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House to try again on Jordan speaker vote amid determined opposition

House Republicans remain leaderless with no discernible path forward

Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., is seen outside a House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Thursday.
Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., is seen outside a House Republican Conference meeting in the Capitol on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House will vote again Friday morning at 10 a.m. on whether Rep. Jim Jordan should be speaker. But based on a meeting the Ohio Republican had with holdouts on Thursday night, it didn’t appear the third time would be the charm.

Republicans who’ve refused to back Jordan’s speaker bid thus far spent the Thursday evening meeting with him emphasizing their concrete opposition and left unswayed.

Some of the 22 Republican lawmakers who voted against Jordan in a second speaker vote on Wednesday met with him for over an hour but made no signs of progress, underscoring the gridlock within the House GOP.

Rep. Mike Kelly said leaving the meeting that it won Jordan no new backers, and that it was obvious to Jordan he had no path to the gavel.

“You know how smart this guy is, right? And he doesn’t wear glasses,” the Pennsylvania Republican said. “He can see the writing on the wall.”

Kelly said Jordan didn’t lay out his next steps but responded without anger, thanking his detractors for meeting with him. “I thought he handled it with a lot of class,” Kelly said.

Jordan didn’t respond to most questions from reporters as he left the meeting.

“We had a good discussion,” he said.

Florida Rep. Carlos Gimenez, who opposes Jordan’s bid, said “a number” of Republicans in the meeting asked Jordan to end his run for speaker.

Other attendees including Reps. Steve Womack, a senior appropriator from Arkansas, and John Rutherford of Florida said afterward that they would still vote against Jordan.

Rutherford pointed to Jordan’s treatment of Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., who dropped out of the race last week amid concrete opposition from Jordan supporters. He had initially won majority support from the Republican conference to become its speaker nominee in a head-to-head vote against Jordan.

“There is no way forward for the speakership,” Rutherford said. “He missed his moment of leadership when he failed Steve Scalise, and that was pretty much everybody’s opinion.”

Scalise’s short-lived bid rankled some of the lawmakers now opposing Jordan, while others are wary of Jordan’s government funding plans and legislative stances, particularly those representing more vulnerable, purple districts.

Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y., one of 18 Republicans who represent districts that backed President Joe Biden in 2020, released a lengthy statement Thursday night reiterating his opposition to Jordan and calling for ousted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy to be reinstated.

“The best thing that could happen now — for our conference, the House of Representatives, and the country — is for cooler heads to prevail, past grievances to be dropped, and for Republicans to concede that ousting Kevin was a mistake and set things right,” Lawler said.

Earlier in the day, the Republican conference balked at Jordan’s suggestion they grant Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., greater powers to legislate by formalizing his role until early January. That would’ve put off the speaker’s race and allowed time for Jordan to potentially gain steam.

[Interim speaker plan on ice despite Jordan’s backing]

With that option tabled, the heat was back on Jordan on Thursday night to plot his next steps.

House Republicans have been scrambling to find their next leader since eight GOP members with support from all Democrats removed McCarthy, R-Calif., from the job over two weeks ago.

McCarthy and McHenry were also part of Thursday evening’s meeting with Jordan and his opponents.

Some lawmakers also said that during the meeting they discussed threats Jordan opponents have received in recent days due to their votes against him. Jordan “denied that he was involved,” according to Rutherford.

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, said Wednesday night that she’d received death threats since her vote earlier that day against Jordan, a change from Tuesday when she backed the Ohioan on the floor.

On Thursday, another Republican who switched to a “no” vote on Jordan, Drew Ferguson of Georgia, posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that he and his family had received death threats.

“That is simply unacceptable, unforgivable, and will never be tolerated,” Ferguson wrote.

Aidan Quigley contributed to this report.

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