House GOP 'Back To The Drawing Board' After Jim Jordan's Exit From Speaker Race

A majority of Republicans voted against keeping Jordan as their nominee Friday.

WASHINGTON ― House Republicans hit the reset button on their search for a new House speaker on Friday after Rep. Jim Jordan’s bid came crashing down following another defeat on the House floor.

Republicans voted against keeping Jordan as their speaker-designee by a margin of 86 to 112, lawmakers told reporters after their meeting in the Capitol basement. Jordan then accepted the result.

“Unfortunately, Jim is no longer going to be the nominee,” Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters. “We will have to go back to the drawing board.”

Republicans have had no leader since chucking McCarthy out of the speaker’s suite earlier this month because he’d been overly cooperative with Democrats.

All House business has ceased as Republicans try to find a replacement for McCarthy, but they’ve been unable to agree among themselves after first nominating Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and then Jordan.

“We put the question to them. They made a different decision. I told the conference that I appreciated getting to work with everyone, talking to everyone,” Jordan told reporters after the vote.

Only six hours earlier, Jordan held a press conference where he appeared to be ready to force the House to keep voting until he got the needed number of votes. “Look, there’s been multiple rounds of votes for speaker before. We all know that,” he said at the time.

At least 20 Republicans voted against Jordan on the House floor three separate times this week, depriving him of the 217 votes he needed to become speaker. Republican control just 221 seats in the House.

Jordan had told HuffPost before the secret ballot among Republicans on Friday that he intended to keep trying to win his colleagues over. He said he had lost his most recent House floor vote by a smaller margin than some people expected.

House members will now head home for the weekend.

“Monday, we’re going to come back and start over,” Scalise told reporters.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) fell short three times in House votes over his potential speakership.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) fell short three times in House votes over his potential speakership.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Now Republicans will go back to the beginning of the process, seeing who among them is interested in running for speaker, having those candidates answer questions at a forum and voting to select a third speaker-designate. The process will likely take at least a few days next week.

With Jordan, Scalise and presumably McCarthy off the table, the list of actual and possible candidates is a lengthy one.

Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), who as party whip is the third-ranking leader, is reportedly running, as is Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.). Donalds received a few floor votes for speaker back in January, during the marathon 15-vote series that resulted in McCarthy getting the gavel.

Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.), who ran as token opposition in the party vote that originally made Jordan the speaker-designate, is running again.

Another possibility is Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), who chairs the Republican Study Committee, the House GOP’s biggest intraparty group. He’s known as a hawk on government spending and possesses conservative credibility with his colleagues.

Other names that have been mentioned include House Budget Committee Chairman Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) and Rep. Jack Bergman (R-Mich.). Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), the popular chairman of the House Rules Committee, has seen his name bandied about but has insisted he is not interested in the job.

And McCarthy may not be out. McCarthy’s votes on the House floor tally vote fell to only two Friday but he remains popular in the conference. He gave a speech endorsing Jordan, which would be seen as being a team player, and got more floor votes from Republicans when he was ousted than anyone else has gotten on the floor or behind closed doors in the conference.

McCarthy told reporters Friday that the group of eight Republicans who made his ouster possible had done “insurmountable” damage to the country.

“I’ve never seen this amount of damage done [from] just a few people for their own personalities, for their own fear of what’s going through,” McCarthy said.

“I’m concerned about where we go from here.”


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