UPDATE, 2:20 p.m.: Jim Jordan‘s effort to become speaker of the House will be put off for another day.
The next vote is now scheduled for 11 a.m. on Wednesday. It’s an indication that Jordan and his allies are still struggling to win over holdouts.
“We’re going to keep going. We’ve had great conversations, especially with our colleagues,” Jordan told CNN’s Manu Raju. He said “we have to get a speaker and it can’t be some deal with the Democrats. The American people don’t want that. They elected Republicans in a majority — a small majority, I get it.”
PREVIOUSLY: The House may be in for a bit of deja vu, as Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) fell short of winning the speakership on the first ballot.
Jordan received 200 votes, while the House Democratic leader, Hakeem Jeffries, drew 212. Some 217 votes were needed to become speaker, as the rules require a majority of members present.
In the Republican conference, 20 members voted for others. The House then went into recess. Another vote is expected today.
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), who voted for Jordan, told reporters after the vote that he believes a pressure campaign on Jordan’s GOP opponents backfired. Fox News host Sean Hannity and other media figures on the right urged votes for the Ohio congressman.
“Some of it did backfire,” Donalds said. “In any organization, or any team or locker room, you’re going to have to deal with everybody differently. You can’t have the same style with everybody, because everybody responds to different things.”
He said that the mood among Republicans on the floor was “probably a little somber that we’re going through this again. Tensions are high with members. There’s frustration with a lot of members.”
Among those who declined to vote for Jordan was Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), who cast his ballot for Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), the House majority whip. Buck also was among the eight Republicans who voted to oust Kevin McCarthy nearly two weeks ago. Buck told CNN that he doesn’t like Emmer, but “I figured this would be the worst job in America. Mike Rowe would not want to do this for his TV show. This is a terrible job.” Buck has previously indicated that he wanted Jordan to declare that Donald Trump did not win the 2020 presidential election. “I also want to make sure we don’t have someone who was involved in the activities surrounding January 6th,” Buck said later this afternoon on CNN.
McCarthy faced a similar amount of opposition on his first ballot in January and then endured 14 more votes before he was finally elected speaker.
With each GOP vote against Jordan, Democrats murmured among themselves, as they united behind their House leader, Hakeem Jeffries.
“What we need — and Jordan clearly does not represent — … is a constructive person who wants the institution to work,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD).
Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA), the chair of the House Democratic Caucus, blasted Jordan as an “insurrection inciter” in nominating Jeffries on the floor. “Even leaders of his own party have called him a legislative terrorist,” Aguilar said, referring to former House Speaker John Boehner’s characterization of Jordan.
In her nominating speech, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the chair of the House Republican Conference, said that Jordan was an “America First warrior who wins the toughest of fights.”
“Jim is the voice of the American people who have felt voiceless for far too long,” she said. In her speech, she also said that she was “reminded of the book of Esther. For such a time as this.”
PREVIOUSLY: Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) is seeking to win over enough holdouts in the Republican conference to clinch the House speakership today, putting an end to the ongoing drama of GOP division that has all but halted the work of Congress.
News networks broke from ongoing coverage of the Israel-Hamas war to focus on the speaker race, a rare instance of genuine suspense in a floor vote, as it was last January, when Kevin McCarthy endure 15 roll calls before getting the top leadership post.
Unlike that spectacle, though, there is limited camera access for today’s roll call. Absent were the half-dozen or so media-pooled cameras in the chamber, leaving viewers with the traditional House-controlled stationary feed, generally focused on whoever is speaking or on a wide angle view of the proceedings. Still photographers are being allowed.
With 432 members present, Jordan needs 217 votes. All 212 Democrats were present, meaning that Jordan has a very slim margin. All Democrats were expected to unite behind Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, who sat just across the aisle from his predecessor, Nancy Pelosi.
Jordan, a darling of the right-wing media ecosphere, has in recent days tried to convince more moderate parts of the Republican conference that his flame-throwing days are a thing of the past and that he has the organizational skills to unite them. But as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jordan has used his platform to attack Joe Biden, social media platforms and liberals in general, all with a tone of persistent indignation.
He also was a staunch defender of Donald Trump as he pursued efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. According to the findings of the January 6th Committee, Jordan participated in meetings where a strategy was discussed to try to get then-Vice President Mike Pence to block the counting of electoral votes from states that Biden won.
The vice chair of the January 6th Committee, former Rep. Liz Cheney, tweeted last week that Jordan “was involved in Trump’s conspiracy to steal the election and seize power; he urged that Pence refuse to count lawful electoral votes. If Rs nominate Jordan to be Speaker, they will be abandoning the Constitution. They’ll lose the House majority and they’ll deserve to.”
But Jordan has been able to win over a number of lawmakers who previously were reluctant to back him — or earlier insisted that they would not. There has been pressure from Jordan’s backers on the holdouts to fall in line, as well as from rightward media and from Fox News host Sean Hannity. Producers for his show reportedly had been sending emails to holdout members, viewed as efforts to nudge them to back Jordan. On his show on Monday night, Hannity called on GOPers to wrap things up and said, “I offer no apologies for doing my job and seeking answers from those elected public servants.”
Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) told The Washington Post of Jordan, “He’s the best person to keep us out of a government shutdown and the best person to keep conservative media off our backs as we face a shutdown.”
In the chamber, Jordan, wearing a suit jacket, sat in a row just ahead of Kevin McCarthy, the former House speaker who has endorsed him.
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