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News > U.S.

Republicans Drop Jim Jordan as House Speaker Nominee

  • Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan (C), Oct. 2023.

    Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan (C), Oct. 2023. | Photo: X/ @newrepublic

Published 21 October 2023

He is considered a far-right figure within the Republican party and has been endorsed by Trump.

U.S. House Republicans on Friday dropped Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, as the Republican nominee for House speaker, after he failed to garner enough support from his own party in three rounds of full-chamber voting.


US House Fails to Elect New Speaker Amid Republican Infighting

In a closed-door session on Friday afternoon, House Republicans voted in a secret ballot against Jordan continuing as their party's nominee for speaker, roughly a week after he was nominated. Earlier in the day, Jordan lost the third vote in his bid for House speaker, as Republican opposition grew amid continuing chaos.

In the full chamber vote, the 59-year-old Ohio Republican lost 25 votes from fellow Republicans, three more than in the second round of voting and five more than in the first round, indicating moderates' growing doubts about a hardline conservative House speaker.

With a slim 221-212 Republican majority in the chamber, Jordan could only afford to lose a few votes from Republicans in order to reach the majority threshold and win the gavel, considering that all Democrats voted for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.

Among the 25 Republican holdouts, several voted for House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who previously won the Republican speakership nomination but failed to garner support from right-wing conservatives and dropped out of the race. A few voted for Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry, former Representative Lee Zeldin, and others.

"He just got his rear end kicked," President Joe Biden said at a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., after Jordan failed to secure the speakership following three rounds of voting.

Jordan, a co-founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, is considered a far-right figure within the Republican party and has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump. He advocates for deep spending cuts, and enhanced border security, and has been a prominent player in the impeachment investigation opened against Biden.

"If Jordan becomes speaker, it will signal Republicans putting a hardliner in charge of the House and someone who is used to confrontational politics. A number of Republican House members seem to have doubts about having a far-right member in charge," Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Darrell West said.

In the closed-door vote, more than 110 House Republicans voted to find another candidate, according to a report by The Hill. Many expressed frustration with the division within the Republican party and are confused about the way forward.

"We're back to square one," said South Dakota Rep. Dusty Johnson. Scalise, meanwhile, said they were going to "come back and start over" on Monday.

Several House Republicans have announced they would run for House speaker, including House Majority Whip Tom Emmer, Jack Bergman from Michigan, and Kevin Hern from Oklahoma.

In the wake of the nasty pressure campaign unleashed on Republican holdouts by Jordan's allies, Emmer plans to run an "entirely positive" campaign for speaker and "won't attack his opponents," CNN reported, citing a source close to him.

The House has been leaderless for over two weeks, after Kevin McCarthy was removed from his position on Oct. 3, in a move initiated by a conservative member of his own party. Eight Republicans voted with Democrats in the historical ouster.

The House has never been speakerless for so long mid-session, The Washington Post said in an analysis, noting that The House was already operating at an unusually unproductive pace. YouGov's new polling for the Economist suggested that Americans think the lack of a speaker and the struggle to elect a replacement is hurting the ability of the government to function.

The House can't move forward on its legislative process until a speaker is chosen, and lawmakers need to pass a spending bill before government funding runs out in mid-November.

The House is also under pressure to take action amid the escalating Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The Biden administration is requesting over US$105 billion from Congress for military aid mostly for Ukraine and Israel.

But the latest chaos shows that moderates and right-wing conservatives within the Republican Party are far from reaching an agreement on the way forward, and the intraparty fight will continue to paralyze the lower chamber.

The stalemate has prompted some lawmakers to push for the empowerment of Patrick McHenry - the temporary speaker - in the hope that he can oversee the passage of urgently needed legislation until House Republicans can coalesce and elect a new leader.

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