Jordan fails to win Speakership on first ballot

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) failed to win the Speakership in the first round of voting Tuesday after 20 Republicans withheld support from his bid, denying him the votes needed to secure the gavel.

The vote was 200 for Jordan, 212 for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), six for former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and seven for House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.).

Seven more GOP members voted for others: three for Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), one for Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), one for Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), and one for Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.).

The total number of Jordan holdouts was the same as the number of opponents who kept McCarthy from the gavel for multiple ballots at the start of the year.

Speaker Pro Tem Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) immediately recessed after the vote. The House has been in recess since the vote ended, just before 2 p.m., and a second vote is now expected at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

“We got to keep talking to members,” Jordan told reporters when asked about the delay.

Multiple, mostly off-the-record sources had been telling reporters that Jordan flipped a number of Republicans to his side in his bid to become the next Speaker. The vote today proved that to be true because his numbers did improve a bit, but he still came up well short. There were nearly two dozen votes for someone other than Jordan or Jeffries. Shockingly, Kevin McCarthy picked up quite a few and even New York’s Lee Zeldin picked up a handful. So what happened to the deals that Jordan had supposedly been cutting to win himself the gavel?

One of the influential people he coaxed over to his side was House Armed Services Committee Chair Mike Rogers. So how did he manage to get the herd moving in his direction at this late date and what was still holding up the rest of the pack? The answer to the first question may pop up in this analysis from Axios, where they suggest that Jordan promised Rogers a vote on a bill that would link funding for Israel to funding for Ukraine. And he may have made other promises to wavering members as well. But that really doesn’t sound like a tenable path forward toward a lasting Speakership.

Four House Republicans walked away from conversations with House GOP speaker nominee Jim Jordan under the impression he’ll allow a floor vote on linking Ukraine funding with Israel funding if he wins the gavel, Axios has learned.

Many hardline House Republicans are pushing for the U.S. to stop providing funding to Ukraine, but allowing a House floor vote could allow funding to pass thanks to significant help from Democrats.

A Jordan spokesperson denied that the speaker nominee made promises, telling Axios that Jordan’s conversations were about working to find the right approach, rather than specific promises. “He’s not going to block a vote,” said one of the House Republicans who spoke with Jordan.

For his part, Jordan was denying to reporters that he had made any “promises” to anyone. But some of the more hardline members seemed unlikely to switch sides and back him based on a “maybe.” Still, that can all be translated into English from political-speak however you like, but that’s really not the point.

Let’s remember that during the torturous journey in January that finally saw Kevin McCarthy take the Speaker’s chair, he was cutting deals himself. In fact, he had made so many promises that it turned out to be a journey of career suicide, at least in terms of being the Speaker. He bargained away the ability for any renegade to bring the chamber to a halt and allow a simple vote to vacate the chair. That’s what eventually brought him down.

But he also admitted to making any number of other promises, primarily to the Freedom Caucus. He promised to deliver a dozen specific spending bills addressing specific portions of the budget. It was a noble goal, but he only managed to deliver four. He promised procedural changes that he was not empowered to deliver on his own. In short, he handed the Freedom Caucus all the ammunition they required to show up on any given day and say, ‘He violated his promises to us. Now we’re going to move to vacate.’ And that’s exactly what they did.

If Jim Jordan is running around behind the scenes making promises to try to wrangle 217 votes, isn’t he simply setting himself up to be in the exact same position that McCarthy was? And if that’s how he takes the gavel, why on earth should he or anyone else expect different results this time. Whether it’s Jordan or someone else, the GOP needs a leader to step forward who is willing to serve as Speaker and has the ability to call out the rest of the conference. They need to understand that there is too much important work awaiting the House GOP right now and everyone is going to have to get behind one choice. And those who refuse need to be made examples of in front of the public and, if need be, face a rapid primary challenge.

Today’s vote was a joke and a very unfunny one at that. If the House GOP is this dysfunctional, then they probably didn’t deserve to win the majority to begin with.

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