House Republicans nominated Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) for Speaker on Friday, the conference’s second attempt to find a candidate who can win the gavel on the House floor.
Jordan, currently chair of the House Judiciary Committee, earned 124 votes to win the nomination over Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.). Scott had mounted a last-minute bid for Speaker that was largely seen as a protest to Jordan’s candidacy.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), the No. 2 House Republican, had narrowly defeated Jordan for the Speaker nomination earlier this week. But when it was clear he would not get enough support to win on the House floor — with many holdouts still pledging to support Jordan — he withdrew from the race on Wednesday.
“I think we can unite the conference,” Jordan said Friday morning before the vote. “I’ve been saying this for a week, I think I’m one individual who can bring our team together and then help our team go tell the country what we’re doing and why it matters to them.”
The fast-talking hard-line conservative’s official nomination comes amid intense turbulence in the House GOP, and it is far from certain that Jordan can win the gavel on the House floor. The conference has been rudderless and chaotic since the House ousted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) last week.
Jordan will go up against Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) on the House floor — if he can secure enough support.
A second vote Friday asking members if they would support Jordan on the House floor as the nominee came in at 152-55, far short of the 217 he needs to clinch the gavel.
And some Republicans are sharply opposed to Jordan’s bid.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), chair of the House Armed Services Committee, told reporters Friday that there was nothing that Jordan could do to win his support.
During a Thursday night closed-door House GOP conference meeting, Scott stood up and announced his opposition to Jordan, according to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and another House Republican.
But following Friday’s internal vote, Scott threw his support behind Jordan — and encouraged the conference to follow suit.
“I believe in the process, we’ve had the vote, Jim Jordan won the vote, the party should unite behind the person who wins the vote, and we need a Speaker of the House,” Scott told reporters.
He said the first thing he did when Jordan clinched the nomination “was to endorse him for Speaker of the House.”
Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) said Friday that he is not supporting Jordan, and predicted that he would not be able to win enough support to succeed on the House floor — which would spur a new candidate rush.
“Then they’re going to have four or five other members of Congress that are really, I think, pretty strong members who will get in the race,” Buchanan said.
Buchanan declined to say who those candidates would be, but said that those potential candidates have already been talking to him about future bids if Jordan fails.
Jordan’s nomination is nonetheless a notable mile marker in the ideological development of the Republican Party, considering Jordan — the founding chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus — once challenged McCarthy for the conference’s top spot. Now, Jordan could be rocketing up to the top slot despite never having served in a House GOP leadership position.
It would also give former President Trump — who endorsed Jordan for Speaker last week — a staunch ally running the House.
Republican Reps. Dusty Johnson (S.D.), Kevin Hern (Okla.) and Nicole Malliotakis (N.Y.) nominated Jordan for the Speaker position in a Friday candidate forum, a source told The Hill. Earlier in the week, Reps. Kelly Armstrong (N.D.), Erin Houchin (Ind.), and Mike Carey (Ohio) delivered nominating speeches for him.
Since being elected to Congress in 2006, Jordan dove into the right flank of the conference: First as chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee, and then as the founding chairman of the tactically confrontational conservative House Freedom Caucus — which was credited with pushing out former Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) in 2015. Jordan grew into an ally of former President Trump when he was in office, becoming a frequent presence on Fox News as he learned to speak directly to him.
In 2018, Jordan mounted a challenge to McCarthy for the conference’s top spot, getting 43 votes to McCarthy’s 159. But after that, McCarthy, rather than ostracizing Jordan, bought the right flank into the fold and elevated him.
Now, Jordan is no longer a gadfly. As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, he is front and center in congressional investigations into the Biden administration, Hunter Biden and defending Trump from various probes.
And in return, he became a staunch ally and defender of McCarthy.
Jordan’s supporters touted his aggressive style and ability to articulate the GOP position.
“How many rounds was it in ‘Rocky?’” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said earlier this week. “Look, you’re talking about some tough characters. Jim Jordan was an all-state champion wrestler, he can go the equivalent of 15 rounds. I’m not sure how they do rounds in wrestling, but he’s capable of doing whatever it takes.”
While Jordan is well-liked in the House GOP conference, his potential Speakership has also worried GOP moderates, who wonder if his leadership would be a liability in their districts.
Asked about that skepticism on Friday, Jordan said: “We got broad support across the conference.”
The scramble to fill the Speaker vacancy comes after the House booted McCarthy from the Speakership last week, marking the first time since 1910 that the chamber held a vote on toppling its top lawmaker and the first-ever successful attempt.
A group of eight Republicans, led by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), joined with Democrats in voting to oust McCarthy from his post. The GOP lawmakers were in-part frustrated with McCarthy’s handling of the government funding process, with the last straw being the California Republican’s decision to put a “clean” continuing resolution on the floor to avert a government shutdown. The stopgap passed with the help of Democrats, infuriating McCarthy’s detractors.
Updated at 6:38 p.m.