An aggressive pressure campaign to convince holdouts in the Republican Party to back far-right Rep. Jim Jordan for House speaker on Wednesday was unsuccessful, with 22 GOP lawmakers voting against the Ohio congressman in the second round of voting—two more than the number that opposed him in the first vote Tuesday.
Jordan received 199 votes, while seven Republicans backed Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.)—who withdrew from consideration last week shortly after being nominated—and five supported Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who was ousted from the House speaker role earlier this month by a far-right faction in the party.
Others rejected Jordan—a close ally of former President Donald Trump who played a “significant” role in strategizing to challenge the 2020 election, according to the House January 6 Committee—in favor of former lawmakers who haven’t held office in years and others who have not run to replace McCarthy, despite what some have called Jordan’s “bullying” tactics to garner votes.
In addition to Trump ally Sean Hannity’s interviews on Fox News in recent days in which the anchor has pointedly questioned members about their refusal to back Jordan, NBC News reported on Wednesday that the spouse of at least one Republican, Rep. Don Bacon of Nebraska, received anonymous messages threatening her husband’s political career if he opposed the Ohio lawmaker.
NBC News confirms: Before Jim Jordan's first defeat, the wife of Republican Rep. Don Bacon received anonymous messages warning him to back Jordan's speakership bid or risk being ousted.
One message: "Your husband will not hold any political office ever again. Your husband will…
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) October 18, 2023
“If House Republicans want to stand for their families to receive anonymous political threats every time their leadership wants to push a tough vote, they can vote Jordan,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). “But they’d be fools to think this is the last time it happens. Members who vote for him affirm this kind of practice.”
The threats didn’t deter Bacon from supporting McCarthy in both rounds of voting so far.
Some of the nearly two dozen Republicans who opposed Jordan represent districts carried by Democratic President Joe Biden in 2020, while others sit on the House Appropriations Committee and “are deeply distrustful of Mr. Jordan’s approach to spending and the types of cuts he has endorsed,” The New York Times reported.
Progressives mocked a speech given by Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) in favor of Jordan, in which he praised the congressman for having “the courage to talk about a long-term plan and to get at the real drivers of debt, and we all know what they are. We all know it’s Social Security, we all know it’s Medicare, we all know it’s Medicaid.”
GOP Rep. Cole, in nominating Jim Jordan for Speaker of the House, cheers him on for wanting to slash Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. pic.twitter.com/T7SoCv2NUR
— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) October 18, 2023
The Congressional Progressive Caucus, whose members have repeatedly warned in recent years that the Republicans are planning to cut the broadly popular programs, called Cole’s speech “a campaign ad for Democrats.”
“Jim Jordan may never be speaker, but we should never forget the reasons so many Republicans wanted him for the role,” said Rep. Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.).
Progressives including Ocasio-Cortez have noted this week that while Republicans struggle to find a House speaker candidate who can convince 217 members of the party to back them, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) has all 212 Democrats in the House supporting him.
Votes for Speaker:
Dem nominee: @RepJeffries : 212
GOP nominee: Jim Jordan: 199
Seems like we know who should be Speaker.
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) October 18, 2023
“Seems like we know who should be Speaker,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.).
Jordan indicated after the second round of voting that he will continue vying for the leadership position.
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