Oct 18, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Jim Jordan's detractors say they're just getting started

Rep. Don Bacon. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Opponents of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) are projecting their ranks will only continue to grow if the Judiciary Committee chair contests a third ballot to become House speaker.

Why it matters: It's a dire position for both Jordan and House Republicans as they try to end a two-week speaker vacancy that has paralyzed the House.

  • Jordan's support slipped on the second ballot Tuesday as he picked up two Republican defectors but lost four more.

What they're saying: "The expectation is ... that there will be some others that will move away from the Jordan candidacy," Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) said. "The chatter I'm hearing is about the need to move on."

  • Womack said he expects three to five more Republicans to defect from Jordan — and possibly more. He cited a "collective opinion" that while Jordan is "perfectly suited" for his panel chairmanship, he "does not possess the skillsets needed to be an effective speaker."
  • Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) said he "absolutely" expects at least three to five more defections, telling Axios: "We know the names."
  • "If we move to a third round, we already know the opposition is on track to grow," Rep. John Rutherford (R-Fla.) said in a statement. "It's time for Rep. Jordan to understand this race is over."

What we're hearing: One House Republican who voted for Jordan on the first two ballots told Axios they plan to vote against him on the third.

  • "I think they never wanted to be there to begin with but promised Jim they were going to give him a vote or two," Bacon said of some members who voted for Jordan on the first two ballots but may flip on the next.
  • Bacon said he has colleagues "coming up to me saying, 'Don, I've got to vote for Jordan, but thank god you're doing what you're doing.'"

The other side: Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said he supports Jordan going for another round.

  • "He's a fighter, these are tough times, we need somebody who's going to be resolved in what he's trying to do," Hern told reporters. "Clearly he's out working and that's what you've got to do."

Yes, but: If Jordan's opposition "continues to grow to 22, 24, 30, 35, people start wearing down," Hern said, "I think that will be what drives the decision he needs to make."

Zoom in: Several of the members said they were aggrieved by some of the hardball tactics of Jordan's supporters.

  • "It seems like every time you turn around there is another attack," Womack said. "Our numbers are being shared on social media."
  • Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa), who voted for Jordan on the first ballot, said in a statement her "initial concerns about threatening tactics of Jim Jordan's supporters" only increased "despite assurances."
  • After voting against Jordan on Wednesday, Miller-Meeks said she "received credible death threats and a barrage of threatening calls," and that the "proper authorities have been notified[.]"

Jordan spokesperson Russell Dye said in a statement that the threats are "abhorrent" and have "no place in civil discourse," adding, "No one should receive threats and it needs to stop. We have condemned these actions repeatedly."

  • "No American should accost another for their beliefs," Jordan said in a post on X. "We condemn all threats against our colleagues and it is imperative that we come together."

What we're watching: Several of Jordan's foes said they want a "consensus" choice for speaker.

  • "I do think it's going to have to be a good conservative Republican who is liked by the other side and can work with the other side," said Womack.
  • Hern, who previously explored a bid for speaker, suggested interest in a run if Jordan withdraws: "As I've always said, if a member wants to nominate me, I'm certainly not afraid to look at it."

Go deeper: Jim Jordan's zombie campaign for speaker

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