Oct 16, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Anti-Jordan vote collapses amid conservative pressure campaign

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Key House Republicans adamantly opposed to electing Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) as speaker have suddenly laid down their arms, clearing the way for a vote Tuesday that could hand the gavel to one of the most polarizing lawmakers in Congress.

Why it matters: The bulk of Jordan's math problem effectively melted away overnight. The result may be a short-term end to the GOP chaos that has paralyzed Congress for the last two weeks — and the improbable empowerment of one of former President Trump's fiercest defenders.

Driving the news: Jordan won a huge endorsement this morning from House Armed Services Committee Chair Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), who had told reporters on Friday there was nothing the Freedom Caucus co-founder could do to win his support.

  • That was followed by another surprise endorsement from Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), an ally to House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), who said Friday she could "absolutely not" back Jordan — calling him "disgraceful."
  • Jordan also earned the backing of Reps. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Drew Ferguson (R-Ga.) and Rob Wittman (R-Va.) — a quick succession of reversals that suggested Jordan could have enough momentum to win on the House floor.

Yes, but: These were the most public of "no" votes. Dozens of Republicans have not yet weighed in, meaning a rump caucus of holdouts could emerge on the floor Tuesday.

  • Reps. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.), Carlos A. Giménez (R-Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), Don Bacon (R-Neb.) and Ken Buck (R-Colo.) all indicated Monday they still oppose Jordan.
  • GOP sources have indicated there's a high possibility Jordan loses support if the vote goes to a second ballot.

How we got here: After Jordan's nomination in an internal GOP conference vote on Friday, 55 Republicans indicated they would not support the conservative firebrand on the House floor.

  • Jordan is extremely popular with the MAGA base, which comprises the bloc of Republican voters most likely to dictate whether GOP members of Congress can survive primary challenges.

Zoom in: Sean Hannity's Fox News show sent emails to potential defectors grilling them on their opposition to Jordan, a strong-arming tactic that irked some lawmakers — but which may have ultimately proved effective.

  • The threat of Democrats working with exasperated Republican centrists to elect their own speaker also likely spooked some GOP holdouts into dropping their opposition to Jordan.

The intrigue: Four House Republicans walked away from conversations with Jordan under the impression he will allow a floor vote on linking Ukraine funding with Israel funding if he becomes speaker.

  • A Jordan spokesperson denied that he made any promises, but the discussions appear to have been enough to sway some national security hawks previously critical of his Ukraine stance.
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