Jim Jordan is on track to lose a second ballot to secure the House speakership, with 22 Republicans voting against him on Wednesday — two more than the 20 who voted against him on Tuesday. Jordan can only afford to lose four caucus members if he wants to win the gavel.
House Republicans appear wholly incapable of bringing forth a resolution to the leadership crisis that has brought Congress to a standstill since the ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy earlier this month. The House only has 30 days left to resolve the budgetary disputes among the GOP that brought the government to the verge of a shutdown in late September and has remained unable to address the ongoing military and humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza.
Supporters for Jordan have leveled an intense pressure campaign against the 20 Republicans who refused to back the Ohio representative in Tuesday’s vote. Politico reported that the wife of Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) even received a series of anonymous text messages threatening her husband’s political career if he did not “step up and be a leader and help the Republican Party.”
“Your husband will not hold any political office ever again,” one text message read.
On Sunday, Axios obtained an email from a producer for Fox host Sean Hannity, who frequently has Jordan on his program, that had been sent to Republican House members opposing his nomination. “Hannity would like to know why during a war breaking out between Israel and Hamas, with the war in Ukraine, with the wide open borders, with a budget that’s unfinished why would Rep XXX be against Rep Jim Jordan for speaker? Please let us know when Rep XXXX plans on opening The People’s House so work can be done,” the email read.
One lawmaker told The Washington Post that Hannity had contacted them directly to lobby on Jordan’s behalf.
The pressure campaign hasn’t worked, and Jordan’s stumbles once again throw the speakership race into uncertainty.
According to Punchbowl News, Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) plans to file a resolution empowering current Speaker Pro Tem Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) to temporarily fill the position. McHenry, a longtime ally of McCarthy, was selected by the ousted speaker to oversee the election of his successor — a largely ceremonial role.
On Tuesday, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries did not commit to supporting a bid to empower McHenry but told reporters that he has “respect for Patrick McHenry. I think he is respected on our side of the aisle.”
“There are a whole host of other Republicans who are respected on our side of the aisle. Jim Jordan is not one of them,” Jeffries added.
Jordan himself has indicated that he would not support the resolution. “I think we should get a Republican speaker. I got 90 percent of the Republicans in the conference supporting me,” he told reporters. Unfortunately for Jordan, he needs more than 90 percent. McCarthy had the support of all but eight members of the conference. Jordan remains ever further from away gaining the gavel than McCarthy was from keeping it.