(The Center Square) – U.S. House Judiciary Chair Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, failed to get the needed support to become speaker of the House in the first vote Tuesday afternoon. The next vote is now scheduled for Wednesday.

On Tuesday, 20 Republicans did not vote with Jordan, spreading their votes across several candidates. Democrats remained in lockstep behind Minority Leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffires, D-N.Y.

Jordan has the backing of the majority of Republicans but fell short of the needed 217 votes. This was not a major surprise, and there could be several more votes. Whether Republicans defect to or away from Jordan will be key as he tries to rally more to his cause. A few defections away from Jordan could kill his momentum.

“We know that Jim Jordan is a winner on behalf of the American people,” U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., said during her speech to nominate Jordan for the role. “Let’s elect Jim Jordan … for such a time as this,” she added, making reference to the Biblical story of Esther.

Stefanik also made reference to Moses, whose marble image is over the gallery doors in the House chamber, as part of reemphasizing support for Israel in its war with the terrorist group, Hamas.

U.S. Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., spoke on the House floor before the vote against Jordan, accusing him of partisanship and calling him a “legislative terrorist.” Democrats nominated their minority leader, Jeffries, who recently replaced the Democrats’ former leader, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

The House has gone without a speaker for two weeks as looming domestic and international issues continue to grow.

Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was ousted after U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., filed a motion to vacate the speakership earlier this month. Now, both have publicly backed Jordan. McCarthy predicted on X, formerly known as Twitter, Tuesday that Jordan would win the speakership.

“Republicans must unite and elect [Jordan] as Speaker of the House!” Gaetz wrote on X. “We can have better days going forward because he has the credibility, honesty, and determination to get the job done.”

Jordan, who has spoken repeatedly about the need to unite the party, talked to reporters late Monday ahead of the vote.

“We need to get a Speaker tomorrow,” Jordan told reporters late Monday after meeting with his fellow Republicans. “The American people deserve to have their Congress, their House of Representatives, working, and you can’t have that happen until you get a speaker, so we need to do that. Plus we need to help our dearest friend … and closest ally, Israel.

“I felt good walking into the conference,” he added. “I feel even better now.”

While Jordan does not yet have enough votes to win the position, he has picked up significant momentum in recent days. The public floor votes will also pressure holdout Republicans, and Jordan will try to whittle away at them as the votes go on.

While there is no main challenger to Jordan, multiple Republicans are expected to be voted for as potential speakers, if only so they can be votes against Jordan. If Jordan withdraws, Republicans will be back to the drawing board in finding a new nominee.

Lawmakers face another partial government shutdown deadline in mid-November as well as ongoing calls for funding Ukraine and Israel in their respective wars.

Last week, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., failed to secure the needed support and dropped out. Next in line was Jordan, but he was far from the support he needed, and many Republicans were outspoken in their hesitation or opposition.

Jordan has a reputation as a hardline conservative who has aggressively gone after Democratic administrations and questioned the 2020 presidential election results, concerning some moderate Republicans.

But Jordan worked hard through the weekend, calling and meeting with members and securing key endorsements of skeptics and Scalise allies. U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo., was a top Scalise ally who just last week told reporters that she would “absolutely not” vote for Jordan as Speaker.

But on Monday morning, she released a public endorsement.

“Jim Jordan and I spoke at length again this morning, and he has allayed my concerns about keeping the government open with conservative funding, the need for strong border security, our need for consistent international support in times of war and unrest, as well as the need for stronger protections against the scourge of human trafficking and child exploitation,” Wagner said in a statement.

As The Center Square previously reported, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., was reportedly considering working with Democrats to elect a Democratic speaker who would work with moderate Republicans. That news sparked backlash.

By Monday morning, Rogers publicly endorsed Jordan.

“[Jordan] and I have had two cordial, thoughtful, and productive conversations over the past two days,” Rogers wrote on X. “We agreed on the need for Congress to pass a strong NDAA, appropriations to fund our government’s vital functions, and other important legislation like the Farm Bill.”

Some Democrats have begun openly campaigning against Jordan.

“If you don’t want Jim Jordan to be Speaker, make sure you contact your rep TODAY about it…” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote on X Tuesday morning.

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