Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, the GOP’s choice to become the next Speaker of the House, failed to win the position during the first round of voting on Tuesday.
Jordan received 200 votes, all from Republicans, in support of him becoming the next Speaker. New York Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries attained 212 votes, also all from his own party, but isn’t expected to be a contender for the speakership as Republicans hold a majority in the House.
Twenty Republicans didn’t vote for Jordan, a somewhat expected outcome in the first round of voting, as many in the conference opposed his selection as the speaker-designate, due in part to his extremist right-wing positions and his strong loyalty to Donald Trump.
Among the names that the dissenting 20 Republicans voted for were former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-California), former Speaker-designate for Republicans Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), former New York GOP congressman Lee Zeldin, Rep. Tom Massie (R-Kentucky), Rep. Tom Cole (R-Oklahoma), Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minnesota) and Rep. Mike Garcia (R-California).
While Jordan losing on the first ballot was a predicted outcome, what’s less certain is whether those 20 Republicans will change their votes in subsequent ballots. It’s possible that many simply voted against him this round because they wanted to show their constituents initial opposition, but will ultimately support him later on. A good handful of Republicans, however, are planning to oppose Jordan no matter what.
How many of those Republicans exist is anyone’s guess, and it’s unclear whether their numbers exceed the number of votes Jordan can afford to lose in order to be named speaker later on.
Jordan was nominated by Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-New York), a member of his leadership team. During her speech formally nominating him, Stefanik mentioned Jordan’s time as a wrestling coach, which elicited laughter and jeering from Democrats in the chamber due to allegations that Jordan ignored claims of sexual assault from his student-athletes at Ohio State University during his tenure there.
Democrats were united in voting for Jeffries, with no defections from within the conference. When Jeffries’s name was called to vote for himself, the Democratic side of the House gave him a standing ovation and cheered for several seconds. While Jordan received similar treatment from his conference when his name was called, some Republican lawmakers who were voting against him refused to stand.
After the vote tally was counted and made official, the House was adjourned for a recess, presumably to allow Jordan to court the wayward votes to support him in the next round. That vote’s success will likely determine if more votes are held later today — if no votes change, for example, it may cause Jordan to reconsider his run for the speakership. If a few names join in supporting him, however, it could mean more votes will be held later today or this week.
A second vote is likely to happen later on Tuesday. Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) told Fox News’s Sean Hannity that he believes the next vote will happen around 6 p.m., although he didn’t appear optimistic regarding Jordan’s chances to win the speakership at that time, predicting that at least one of the 20 Republican lawmakers who voted for someone else would switch over to Jordan.
The speaker of the House position has been vacant for two weeks, leaving the House unable to conduct any business after former Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the position, becoming the first speaker in U.S. history to lose a motion to vacate vote in that chamber.
McCarthy himself only attained the position of speaker after multiple ballots were cast over the course of several days back in January. The amount of ballots that it took for him to win was viewed as an embarrassment to the party, as was his ouster from the position earlier this month. If Jordan fails to win in subsequent ballots and drops out of the speaker race, it could be yet another embarrassing moment for the party.
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