Jim Jordan Forced Out of House Speaker Race After Losing Secret Ballot

Jim Jordan Forced Out of House Speaker Race After Losing Secret Ballot – Jim Jordan, the Ohio representative, withdrew from the race for the House speakership on Friday as his fellow Republicans voted against his persistent attempts to secure the position in a secret ballot. This marked his third unsuccessful endeavor to garner enough support for the speakership. Jordan’s unsuccessful bid came after a week of heated lobbying on Capitol Hill, where he and his supporters tried to persuade moderate Republicans to back his candidacy.

After his loss, Jordan told reporters he was “going to go back to work” and that it was “time to unite.” The identity of the next Republican nominee remains uncertain. Candidates must declare their interest in the speakership by noon on Sunday. The conference is scheduled to reconvene on Monday evening to listen to potential speakership candidates, and the voting is planned for Tuesday. 

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Consequently, the House will have been without a speaker for three weeks by that point, impeding their ability to carry out their elected duties. Some moderates want to see a consensus candidate, while the far-right flank that ousted former speaker Kevin McCarthy previously said they would be “prepared to accept censure, suspension or removal from the conference” to get Jordan the speakership.

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Several Republican House members have expressed their intent to seek the speakership or are contemplating the idea. The most prominent candidate among them is Tom Emmer from Minnesota, who currently holds the position of majority whip and is the third-ranking Republican in the chamber, enjoying the support of Kevin McCarthy

Others in contention include Kevin Hern from Oklahoma, Austin Scott from Georgia, Byron Donalds from Florida, Mike Johnson from Louisiana, and Jack Bergman from Michigan. During the initial floor vote in the speakership election on Tuesday, 20 House Republicans opposed Jim Jordan, leaving him well short of the required 217 votes for the top position. 

Given the slim Republican majority in the House, Jordan could only afford four defections within his conference to secure the speakership. Despite Jordan’s attempts to address moderates’ concerns, a second floor vote held on Wednesday demonstrated increased opposition, with 22 Republicans voting against Jordan. In the third vote on Friday, Jordan lost even more support, with 25 House Republicans opposing his candidacy.

While the House remains without a speaker, the legislative process is at a standstill, preventing members from passing crucial bills such as a temporary government funding measure and aid packages for Israel and Ukraine. With government funding set to expire in less than a month, there’s an impending risk of a federal shutdown next month.

Jim Jordan’s announcement comes two weeks after the historic removal of Kevin McCarthy, when eight House Republicans, along with Democrats, supported a motion to remove him from the position. Following McCarthy’s ouster, the House majority leader, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, initially secured his party’s nomination for speaker, but he withdrew from the race last week due to entrenched opposition from hard-right lawmakers.

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The method by which Republicans can resolve the impasse and get the House back to its regular operations remains uncertain. There was a suggestion from centrist Democrats, supported by some of Jordan’s opponents, which entailed broadening the authority of the acting speaker, Republican Patrick McHenry from North Carolina. However, this proposal lost momentum. 

This solution would raise significant constitutional concerns, as the powers of an acting speaker are not clearly defined. Amidst the internal strife within the Republican party, Hakeem Jeffries, the House Democratic leader from New York, has consistently advocated for establishing a bipartisan governing coalition involving Democrats and more moderate Republicans. 

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However, even those who strongly oppose Jim Jordan have so far dismissed the notion of aligning with Democrats, although this stance may shift if the House remains deadlocked. On Friday, Jeffries, who has received the highest number of votes in the speakership elections but cannot garner sufficient support to assume the position since Democrats are in the minority, urged his Republican colleagues to get down to work.

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