House GOP Speaker nominee Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio) is projecting confidence as he moves to put his colleagues on the record with a floor vote on his Speakership at noon Tuesday.
But several GOP lawmakers Monday evening said they plan to withhold their support from the Ohio Republican when his nomination hits the floor — enough opposition to sink Jordan’s chances of clinching the gavel and make way for another multi-ballot Speakership race.
Some of them left a closed-door conference meeting Monday night pledging their support for another candidate. Others suggested they would announce their final decision on the House floor.
Jordan can only afford to lose four Republicans and still win the Speakership, assuming all members are present and voting for a candidate.
Still, Jordan signaled that the House will move forward with a vote Tuesday.
“Look, I felt good walking into the conference. I feel even better now. We’ve got a few more people we want to talk to, listen to. And then we’ll have a vote tomorrow,” Jordan said while leaving the meeting.
Jordan got some major momentum earlier Monday, when several Republicans who had indicated Friday they were strongly against him for Speaker flipped to endorse him. Those included House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (Ala.) along with Reps. Ann Wagner (Mo.), Ken Calvert (Calif.) and Vern Buchanan (Fla.).
But Jordan — who emerged as the conference’s nominee Friday first with 124 votes, and then 152 votes, when members were asked if they would support him on the House floor — still has a ways to go to secure support from the 217 Republicans he needs to guarantee him the gavel.
Jordan’s detractors are not united behind an alternative.
Reps. Carlos A. Gimenez (R-Fla.) and Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) said they plan to vote for ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on the floor Tuesday, and Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) said he is “inclined” to do the same. McCarthy is supporting Jordan.
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), on the other hand, said he will vote for House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) on the floor for at least the first ballot, as did Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.).
Many Republicans remain frustrated that Scalise had to withdraw after winning the GOP nomination for Speaker last week amid intense opposition from Jordan’s supporters.
“I’m gonna vote the way I voted the first time, the first election we had,” Kelly said. “I’m voting for Steve Scalise.”
“They don’t need to lecture me on the way things work. I’m 75 years old. I’ve watched it my entire life how things work. This is what tears teams apart. This doesn’t make them closer,” Kelly said.
Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) said, “No ma’am, I think we still need conversations,” when asked if he knows how she will vote on Jordan’s nomination, and Rep. Juan Ciscomani (R-Ariz.) is waiting to announce his decision Tuesday. Several other GOP lawmakers also stayed coy Monday night, declining to answer questions from reporters.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) said Monday night that he is opposed to Jordan “right now” but noted that he was scheduled to meet with Jordan later that night. One matter he wanted to bring up, he told reporters, was the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
“If he’s gonna lead this conference during a presidential election cycle, particularly a presidential election year with primaries and caucuses around the country, he’s gonna have to be strong and say Donald Trump didn’t win the election,” Buck said.
And in a wild card for the Jordan holdouts, Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) said she will withhold her support from Jordan if he is short of 217 votes needed to clinch the gavel on the House floor. She said she may vote “present.”
The Indiana Republican is frustrated that the conference did not “reconcile differences” behind closed doors before taking Jordan’s nomination to the floor — as was done with McCarthy — and will “have an objection” if he does not have 217 votes in the chamber.
“I truly believe if he doesn’t, we need to go back and have … meeting and try to reconcile our differences privately versus going to floor and have a show that will only benefit the other side,” she told reporters.
“If he doesn’t have 217, the best I can do maybe vote present,” she said, later adding: “If I’m 217 I’m fine, you know, I’m OK to be 217. But if he has 210, I’m not gonna be 211.”
While some GOP members are bitter about McCarthy’s ouster and Scalise being forced to withdraw — fuming at the previous holdouts for forcing the GOP into this situation and not wanting to reward them — some members are urging a high-road approach.
“If you’re upset with the fact that Kevin was vacated, with the fact that Steve didn’t get it, show to the people who divided our conference before — show them what it means to be a good teammate and vote for Jim Jordan,” Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) said.
A new war in Israel and a looming Nov. 17 government shutdown deadline are also putting pressure on Republicans to act and elect a Speaker who can move legislation on the House floor.
Kelly, the Pennsylvania congressman who said he would vote for Scalise, introduced a resolution Monday to officially elect acting Speaker Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) as Speaker pro tempore until Nov. 17 in order to empower him to move legislation on the floor.
The resolution “does take the pressure off those that are no’s” on Jordan, Kelly said, “because they’re gonna get crucified back home. They’re gonna get crucified.”
McHenry reiterated Monday, though, that he was not in support of the House expanding his powers, and expressed support for Jordan.
“I support our Speaker-designate,” McHenry said. “I supported Scalise as our Speaker designee, and I now support Jim Jordan as our Speaker-designate.”
Asked if he was surprised at some of Jordan’s holdouts flipping Monday, McHenry said Jordan “wanted time for the weekend, and hopefully it was productive.”