WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Jim Jordan lost the second round of balloting for House speaker on Wednesday, failing to convince his Republican detractors to support him to replace the ousted Kevin McCarthy.
Jordan lost 20 Republican votes in the first round of balloting Tuesday and lost 22 on Wednesday. A third round of voting is expected on Thursday.
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There will be no further votes for House speaker on Wednesday after Republicans reached an impasse on how to move forward with picking a leader, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The next speaker vote will take place on Thursday, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private negotiations.
Jordan, who was nominated by the Republican conference last week, has faced back-to-back defeats as a number of moderate GOP lawmakers have refused to throw their support behind him.
On the second ballot Wednesday, he was opposed by 22 Republicans, two more than he lost in first round voting the day before.
Republicans’ next move is unclear. A bipartisan group of lawmakers have floated an extraordinary plan — to give the interim speaker pro tempore, Rep. Patrick McHenry, more power to reopen the immobilized House and temporarily conduct routine business. But it’s unclear if majority Republicans will pursue that.
— Associated Press writer Farnoush Amiri
As the House recessed after another failed speaker vote, a large group of demonstrators from Jewish advocacy groups gathered at one of the Capitol office buildings to call for a ceasefire in the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.
The dozens of demonstrators chanted, “Not in our name!” in reference to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in response to a recent attack by Hamas. Some were arrested for illegally demonstrating in a Capitol office building.
Without a speaker, many members of the House have been frustrated by the chamber’s inability to pass legislation, particularly in response to the war.
Police lined up detained protesters outside the Cannon Office Building, where they were being shuttled to a temporary holding area in the Capitol complex. None of the protesters was in the Capitol building itself.
Democrats say they are waiting for Republicans to reach out for their support to elect a House speaker after two weeks without one.
Rep. Katherine Clark of Massachusetts, the No. 2 House Democrat, says, “The ball’s in their court. This is their civil war.”
Democrats met briefly Wednesday for a closed-door strategy session after Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan lost the speaker’s vote for a second day in a row.
Clark says she hopes Republicans will come to Democrats to talk about alternatives to move forward.
Bipartisan groups of lawmakers have been floating ways to operate the House by giving greater power to the interim speaker, Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, or another temporary speaker.
House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries says “all options are on the table to end the Republican civil war.”
Jeffries made the comment Wednesday after majority Republicans failed for a second day to elect Rep. Jim Jordan as speaker. The final vote total was 199 for Jordan and 212 for Jeffries, with both short of the 217 votes needed to win the gavel.
On Wednesday, Jeffries reiterated his earlier call to reopen the House in a “bipartisan way.”
He has shown willingness to support a Republican speaker but also wants Republicans to negotiate with Democrats for their support.
Bipartisan groups of lawmakers have been floating ways to operate the House by giving greater power to Rep. Patrick McHenry, the speaker pro tem, or another temporary speaker. The House had never ousted its speaker before Kevin McCarthy two weeks ago, and the lawmakers are in rarely tested terrain.
Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says Jordan should have the opportunity to earn the nomination for the speaker’s gavel.
After Jordan failed on a second ballot Wednesday, McCarthy noted that it took 15 rounds of balloting before he himself was successful in January. He was ousted from the job two weeks ago.
He also said he had two months to wrangle the necessary votes. Jordan, he said, has only had days.
When asked what advice he would give to Jordan, McCarthy said he would encourage him to talk to members and listen. He said he “definitely” wouldn’t tell Jordan to give up after only two or three rounds of votes.
Jordan is vowing to stay in the race for House speaker despite shedding support in the second round of voting.
The Ohio congressman said he would meet with lawmakers individually, but did not know when he would seek a third round of voting. He came up 18 votes short of winning the gavel Wednesday.
“We picked up some today, a couple dropped off, but they voted for me before and I think they can come back again, so we’ll keep talking to members, keep working on it,” Jordan told reporters.
He said he felt he could bring the conference together.
“We’ve got a complete cross-section of the conference. There’s, you know, 20 individuals we need to talk to. We continue to do that.”
Jordan has again come up short in his bid to be House speaker.
The final vote was 212 for Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries and 199 for Jordan, with others voting for alternatives.
The Ohio congressman lost 22 Republican votes, two more than in the first round and 18 more than he could afford to lose.
It was not immediately clear what the next steps would be. The conference is debating whether to put a resolution on the floor that would give the temporary speaker more power or adjourn to discuss a path forward in a closed-door conference.
Jordan said before the second round of voting began that he supports putting the resolution to a floor vote.
Jordan appears to be losing Republican support from Tuesday’s vote for House speaker, but he has picked up a couple of new backers.
On Wednesday, Jordan gained Rep. Doug LaMalfa of California, who cast a protest vote for Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday, as well as Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Florida, who was absent.
Twenty House Republicans voted against Jordan for House speaker on Tuesday, and his numbers looked even worse on Wednesday, though the vote was continuing and members are allowed to change their minds up until the end.
Republican Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania has cast his vote for former House Speaker John Boehner.
Kelly backed Rep. Steve Scalise in the first round of voting but switched his vote to Boehner for the second round.
Laughter and applause erupted from the Democratic side when Kelly said Boehner’s name.
Boehner was chased to early retirement in 2015 by threats of ouster from right-flank insurgents like those who toppled Kevin McCarthy.
Jordan could only afford to lose four Republican votes on Wednesday’s ballot and had already shed way more than that. Voting can change while the count continues.
The same Republicans who voted against Jordan for House speaker in the first round are so far voting against him in the second round as well.
Additionally, Jordan is shedding some of the centrists who had hesitantly supported him on the first ballot.
He needs to win 217 votes to win the speaker’s gavel. He only managed 200 votes on Tuesday’s ballot.
A number of Republicans from the New York delegation again voted for former Rep. Lee Zeldin. The members are from districts that Democrat Joe Biden won in 2020 and have faced immense pressure from the far right in recent weeks.
The second round of voting for House speaker doesn’t appear to be going any better for Jordan than the first round.
Jordan had exceeded the amount of GOP votes he could lose by the time the roll call reached the ‘D’ last names.
Republican Rep. Don Bacon, a leading centrist, cast the first GOP vote against Jordan, picking Kevin McCarthy instead. Bacon also voted against Jordan on Tuesday.
Reps. Vern Buchanan of Florida, Ken Buck of Colorado, Lori Chavez-DeRemer of Oregon and Anthony D’Esposito of New York also voted for alternatives to Jordan. Buchanan voted for Jordan on Tuesday.
Votes can still be changed as the process continues.
Democratic Rep. Pete Aguilar says in nominating Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries for House speaker that Jeffries received more votes than Jordan the previous day.
“15 days should be enough,” Aguilar said, referring to the time the House has been paralyzed from acting on legislation after McCarthy was ousted.
Aguilar also gave the nominating speech for Jeffries ahead of the first round of voting. He said the 212 votes that Jeffries won to Jordan’ 200 speaks for itself.
He says, “No amount of election denial can deny that.”
Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican who chairs the powerful Rules Committee, is delivering Jordan’s nomination speech as he tries for a second time to win support on the House floor.
He opened by referencing the floor debate during former Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s ouster and referring to the “state of chaos” in the House.
He made a practical argument that Republicans can end that by electing Jordan for speaker.
Cole said a speaker needs a spine of steel, and he said Jordan has that.
Jordan can lose up to four Republican votes on Wednesday’s vote and still become speaker.
But it will be a slog to get there. He lost 20 GOP votes in the first round of voting Tuesday.
To be elected speaker, a member must win more than half the votes in the chamber. The typically 435-member House currently has two vacancies, and one Democrat wasn’t present for Wednesday’s vote, so Jordan would need 217 to win.
On Tuesday’s first ballot, Jordan only managed to win 200 votes. Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries won 212, still short of the number needed.
A supporter of Jordan’s from the first round of voting for House speaker says he intends to back the Ohio congressman in the second round but not necessarily in the third round.
Republican Rep. Marc Molinaro of New York said shortly before Wednesday’s vote that he may change his vote on a third ballot, if there is one.
Molinaro was among 200 Republicans who backed Jordan in the first round, but Jordan still came up short, with 20 GOP defections. With Republicans holding such a narrow majority in the chamber, Jordan can only afford to lose a few votes and still be elected speaker.
A first-term New York Republican who voted against Jordan for speaker in the first round says he won’t support him in the second round, either.
Rep. Anthony D’Esposito voted for former Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York on Tuesday. He said while walking into Wednesday’s vote that he still won’t vote for Jordan.
D’Esposito was among 20 Republican holdouts for Jordan on Tuesday. Another defector says he anticipates that Jordan will lose even more votes on Wednesday as the Republican conference struggles to coalesce around a replacement for Kevin McCarthy two weeks after ousting him.
Rep. Patrick McHenry, the speaker pro tem, walked on to the House floor and dismissed questions about a resolution that would give him more powers as the conference struggles to elect a speaker.
“I’m going to the floor to support Jim Jordan,” the North Carolina Republican said ahead of Wednesday’s vote.
Bipartisan groups of lawmakers have been floating ways to operate the House by giving greater power to McHenry or another temporary speaker. The House had never ousted its speaker before Kevin McCarthy two weeks ago, and the lawmakers are in rarely tested terrain.
McHenry was named to the role of speaker pro tempore by McCarthy as part of a process established in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Never before used, the system was designed as a way to keep Congress functioning if leaders and lawmakers were killed or incapacitated. When he became speaker, McCarthy drafted a list of who should succeed him should something happen — and McHenry’s name was at the very top.
Jordan may be struggling to get the backing of his fellow House Republicans, but he seems to maintain the unwavering support of his constituents back in Ohio.
Jordan is a hometown boy whose Ohio State University wrestling coach title, conservative policies and never-say-die persona on Capitol Hill have earned him more devotion in his heavily gerrymandered district than he’s currently receiving in Congress.
“He says what he believes in because he’s there for the people,” said Betty Lemmon, a 77-year-old Republican from Champaign County.
Cynthia Leach, a Republican store owner in Urbana’s Monument Square, called Jordan “not easily persuaded” and “forceful” — qualities she admires in a leader.
JD Knopp, an 18-year-old from Mechanicsburg, is proud to be represented by Jordan and thinks he’ll make a great leader for a divided Republican Party. He likes that Jordan puts other politicians “in their place” and his “drain the swamp” mentality.
Jordan’s supporters are seeking to manage expectations ahead of the second round of balloting for House speaker.
Republican Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania posted on social media that the election is a fight to end the status quo, “and it ain’t easy.” He urged Jordan’s backers to “stay strong and keep praying.”
Perry made the post before the House gaveled into session Wednesday. The chamber has been without a permanent speaker since Kevin McCarthy was ousted from the top job two weeks ago.
Jordan lost 20 votes on Tuesday, and one key Republican holdout is predicting even more defections Wednesday.
Jordan says the House should vote on a resolution that some centrist Republicans are pushing that would give the speaker pro tempore more power if they can’t agree on a permanent speaker.
“Let’s get an answer. We’ve been at this for two weeks,” Jordan told reporters just minutes before the House was gaveled into session for a second round of voting for speaker Wednesday. “The American people deserve to have their government functioning.”
Jordan is hoping to win the speaker’s gavel on the second ballot, but it’s looking increasingly unlikely. One holdout from Tuesday’s first round of voting is predicting Jordan will lose even more votes Wednesday.
A key holdout to Jim Jordan’s bid for House speaker says he thinks Jordan will lose more votes on the second round of balloting.
Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida said before Wednesday’s vote that he thinks the path will grow even more difficult for Jordan. The Florida congressman was among 20 Republicans who voted against Jordan in the first round.
Diaz-Balart also said that the strategy of trying to pressure Republicans into supporting Jordan is backfiring. He says honorable, dignified members of Congress oppose Jordan and threatening them will only make it worse.
When asked about whether he had personally received threats because of his opposition to Jordan, he declined to provide specifics, saying, “I keep my private stuff private.”
More generally, he said, “the nanosecond that anybody thinks they can intimidate me or threaten me is the day that I shut down.”
Bipartisan groups of lawmakers have been floating ways to operate the House by giving greater power to the interim speaker, Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, or another temporary speaker. The House had never ousted its speaker before Kevin McCarthy, and the lawmakers are in rarely tested terrain.
Two former Republican House speakers, Newt Gingrich and John Boehner, have come out in support of the idea.
Gingrich said that while he likes Jordan, he has “no faith” the nominee can get much beyond the 200 votes he won in the first vote.
“We can’t sit around and suck our thumbs and hope the world will wait until the House Republicans get their act together,” Gingrich told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on his show.
Boehner reposted Gingrich’s views on social media, adding, “I agree.”
The two men have deep experience with the subject. Both were chased to early retirement by threats of ouster from right-flank insurgents like those who toppled McCarthy.