US House Republicans nominate Jim Jordan for speaker, testing hardline appeal By Reuters


© Reuters. A man walks by the Capitol where today House Republicans will continue proceedings to elect a new House speaker following last week’s ouster of Kevin McCarthy at the Capitol in Washington, U.S., October 12, 2023. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo

By Moira Warburton, David Morgan and Katharine Jackson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday nominated hardline conservative Jim Jordan to lead the chamber, a move that will test whether the longtime critic of Republican leadership can win enough support to seize the speaker’s gavel.

Republican infighting has left the House paralyzed for 10 days, as lawmakers have deadlocked over a successor to Kevin McCarthy, who was forced out by a small group of Republican insurgents on Oct. 3.

Jordan prevailed in a closed-door vote over Austin Scott, a Georgia lawmaker who has kept a relatively low profile in his 12 years in Congress. The vote was by 124-81, according to a Republican aide who spoke on condition of anonymity.

To become speaker, a powerful role second in line to the presidency after the vice president, Jordan must still win a majority vote on the House floor, and it is not clear whether he would be able to unite his fellow Republicans behind his bid.

Republicans control the chamber by a narrow 221-212 margin, meaning they can afford to lose no more than four votes if Democrats vote against him, as they are expected to do.

After Jordan’s victory, Republicans readied a second round of voting to see if he could muster the 217 votes needed to prevail in a floor vote.

Jordan narrowly lost the nomination on Wednesday to Steve Scalise, the No. 2 House Republican who was seen as the heir apparent to McCarthy. But Scalise abandoned his bid on Thursday after it became clear he could not consolidate Republicans behind him.

Some Republicans their problems ran deeper than a simple lack of leadership.

“There’s a lack of trust. There’s a lack of transparency,” said Representative Kat Cammack. “That’s what we need to address before we can even really get to the speaker.”

Jordan, who serves as House Judiciary Committee chair, tormented Republican leaders for years as a vocal advocate for the party’s right wing. He has the endorsement of McCarthy and former President Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

“I think I can unite the conference, I think I can tell the country what we’re doing and why it matters,” Jordan told reporters before the vote.


Without a speaker, the House is at a deadlock as war expands in the Middle East, Russia continues to pound Ukraine and the government faces a Nov. 17 partial shutdown deadline without additional funding from Congress.

Republicans have been hoping to avoid a repeat of the embarrassing spectacle that occurred in January, when hardline conservatives forced McCarthy to endure 15 floor votes over four days before winning the gavel.

Jordan backers said he would eventually be able to consolidate support even if he does not win in the first few rounds of voting. They said his confrontational style could help in negotiating with Democratic President Joe Biden and the Democratic-controlled Senate.

“We need someone who is tough, who’s smart and can negotiate in that room. I think Jim Jordan can do it,” said Representative Nicole Malliotakis.

But Jordan faced skepticism from those who were angry that his supporters had failed to unite behind Scalise.

“I just think that Steve got a raw deal,” said Representative Vern Buchanan.

While McCarthy was the first speaker in U.S. history ousted by a vote of the chamber, the last two Republicans to hold the job – John Boehner and Paul Ryan – also left under pressure from their right flanks.

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