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Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan announced that he still has hope of being elected on Friday despite losing the necessary majority in the House on votes Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Thursday, he proposed putting his campaign on hold in order to back an increase in interim House Speaker Patrick T. McHenry’s (R-NC) authority to handle certain legislative matters. After a long and contentious meeting, the GOP conference abandoned the effort.
Twenty of Jordan’s fellow Republicans voted against him for speaker on Tuesday. On Wednesday, that total hit 22. With a razor-thin majority in the House, Jordan can afford to lose only four Republican votes.
During a news conference on Friday morning, Fox News reporter Chad Pergram asked Jordan: “Lay out your path. Are you going to call roll call vote after roll call vote today and tomorrow, into the weekend, and try to wear your opponents down? Because it didn’t seem — “
Jordan jumped in and responded: “Well, you all said we were going to, between the first vote and the second vote, you all said we will lose 10 to 15 votes. We stayed the same. We’ve picked up a few, we lost a few. I think the ones we lost can come back. So, look, there have been multiple rounds of votes for speaker before, we all know that. I just know that we need a speaker as soon as possible so we can get to work for the American people.”
Reporters emerged on Thursday that Jordan would not seek a third ballot in the speaker race and support a plan to let Acting Speaker Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) run the House temporarily.
However, things changed on Thursday night, and now a third vote will take place on the House floor at 10 a.m. ET.
Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, who led the revolt that toppled Kevin McCarthy as speaker, said he would do “everything” to stop Joyce from giving power to Rep. Patrick McHenry.
On Thursday, he said that doing so would be “twisting and torturing the constitution to empower a temporary speaker.”
Even though Jordan and his allies have lost two-floor votes in the speakership battle, they insist he will not give up the fight for good. His opponents, who on Wednesday numbered 22, have more than enough strength to defeat him, however.
Many Republicans believe Jordan’s bid for speaker is dead in the water, and several of those lawmakers have stated emphatically that he would lose even more votes in a third vote on the floor. Conservatives’ pressure campaign has only backfired, and even Jordan’s supporters admit that he probably can’t win over his opponents.
“If you look at the mix of who is voting against him now, it’s more the senior members. And they’re just resolved, and they’re not going to take that,” said Rep. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.), who backs Jordan but has flirted with throwing his hat in the ring if the Ohioan withdraws.
McHenry presided over the Speaker vote on Tuesday, where House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) received more votes than Jordan, 212-200, though 217 is needed to take the gavel.
Several Republicans voted for other GOP lawmakers, including former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), for a combined 20 votes.
“Centrist Republicans and Democrats are once again backchanneling about a possible vote to strengthen McHenry’s abilities to bring legislation to the floor—particularly spending bills, given a Nov. 17 funding deadline—amid the weeks-long impasse in selecting a speaker,” Politico reported.
“They’re pushing a short-term measure that would grant McHenry added powers and could pass the House by majority vote, though they have not coalesced around specific language,” the news outlet added.