The House Republicans selected Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) as their nominee for speaker a day after their initial candidate, Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA), failed to garner sufficient party support to win the majority vote on the House floor.
In a meeting held behind closed doors on Friday, Republicans voted 124-81 to nominate Jordan, giving him the advantage over Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA), who announced his own long-shot bid for the speakership earlier that day, as The Washington Examiner reported.
It is currently unclear when the Republicans will refer the issue to the full House for a vote, as Jordan still needs 217 votes.
In a second vote, 152 Republicans committed to supporting Jordan on the floor, 55 Republicans declined, and one member abstained. Several Republicans have also already left Washington, D.C. for the weekend.
This week, Jordan emerged as a leading candidate when he challenged Scalise in a closed-door meeting on Tuesday.
However, the majority leader narrowly defeated the Judiciary chairman, prompting Jordan to abandon his bid and support Scalise.
Nonetheless, a number of Republican legislators came out in opposition to Scalise as speaker, pledging not to support his nomination on the floor. Scalise ultimately withdrew from the competition, allowing Jordan another opportunity to run.
“I like Jim, but I just think that Steve got a raw deal,” Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) said. “I think he's worked hard. He’s earned it. And I think if he were to give him a little bit more support, that would really change my mind a little bit on Jim Jordan.”
Jordan, a regular rabble-rouser, is less appealing to centrists and swing district members. Scalise and McCarthy allies have stated they will neither support him in the campaign or vote for him on the floor, making it difficult to convince centrist Republicans to support him.
Since joining Congress in 2007, when he helped found the House Freedom Caucus and become a party insider, chairing the House Judiciary and overseeing the Biden impeachment investigation.
Jordan's path to the gavel hinges on his ability to secure enough votes. Jordan can only afford to lose four votes since Democrats are expected to vote for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), laying the scenario for a multiround election like McCarthy's January 15-round victory.
“I’m excited," Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) said. “He got 152 [votes] on a secret ballot. That’s good. It’s different when you get on the House floor.”
McCarthy was removed as speaker of the House last week after only nine months on the job, leaving the top leadership position vacant for the first time in House history.
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) was appointed as speaker pro tempore while Republicans elect a new leader, granting him limited authority. McCarthy's removal has effectively paralyzed the House until a new speaker is elected, a situation that has taken on new urgency as Israel confronts a new war with Hamas.
The longer it takes to elect a speaker, the less time lawmakers have to work on crucial appropriations measures, which are essential to avoiding a government shutdown in mid-November.