House GOP Drops Jordan As Speaker Nominee
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Republican nominee for speaker of the House, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., right, are seen on the House floor of the U.S. Capitol after a second ballot in which Jordan failed to receive enough votes to win the position on Wednesday, October 18, 2023.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

After Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) failed to get enough support to win the speakership in three House floor votes, Republicans have elected to move on.

GOP lawmakers voted to drop Jordan as their nominee in a new secret ballot in a Republican conference meeting on Friday. The tally reportedly was 86-112. A new candidate forum is expected to take place on Monday.

“We need to come together and figure out who our Speaker’s going to be. I’m going to work as hard as I can to help that individual so that we can go help the American people,” Jordan told reporters after the secret ballot.

This marks the second downfall of a GOP nominee in the 17 days that followed Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) being removed as speaker. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) ended his candidacy as the GOP’s nominee last week before a House floor vote could happen as he faced opposition from a small group of Republicans.

Across a trio of ballots this week, the number of GOP holdouts who defied Jordan’s candidacy grew from 20 members in the first round to 25 members in the third. Democrats have voted in a bloc supporting their nominee, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), but no single member has managed to receive a simple majority in the chamber that was needed to secure victory.

“We’re in a very bad place right now,” McCarthy told reporters after the third speaker vote.

In a last-ditch effort on Friday, Republicans who voted with Democrats to oust McCarthy as speaker earlier this month sent out a letter saying they were prepared to “accept censure, suspension, or removal from the Conference” to get Jordan elected speaker. The letter had the name of all eight Republicans who voted against McCarthy, but Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) — who has been voting against Jordan — told reporters his inclusion was a “misunderstanding” and he was later removed in a second edition.

The letter did not appear to sway the conference, as it then voted to bump Jordan as its nominee.

There has been a sense of urgency to come to a resolution as a government shutdown is possible by mid-November without a spending deal and members want to respond to the Israel-Hamas conflict.


Members have floated a resolution to explicitly give Patrick McHenry (R-NC), who is serving as speaker pro tempore, expanded authority amid doubts that he has the power to get legislative business done in the short term. Jordan even reportedly backed a proposal that would empower McHenry through January, a move that would have given the Ohio Republican time to attempt to solidify support for his candidacy.

However, some Republicans oppose the resolution, raising concerns about the precedent the proposal could set, questioning the constitutionality of the idea, and warning it would require a bipartisan vote with concessions to the Democrats to pass. On the Democratic Party’s side of the aisle, Jeffries suggested the House “act together in a bipartisan way to elevate a speaker pro temp,” whether it’s McHenry or another individual.

NBC News reported McHenry suggested he would step down as speaker pro tempore if members tried to move forward legislation without a vote to explicitly broaden his authority. Such an exit would prompt another selection from McCarthy’s secret list in case of a speakership vacancy.

Jordan, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, had received an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner in the 2024 presidential contest. Most Republicans did rally around his candidacy. McCarthy and Scalise were among those to vote for the Ohio Republican, as was Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), the congressman who prompted the successful no-confidence vote against McCarthy after the House passed a bipartisan continuing resolution to keep the government funded for 45 days.

GOP holdouts against Jordan raised political gripes or shared concerns about the priorities of their home districts not being met. A few members said they received death threats after opposing Jordan’s candidacy. Jordan issued a statement condemning threats against his colleagues.

Now a Republican candidate forum is slated for Monday evening at 6:30 p.m. ET. Individuals reportedly have until Sunday at noon to file to participate as candidates. A nomination ballot would follow on Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. ET. McHenry indicated to reporters that his goal was to have another House floor vote as early as Tuesday.

Some Republican lawmakers have already begun to pitch themselves as candidates for speaker, including Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA), who lost to Jordan for the nomination last week. Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, and Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI) also said they would compete.

Others considering a bid or were being talked about as possible contenders include Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-MN), Budget Chairman Jodey Arrington (R-TX), Homeland Security Chairman Mark Green (R-TN), Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA), Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), and Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL).

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