Conservative hardliners nominated Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio for House Speaker on Tuesday in the House’s second and third votes amid the ground fight for House leadership.
Jordan, in an effort to show party unity, nominated GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy on the second ballot. Speaking in the House on Tuesday, Jordan said the differences between Republican lawmakers were “pale in comparison” to the differences between Republicans and Democrats.
“We have to rally behind him,” Jordan said of McCarthy.
Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida nominated Jordan in the second round where he received 19 votes. Republican Representative Chip Roy of Texas, who has already voted against McCarthy twice, nominated Jordan as the third-round speaker.
In that round, Jordan got 20 votes when Representative Byron Donalds of Florida, who originally voted for McCarthy in the first two rounds, shifted his support to Jordan.
Jordan’s nomination by other members marks a new layer of leadership drama as Republicans take control of the House. The first order of business in the House as the 118th Congress convenes is the selection of a new president, but McCarthy is blocked by a group of conservative hardliners. Because the GOP only holds a narrow majority, these hardliners have more influence in the conference and have already denied McCarthy the votes needed to secure the gavel in early ballots.
A majority of at least 218 votes is required to be elected president. The tally for the first ballot in the speakers vote was 203 for McCarthy, 10 for Rep. Andy Biggs and six for Jordan – with three Republicans voting for other candidates.
For McCarthy to reach 218, he can only afford to lose four GOP votes — and his initial failure to do so marks the first time in a century that a party will have to take multiple ballots to elect the leader of the house.
The House voted to adjourn Tuesday night after McCarthy faced his third reprimand as speaker and the number of defections against him rose. He got 202 votes in the third round.
Leaving the floor, Jordan told CNN there was “no” chance he would become president, adding that he wanted to be chairman of the House Judiciary. He said he would pressure his colleagues to support McCarthy once the chamber resumes on Wednesday.
Jordan is a senior conservative and a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, serving as its first chair from 2015 to 2017 and vice-chair since 2017. He was the prominent member of the House Oversight Committee from 2019 to 2020. He left that position to become the most senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, where he is expected to become chairman of the newly GOP-owned House.
Jordan is a close ally of former President Donald Trump. After Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election and Trump refused to back down while making allegations of voter fraud, Jordan supported lawsuits to invalidate the election results and voted to not certify the election results. electoral college.