House Republicans revoked the nomination of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) for speaker of the House in a vote of no-confidence taken on Oct. 20, shortly after he continued to lose ground on a third ballot on the House floor.
The 112 to 86 vote came amid intense frustration among House members over the events of the past three weeks.
That began with the ousting of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Oct. 3 by a small group of Republicans aided by Democrats. Then when the GOP conference nominated Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) to succeed Mr. McCarthy, his nomination was derailed by a small group of Jordan supporters who stated their refusal to elect Mr. Scalise.
The conference then nominated Mr. Jordan, but he was unable to overcome the ill will generated by those events. Though he had supported both Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Scalise, some members saw him as tainted by association with them.
“It’s time for Mr. Jordan, whom I have no personal animus toward, to step down,” Rep Don Bacon (R-Neb.) said just ahead of the vote of no-confidence. “We need to have a clean slate with no baggage. We have baggage going back with Steve Scalise’s election, and Kevin’s and he was a part of that. It’s just time to move on.”
Despite this most recent setback in electing a speaker, some members were hopeful of coming to an agreement soon.
“There’s still a tremendous pool of talent in there, people who love this country, and who understand the need for us to address things like the border and the looming government shutdown,” Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) said. “We’re gonna get it done. It’s just going to take us a little bit longer.”
Republicans will hold a candidate forum on Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m. and vote on a nominee at 9 a.m. the following day.
“We need space and time for candidates to talk to other members,” Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) told reporters after the meeting. Noting that the candidacies of both Mr. Scalise and Mr. Jordan had been undertaken with very little notice, Mr. McHenry said, “Space and time for a reset is an important thing for the Republican conference right now.”
Mr. McHenry said that while the House is not able to conduct business on the floor, committees are still at work. “Our committees are working with the administration. And the goal there is for our committees is to be ready to respond legislatively once we have a duly elected speaker of the House,” Mr. McHenry said.
Earlier, Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) pleaded with Republicans to reopen the House by joining Democrats in a bipartisan governing coalition.
“House Democrats continue to make clear that we are willing to find a bipartisan path forward so we can reopen the House and solve problems for hard-working American taxpayers,” Mr. Jeffries said at a midday press conference.
“It’s time for traditional Republicans to get off the sidelines, get in the arena, and realize that the chaos dysfunction, and extremism has to end. And the only way to do it is to figure out how we can partner in a bipartisan fashion to reopen the House and govern in a reasonable commonsense way.”
There seems to be little appetite for that among Republicans, however.
“We need to coalesce around a conservative candidate for speaker,” Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-N.Y.) told NTD, sister media to The Epoch Times. Any other activities would not be productive in the long term, he said.
Members were eager to see that the next speaker does not experience the problems encountered by the previous speaker and candidates.
“Unfortunately, we don’t give enough time to make decisions,” Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) said. “I’ve been forceful to make sure that we actually do have 217 people [the number needed to elect] before we go to the floor. Otherwise, it’s a disservice to the candidate and also a disservice to the people that are very frustrated because they will expect Congress to do more.”
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said he was unsure if any candidate other than Mr. Jordan could wrangle the independent personalities on the conference’s right flank.
“McCarthy’s speakership was enabled by multiple overlapping promises to different groups of people that couldn’t be mutually satisfied. And that ultimately resulted in his ouster,” Mr. Massie said.
Mr. Jordan’s candidacy was troubled from the start.
The Trump-endorsed candidate won the nomination on Oct. 13, defeating Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) 124–88. In a confirming vote held immediately afterward, Mr. Jordan still lacked 55 Republican votes.
Although it is customary for conference members to support the majority candidate, that tradition was broken with the election of Mr. McCarthy in January and with the nomination of Mr. Scalise. Both were opposed by Republican holdouts.
In a first ballot on Oct. 17, Mr. Jordan fell short of a majority as 20 Republicans voted for other candidates. That number grew to 22 on a second ballot cast the following day.
On Oct. 19, Mr. Jordan and others tried to convince fellow Republicans to temporarily empower Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) to conduct House business.
Mr. Jordan said this was an opportunity to “lower the temperature” surrounding the speakership race while allowing the House to reopen.
While many members supported the move, others adamantly opposed it during a tense Republican conference meeting on Oct. 19. No action was taken, effectively killing the proposal.
Mr. Jordan met with holdouts that evening, attempting to win supporters, then held a press conference the following morning to ask Republicans to join him and reopen the House quickly.
On a third ballot, conducted on Oct. 20, three more Republicans swung away from Mr. Jordan.
Despite that resistance, Mr. Jordan enjoyed strong support from a number of members. In an effort to push his election over the top, the eight Republicans who had voted to oust Mr. McCarthy attempted to reconcile with angry conference members.
The group issued a statement volunteering themselves for censure or expulsion from the conference if that would placate holdouts who believed Mr. Jordan was the beneficiary of their action.
“We are willing to accept censure sanction, suspension, or removal from the Republican conference,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) who introduced the motion to remove Mr. McCarthy.
“We, of course, will remain Republicans, we will continue to vote with Republicans on Republican principles. But if what these holdouts need is a pound of our flesh, we’re willing to give it,” the Florida congressman said after the third ballot.
However, the majority had apparently concluded that Mr. Jordan had no pathway to victory.
Jackson Richman, Joseph Lord, Emel Akan, Ryusuke Abe, and NTD’s Melina Wisecup contributed to this report.