Opposition to House GOP Speaker nominee Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio) is crumbling as Republicans return to Washington for a House vote to try to officially elect him.
Four key lawmakers who signaled opposition to Jordan last week fell like a set of dominos Monday, giving the Ohio Republican a significant boost ahead of an expected floor vote Tuesday.
“My gut tells me we’re somewhere south of 10 who are still being recalcitrant,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) told conservative radio host Erick Erickson on Monday when asked about the opposition to Jordan.
It is a remarkable development after 13 days of turbulence in the House GOP following the ouster of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), which left many lawmakers and outside observers skeptical Republicans could coalesce around any candidate.
Jordan emerged as the conference’s nominee Friday, winning 124 votes. On a second tally, where Republicans were asked to vote “yes” if they’d support him on the floor, Jordan got 152 votes.
A number of GOP members and political observers went into the weekend thinking Jordan faced a tough hill to climb to win the 217 Republican votes on the floor necessary to win the Speakership.
But Jordan now seems to be edging closer and closer amid a pressure campaign by his allies to win support for the conservative Republican and ally of former President Trump.
Also playing in Jordan’s favor is exasperation with the internal GOP turbulence that is keeping the House paralyzed as war breaks out in Israel and Gaza, as well as the threat of moderate Republicans working with Democrats to exert control over the Speakership.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (Ala.) along with Reps. Ann Wagner (Mo.), Ken Calvert (Calif.) and Vern Buchanan (Fla.) were among the Republicans who flipped their support to Jordan on Monday, despite past statements indicating they would not do so.
“That was really big,” Jordan told CNN about Wagner and Rogers announcing support for him on Monday. “So I feel real good about the momentum we have.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) posted on X that Rogers’s voters “will not be happy if he makes a deal with Democrats to elect a Speaker in order to block Jim Jordan.” And Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) posted that Rogers’s opposition to Jordan and openness to working with Democrats was “outrageous.”
Some outside conservative voices, like conservative commentator Charlie Kirk, urged constituents to call their representatives to support Jordan.
Last week, a group of hard-line conservative holdouts pushed House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) to withdraw from the race just one day after being nominated for Speaker.
But unlike Scalise’s opponents — who flaunted their opposition to the GOP establishment and the “swamp” — those who oppose Jordan have little outside incentive to keep up a blockade. Primary threats have already been floated on social media.
Also unlike the hard-liners, the defense hawks, moderates, and appropriators who were skeptical of Jordan have little to no experience in banding together to oppose the will of the overwhelming majority of Republicans.
Jordan, however, is not out of the woods just yet. He still faces some opposition within the conference, and a number of his colleagues are keeping their cards close to their chests — setting the stage for a close race when the Ohio Republican goes to the floor Tuesday.
At least five Republicans say they do not plan to support Jordan on the first ballot Tuesday: Reps. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.), Don Bacon (R-Neb.), Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) and Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.).
If all House members vote, Jordan can afford to lose only four Republicans.
Giménez said Monday he intended to support McCarthy on the House floor, even though the ousted Speaker does not plan to seek the gavel again.
And Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), an appropriator who called Jordan “polarizing” last week, is not yet giving Jordan his public support.
“You’ll know how I vote when I vote,” he told CNN in an interview Monday, but he added, “I know there are concerns from the appropriations committee” on Jordan serving as Speaker.
Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-Ind.) announced Friday she was rescinding her support from Jordan “for now,” writing in a statement “I will have to assess on Monday” if she will support the Ohio Republican.
Jordan indicated he would proceed to a House floor vote for Speaker at noon Tuesday regardless of whether he has the 217 votes he needs.
“We will go to the floor tomorrow,” Jordan told CNN on Monday. “It’s not about pressuring anybody. It’s just about, we’ve got to have a Speaker.”
“You can’t open the house and do the work of the American people and help our dearest and closest friend Israel if you don’t have a Speaker,” Jordan said.
The war that broke out in Israel is one factor putting pressure on Republicans to break their opposition to Jordan for the House to move on legislation to address the crisis.
Another is exasperation with the drawn-out process of choosing a McCarthy replacement.
Chatter has also increased among moderate GOP members about cutting a deal with Democrats to empower Speaker Pro Tem Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) to move legislation on the House floor, or even work with Democrats on another kind of compromise.
“Too much is at stake to hand control of the House over to radical liberal Democrats, which is why we must elect a conservative as the next Speaker,” Wagner wrote in her statement announcing support for Jordan.
Jordan, meanwhile, is pushing a unity message.
“The country and our conference cannot afford us attacking each other right now,” Jordan wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter to Republicans on Monday, first obtained by The Hill.
In one notable line, Jordan wrote he would “make sure there are more Republican voices involved in our major decisions beyond the Five Families.”
Leaders of the “five families” — the five main ideological caucuses in the House GOP — were heavily involved in negotiations and discussions with McCarthy over various policy issues this year. Jordan was the founding chairman of one of those groups, the House Freedom Caucus.
“Our goal will be to empower our committees and committee chairs to take the lead on the House’s legislative work through regular order,” Jordan said, a stance that could appeal to some of the members who notably flipped to support him Monday. Rogers is chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Calvert is chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
Rogers wrote on X that after speaking to Jordan and receiving assurances from Jordan on the annual defense bill and Farm Bill, he “decided to support Jim Jordan for Speaker of the House.” And Calvert announced his endorsement for Jordan on X after speaking with Jordan about “national security and appropriations.”
Jordan is also getting a boost from McCarthy, with whom he had become allies over the past several years after challenging him for the House GOP’s top spot in 2018.
While the ousted Speaker had voiced skepticism about the ability of Scalise to ever reach 217 votes last week, he is now bullish on Jordan.
“I feel very good about where Jim Jordan is at,” McCarthy said Monday morning on Fox News.
Updated at 7:01 p.m.