The already chaotic scene in Congress reached new levels of absurdity on Wednesday as Representative Jim Jordan suffered an even bigger defeat in his bid for the House speaker position. In a second ballot on the House floor, 22 of Jordan’s own Republican colleagues voted against him, two more than in the previous vote on Tuesday.
The defeat has left the House in a state of disarray, with no clear path forward in sight. Republican Representative Don Bacon, who voted against Jordan on Tuesday, predicted that the Ohio congressman would “lose more votes tomorrow.” Bacon went on to tell CNN that he believes Jordan’s chances for the top job are over.
The turmoil in the House has been ongoing for 15 days since former Speaker Kevin McCarthy became the first speaker in history to be ousted. Since then, the House has been unable to conduct any business and with less than a month until the government faces another potential shutdown, the urgency of the situation is mounting.
Jordan, a staunch conservative and chair of the Judiciary Committee, had broad appeal among the right-wing of his party, but his bid for speaker was met with backlash from moderates and pragmatic conservatives. Many were angered by the process through which Jordan had been nominated for the position.
The wife of one Republican holdout, Don Bacon, revealed anonymous text messages she had received, warning her husband to back Jordan. “Your husband better support Jim Jordan,” read one of the messages. “Your husband will not hold any political office ever again,” threatened another. The pressure was seen as a factor in Bacon’s decision to vote for Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday, dealing another blow to Jordan’s vote tally.
In a surprising show of dysfunction, Representative Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania cast his vote for former Speaker John Boehner, known for his brash style and fondness for smoking cigars. The Democrats on the floor reacted with laughter and applause, underscoring the disarray that has engulfed the chamber.
The chaos in Congress has raised questions about the future of the Republican conference and its ability to put forward a united front. With the GOP holding a narrow majority in the House, Jordan could only afford to lose four votes on the floor. However, the deeply divided party still has not been able to coalesce around a single candidate for speaker.
Despite former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, which he reiterated on his new social media platform Truth Social, Jordan’s prospects continue to dwindle. In a moment of lightheartedness, Democratic Representative Pete Aguilar mocked yesterday’s vote tally, stating, “212 to 200. No amount of election denial is going to take away from those vote totals.”
Meanwhile, Democrats remain united behind their nominee, Hakeem Jeffries, who currently serves as minority leader. As the House remains paralyzed and unable to address pressing issues such as providing aid to Israel after the recent Hamas terror attack, the pressure is mounting for the GOP to find a resolution to the leadership crisis and end the deadlock in Congress.