WASHINGTON — The House remained deadlocked Tuesday as Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, failed to secure enough votes to become speaker on the first ballot.
Jordan, the GOP’s latest nominee for speaker, received 200 votes, well short of the 217 needed to win on the House floor. Twenty Republicans voted for someone other than Jordan.
He could afford to lose only three GOP votes, given that Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Florida, a Jordan supporter, missed the vote because of a funeral and all 212 Democrats backed Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York.
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After he met with his onetime rival, Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., and huddled with allies in the office of GOP Whip Tom Emmer of Minnesota, Jordan told a throng of reporters that he wouldn’t schedule another floor vote Tuesday night, as several of his opponents were demanding.
Instead, the next vote will be at 11 a.m. ET Wednesday, he said.
Asked why he was delaying the vote, Jordan replied: “We gotta keep talking to members.”
“We got to have a speaker, and it can’t be some deal with the Democrats. The American people don’t want that. They elected Republicans in a majority — a small majority, I get it,” Jordan said. “But we got 200 votes in the first ballot.”
The vote represents the anxiety and bitterness that persist among Republicans after the House was thrown into paralysis exactly two weeks ago, when a band of eight conservative rebels voted to oust Kevin McCarthy of California as speaker in an unprecedented move.
As he left Tuesday’s vote, Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., said he would keep voting for Scalise, the party’s first nominee for speaker, on future ballots until Republicans can come up with a different “consensus candidate.”
“Look, he won the head-to-head conference vote against Jim Jordan,” Rutherford said of Scalise.
Tuesday’s failed vote proves that Jordan, the chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, still has lots of work to do to persuade holdouts. His allies went into the vote Tuesday recognizing they might need multiple ballots to secure victory but with an air of confidence that enough Republicans would come around. That is now being tested.
While Jordan flipped one detractor, Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif., to the yes column, another House Republican spoke of being aware of five to six GOP colleagues who backed Jordan on the first vote but who wouldn’t vote for him on a second ballot.
After the eviction of McCarthy, Republicans nominated Scalise, the No. 2 GOP leader, to succeed him, but he withdrew after he saw no path to win enough votes. Then the conference selected Jordan, a right-wing firebrand who had narrowly lost the earlier closed-door election to Scalise.
McCarthy and Scalise both voted for Jordan on Tuesday in a show of solidarity.
But the 20 anti-Jordan Republicans easily blocked him from a quick victory. The 20 detractors: LaMalfa; Don Bacon of Nebraska; Ken Buck of Colorado; Lori Chavez-DeRemer of Oregon; Anthony D’Esposito, Andrew Garbarino, Nick LaLota and Mike Lawler, all of New York; Mario Diaz-Balart, Carlos Gimenez and John Rutherford, all of Florida; Jake Ellzey, Tony Gonzales and Kay Granger, all of Texas; John James of Michigan; Jen Kiggans of Virginia; Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania; Mike Simpson of Idaho; Victoria Spartz of Indiana; and Steve Womack of Arkansas.
Some Jordan allies said they won’t give up on efforts to elect him.
“We will vote as many rounds as needed for a man who is a true patriot,” said Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C.
On Tuesday night, Jeffries told reporters that the unfolding situation was “unreal, unbelievable and unacceptable.” He opened the door to a two-party solution to move legislation through the House again.
“We’re seeking a bipartisan path forward that’s authentic, genuine and that we want to agree upon and defend,” he said. “There are informal conversations that have accelerated over the last few days. My hope, now that it’s clear Jim Jordan lacks the votes to be speaker, that those conversations will accelerate this evening.”