The rightwing congressman Jim Jordan is seeking to shore up support for his bid to succeed Kevin McCarthy as House speaker, with plans to appear on the House floor early this week to try to sway Republican members of Congress who signaled in a secret ballot vote they will not support his bid.
Jordan, a staunch ally of Donald Trump, claimed in a brief interview with Politico he believes he will get the 217 votes required to secure the speakership in a vote now set to happen on Tuesday at noon.
“We think we’re going to get 217,” Jordan said.
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Former House speaker Kevin McCarthy has expressed support for Jordan’s bid to succeed him after a small faction of eight Republicans in the House joined Democrats to oust McCarthy from the role earlier this month and plunged the party into a bitter squabble.
Congressman Steve Scalise of Louisiana was slated to secure the Republican nomination for the speaker role before Scalise withdrew from the race after he failed to secure enough support to win a vote. With Republicans holding a slim majority of three seats in the House, any group of Republican holdouts could cause any nominee to fail to secure the speakership.
Several Republicans have publicly said they remain no votes on Jordan’s speakership. Mike Rogers of Alabama and John Rutherford and Carlos Gimenez of Florida are in this group, according to Politico.
Meanwhile, yet another potential Republican candidate has emerged if Jordan’s effort fails. The Louisiana congressman Mike Johnson plans to jump into the race if Jordan stumbles, according to NBC News.
“If Jordan cannot get to 217, Johnson intends to step up,” a source told the television network. “Many members are asking him to do so.”
NBC added: “Johnson would seek to be a consensus candidate, attempting to bridge hard-right conservatives and moderates who have been waging a war against one another”.”
Trump has vocally supported Jordan for the speakership role. The stalemate has halted legislative business.
Supporters of Jordan have gone on social media encouraging followers to call Republican holdouts to demand they support Jordan’s bid or face ousting efforts of their own in primaries.
That is a hardline tactic that has prompted some dismay even among Jordan’s own supporters.
The Texas congressman Dan Crenshaw slammed some of his fellow Republicans for an online pressure campaign on behalf of Jordan, saying it would likely put people off backing him.
“That is the dumbest way to support Jordan and I’m supporting Jordan. I’m going to vote for Jordan. And as somebody who wants Jim Jordan, the dumbest thing you can do is to continue pissing off those people and entrench them,” Crenshaw told CNN’s State of the Union show.
Democrats have expressed concerns over Jordan’s speakership bid, citing the congressman’s role leading up to and in the wake of the January 6 insurrection.
“House Republicans are intent on doubling down and have chosen to nominate a vocal election-denier in Jim Jordan,” Congressman Pete Aguilar, chair of the Democratic caucus, told reporters. “A man whose rhetoric and partisanship fomented the January 6 attack on this very building, on these very steps.”