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Jim Jordan Loses First Vote For House Speaker Amid Republican Defections

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The Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, a conservative Republican, was opposed by 20 other Republicans on Tuesday, making it impossible for him to win the speaker’s gavel on the first try.

Jordan’s supporters were disappointed by the vote since they had hoped for a majority of the entire House and had voiced optimism that there would only be a small number of holdouts.

A handful of GOP moderates and allies of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Majority Leader Steve Scalise were Jordan’s opponents. The House immediately went into recess after the vote, giving Jordan time to try to sway them.

Representatives Ken Buck of Colorado, Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, Kay Granger of Texas, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, and four Republicans from purple-district New York were among the 20 Republicans who voted against Jordan. Six votes went to McCarthy, seven to Scalise, three to former New York GOP Rep. Lee Zeldin, among other anti-Jordan candidates.

After McCarthy’s historic resignation, there have been two weeks of high-stakes instability over the speaker’s gavel. McCarthy was ousted from the House by a group of eight GOP rebels due to the narrow margin; now, a sizable number of House Republicans could also prevent Jordan from taking Jordan’s place.

Politicians still enraged by the small group of Republicans who forced out McCarthy and then opposed the nomination of Scalise as speaker, who initially defeated Jordan inside the GOP conference, 113 to 99, are among Jordan’s opponents. Centrist Republicans worried that a conservative hardliner would be the face of the House GOP are also opposed to Jordan.

After the first vote, the House adjourned, and Jordan held talks while hopping between the majority whip’s and the speaker’s offices. Later on Tuesday, when asked if he would return to the floor, Jordan responded, “That’s the plan.”

According to a person with knowledge of the situation, Jordan met with Scalise and requested the majority leader’s assistance in the battle for speaker, but the latter refused to make a commitment.

McCarthy was initially rejected as speaker in January by 19 Republicans, but after 15 votes he secured a majority and the gavel. Jordan hasn’t indicated how long he intends to pursue the position of speaker.

One of the Republicans who refused to back Jordan indicated he would on the next ballot, but other Republicans claimed they wouldn’t be persuaded, leaving Jordan’s future in doubt.

With the Ohio Republican going one-on-one with skeptic lawmakers and his allies outside of Congress attacking the holdouts and threatening political repercussions if they refuse to support a favorite of the Trump-aligned GOP base, Jordan and his allies believed they had made significant progress over the past few days.

With the threat of a government shutdown only one month away thanks to McCarthy’s six-week stopgap spending deal that sparked the move against him, the House is in a state of paralysis and unable to consider legislation, such as passing additional military aid to Israel or funding.

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