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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Jordan Nears Speakership, Yet Republican Resistance Persists

Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio made substantial headway on Monday in his quest to become the Speaker of the House, garnering support from some of his most prominent opponents within the divided GOP ranks. Nevertheless, there remained deep reservations about promoting him to the House’s top leadership position.

Several establishment Republicans who had initially voiced their reluctance to vote for Mr. Jordan, a hard-line co-founder of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus, fell in line after a concerted push from his right-wing allies and a series of one-on-one conversations with him.

These about-faces indicated that Mr. Jordan was approaching the 217 votes required for election in a scheduled vote around noon on Tuesday. However, the outcome remained far from certain.

Sources close to Mr. Jordan, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, stated that the number of Republican holdouts had dwindled from around 50 to approximately 10. While this is still sufficient to obstruct his election, he planned to persist, hoping that his remaining opponents would relent under pressure on the House floor.

Following a two-hour meeting with House Republicans on Monday night at the Capitol, Mr. Jordan signaled his intention to force a series of floor votes on Tuesday until a Speaker was chosen.

If Mr. Jordan, aged 59, becomes Speaker, it would mark a remarkable ascent within Congress, taking him from a right-wing maverick on the fringes of his party to the second-highest position in the presidential line of succession.

His rise would be a clear indicator of how far House Republicans have shifted to the right during Mr. Jordan’s 16-year tenure in the chamber. It would also underscore the significant influence wielded by former President Donald J. Trump, who counts Mr. Jordan among his closest allies.

A small group of hard-right Republicans, most of whom support Mr. Jordan, recently ousted Kevin McCarthy as Speaker. Subsequently, a larger contingent of Mr. Jordan’s backers declined to support the party’s initial choice for Speaker, Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who withdrew abruptly last week.

One member, Representative Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania, proposed granting more authority to Representative Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina, the temporary Speaker responsible for conducting the chamber’s affairs for the next month until the conflict could be resolved.

Mr. Jordan secured the party’s nomination following Mr. Scalise’s withdrawal, but many Republicans indicated they would not support him on the House floor.

This was before Mr. Jordan and his allies mounted a public pressure campaign against lawmakers who resisted his election.

Amy Kremer, a political activist who leads Women for America First, posted a list of 12 members last Friday. She provided their office phone numbers and urged her followers to call and express support for Mr. Jordan. The list included Representatives Ann Wagner of Missouri, Mike Rogers of Alabama, and Carlos Gimenez of Florida, all of whom had publicly expressed opposition to Mr. Jordan.

Ms. Wagner, an advocate for Mr. Scalise, had previously deemed Mr. Jordan’s candidacy a “nonstarter” and accused him of displaying poor sportsmanship after his loss to Mr. Scalise. However, on Monday, she stated that Mr. Jordan had won her support.

Mr. Jordan also gained the backing of Representative Ken Calvert of California, the Chair of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, who asserted that he had spoken with Mr. Jordan about restoring the House’s path toward national security and appropriations objectives.

Another initial holdout, Representative Vern Buchanan of Florida, expressed his continued frustration but stated he would vote for Mr. Jordan based on the need for a functioning House.

Mr. Gimenez affirmed his continued support for Mr. McCarthy and resisted the hard-right rebels who had ousted him.

Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews
I am a Political News Journalist of The National Era
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