Rep. Jim Jordan’s speaker bid is in peril as the Ohio Republican confronts steep opposition from members of his own party, raising serious questions over whether he can flip enough holdouts to win the gavel.
Jordan failed to win the speakership in an initial round of voting on Tuesday after 20 Republicans voted against his candidacy, a high number and far more than the handful he could afford to lose given the GOP’s narrow majority.
The House is slated to hold a second speaker vote at 11 a.m. ET Wednesday in what could be a pivotal moment for Jordan’s candidacy that will show whether he is losing or gaining support.
It took former Speaker Kevin McCarthy 15 rounds of voting in January to secure the gavel. But it’s not clear if Jordan has a viable path forward in the race amid the deep divisions within the House GOP conference and the resistance he faces.
Jordan projected optimism Tuesday evening, telling CNN’s Manu Raju he will “keep going.”
“We are going to keep working. We will get to the votes,” he said.
Uncertainty over Jordan’s candidacy threatens to prolong the state of paralysis the House is currently stuck in. Without a speaker, the chamber is effectively frozen, a precarious position that comes amid conflict abroad and a potential government shutdown next month.
The chaos has prompted some Republicans to call for expanding the powers of the interim speaker – Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina – though such a move would put the chamber into uncharted territory.
One of the 20 who voted against Jordan in the first round of voting later said he would support the Ohio Republican on the next ballot, but several Republicans indicated they would not be swayed, leaving Jordan’s fate up in the air.
Jordan is a polarizing figure in the speaker’s fight, a complicating factor in his effort to lock down votes. He is a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, has a longstanding reputation as a conservative agitator and helped found the hardline House Freedom Caucus. As the chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, he has also been a key figure in House GOP-led investigations.
Opponents to his speaker’s bid so far have included centrist Republicans concerned that the face of the House GOP would be a conservative hardliner as well as lawmakers still furious at the small group of Republicans who forced out McCarthy and then opposed House Majority Leader Steve Scalise’s bid for the gavel.
Scalise initially defeated Jordan inside the GOP conference to become the speaker nominee, but later dropped out of the race amid opposition to his candidacy.