthy was ousted by a vote to vacate the chair supported by eight members of the House Republican Conference and all Democrats in the chamber. Congressman Patrick McHenry has been serving as Acting Speaker as the Speaker Pro Tem but his ability to organize the House is limited by the chamber’s rules.
Last week, the House Republican Conference met and initially nominated Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise, the House Majority Leader, to succeed McCarthy. However, the thin margin and his inability to unify the caucus forced Scalise to withdraw from the Speaker election within 24 hours after being nominated. Simply put, Scalise could not get enough votes among House Republicans to bring his nomination to the floor.
Jordan finished second to Scalise in the initial House Republican Conference voting. After Scalise withdrew, Jordan and his supporters quickly moved to secure the Speaker nomination. Last Friday, House Republicans met again, this time backing Jordan for Speaker in a 124-81 vote. Over the weekend, Jordan has been actively working to earn the trust of his colleagues and move the process toward a floor vote, which is expected Tuesday afternoon.
Jordan will need to reach the 217-vote threshold in the 433-member House. Republicans currently hold a 221 to 212 seat majority, with two vacancies. This means he can only stand to lose four votes from his own party.
House Democrats have once again nominated their conference leader, New York Congressman Hakeen Jeffries, just as they did in January when McCarthy won the gavel after 15 rounds of voting.
Jordan, the current chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, hopes to avoid such a long and drawn-out Speaker vote this go around. In a letter to his Republican colleagues over the weekend, Jordan called for unity, asking for their support and making the case that the differences between Republicans and Democrats “vastly outweigh our internal divisions.”
However, it is unlikely that Jordan will win the Speaker post in the first round of voting. A number of GOP members have voiced frustration over the drama that has unfolded in the House over the last two weeks. It is to be expected that a few members will let their exasperation show by nominating and voting for a nominee other than Jordan, at least in the opening rounds.
Mississippi Congressman Mike Ezell, a Republican representing the 4th Congressional District, shared on Monday that he supported Jordan in the House Republican Conference meeting on Friday and would be voting for him again on Tuesday.
“On Friday, my friend, Chairman Jim Jordan, was elected by the Republican Conference to be our nominee for Speaker,” Ezell said. “I voted in support of him then, and I’ll vote in support of him tomorrow.”
Ezell went on to say that America needs leadership as it faces a number of challenges at home and abroad.
“That’s why we must elect a strong, conservative Speaker of the House like Jim Jordan,” Ezell said. “I hope we’re finally able to end this chaos tomorrow and get back to work for the American people.”
Third District Congressman Michael Guest told SuperTalk Radio on Friday that he, too, would be supporting Jordan for Speaker, saying he intended to vote for the Ohio Congressman in the House Republican Conference meeting and then on the floor.
The other Republican Mississippi Congressman – Trent Kelly (R-MS 1) – has not publicly stated whether he will support Jordan in Tuesday’s vote. However, Kelly’s support for Jordan is likely.
All three Mississippi GOP Congressmen were firm supporters of former Speaker McCarthy through the 15 rounds of voting in January.
Mississippi’s lone Democrat Congressman, Bennie Thompson, is expected to once again support his conference’s leader, Jeffries, for Speaker over the Republican nominee.
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