The Turbulent Race for House Speaker: Jim Jordan Faces Increasing Opposition and Fails to Secure Votes

The race for the speakership of the House of Representatives has been a tumultuous one, with Ohio Republican Representative Jim Jordan facing increasing opposition and failing to secure enough votes in multiple rounds of voting. Jordan, a staunch conservative and the chair of the Judiciary Committee, initially fell short by 20 votes in the first round of voting on Tuesday.[0] The number of Republicans voting against him increased to 22 in the second round on Wednesday, and then to 25 on Friday. With a narrow majority, Jordan could only afford a few defections within his own party and still have a chance at becoming speaker.[1]

The opposition to Jordan's bid has been growing steadily with each successive ballot, and it became clear that he was unlikely to gain the necessary support.[2] The chaos-ridden House Republican caucus attempted to rally behind Jordan, but their efforts only resulted in him losing more votes.[3] It seemed that something behind the scenes was going awry, and Jordan's knack for persuasion and vote counting, essential skills for a House speaker, appeared to be lacking.[0]

Jordan's loss on the second ballot on Wednesday foreshadowed his eventual defeat.[4] The increasing number of Republicans voting against him signaled that his chances were dwindling.[2] The opposition to his candidacy came from various factions within the party, including moderates, establishment Republicans, and those who believed that the hard right had manipulated the conference by sinking anyone but Jordan. Jordan's tactics and hard-right beliefs have long caused grumbling among his more moderate peers, and as he pursued the speakership, those grumbles turned into roars.[5]

The fight over Jordan's candidacy has further divided an already fractured Republican Party. Many of the rebels who held current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy hostage in January were also the ones who blocked Representative Steve Scalise's bid for speaker, in order to keep the position open for Jordan.[6] However, their actions garnered backlash from establishment Republicans who were outraged by the tactics. This perfect storm united members who were concerned about Jordan's hard-right beliefs and those who were embittered by the hard right's manipulation of the conference.[6]

Jordan's loss in the speakership race has put the House in a precarious position. Without a speaker, the chamber cannot advance any legislation, leaving members unable to pass critical bills such as a stopgap government funding measure or an aid package for Israel and Ukraine.[7] The threat of a federal shutdown looms as government funding is set to run out in less than a month.[8]

In the face of mounting opposition and the inability to secure the necessary votes, Jordan briefly paused his quest for the speakership.[7] He sought to buy time and build support by giving Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry of North Carolina power over the House until January 3.[0] However, after GOP lawmakers balked at the arrangement, Jordan announced that he expected to hold a third vote for speaker.[9]

The House Republicans are now considering alternative candidates for the speakership.[10] Representative Tom Emmer of Minnesota, who serves as the House majority whip, is a likely front-runner and has been endorsed by former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.[11] Other potential candidates include Representative Kevin Hern of Oklahoma and Representative Byron Donalds of Florida.[11]

Jordan's loss in the speakership race has dealt a blow to his ambitions and risks alienating his closest allies. It remains to be seen how the House Republicans will move forward and select a new speaker. The chamber faces critical deadlines and the need for strong leadership to navigate the challenges ahead.

0. “Jim Jordan Bites the Dust” The Nation, 19 Oct. 2023,

1. “Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pa. says he's opposed to Jim Jordan as House speaker; Jordan won't seek another vote” The Philadelphia Inquirer, 19 Oct. 2023,

2. “House GOP Drops Jordan as Speaker Nominee in Secret-Ballot Vote” National Review, 20 Oct. 2023,

3. “GOP erupts in closed-door meeting after House speaker stalemate” Axios, 19 Oct. 2023,

4. “GOP drops Jim Jordan as House speaker nominee after he loses 3rd vote” CBS News, 21 Oct. 2023,

5. “Jim Jordan's speaker bid blocked by his own tactics” The Boston Globe, 20 Oct. 2023,

6. “Republicans Started a Civil War They Don't Know How to End” New York Magazine, 20 Oct. 2023,

7. “Jim Jordan is out. Here's the three Texas Republicans who helped keep him from the speaker's gavel.” The Texas Tribune, 20 Oct. 2023,

8. “Jim Jordan forced out of House speaker race after losing secret ballot” The Guardian US, 20 Oct. 2023,

9. “Congressional chaos deepens as Jordan puts bid for speakership on hold” Business Insider, 19 Oct. 2023,

10. “Jim Jordan fails in second US House speaker vote” Al Jazeera English, 18 Oct. 2023,

11. “House Again Fails to Elect a Speaker” Voice of America – VOA News, 20 Oct. 2023,

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