Amid Republican floor infighting for House leadership on Tuesday, conservative hardliners nominated Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio to be speaker of the House during the chamber’s second and third votes.
A close ally of former President Trump, Jordan is a high-ranking conservative and the conservative House Freedom Caucus founding member, also serving as its first chair (2015 – 2017) and its vice chair (since 2017).
He vacated the ranking member position in the House Oversight Committee he occupied from 2019 to 2020 to become the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee. Jordan is expected to become its chairman in the newly GOP-held House.
In an effort to show party unity, Jordan nominated GOP leader Kevin McCarthy in the second round of voting, stressing that Republicans need to rally around him and noting that differences among GOP lawmakers pale in comparison to the differences between Republicans and Democrats.
Jordan was nominated in the second round – where he earned 19 votes – by Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida and in the third round – where he earned 20 votes, Jordan was nominated by Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, who already voted twice against McCarthy, but also got the support of Rep. Byron Donalds of Florida, who shifted his support to Jordan after initially voting for McCarthy in the first two rounds.
As Republicans take control of the House, Jordan’s nomination by other GOP members marks a new layer of leadership drama in which McCarthy is being stonewalled by a group of conservative hardliners who now hold more influence in the conference and have already denied him the necessary votes to secure the gavel in initial rounds of balloting.
Leaving the floor after the third vote, Jordan, however, said there was no chance that he would become House Speaker despite garnering the support and told reporters that he wants to chair the Judiciary Committee where he’ll have the ability to cross-examine witnesses and get the truth for the country.
Jordan emphasized he would lobby his colleagues to back McCarthy once the chamber resumes Wednesday.
After McCarthy suffered his third rebuke – he earned 202 votes on the third ballot – for speaker and the number of defections against him grew as a result of the split among Republicans, the House voted to adjourn until Wednesday afternoon, when a fourth round of voting is expected.