Jim Jordan Shouldn't Throw in the Towel
State of the Union: Jim Jordan lost the second round of voting for a new Speaker of the House by a larger margin than the first, but he shouldn’t quit.
Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio was unable to win the requisite votes to become Speaker of the House on Wednesday morning. It was the second round of voting on a Speaker to replace the ousted Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, and the seventeenth time the 118th Congress has voted on a Speaker given it took 15 rounds for McCarthy to win in January.
As The American Conservative reported, Jordan received 200 votes on the first ballot. Twenty Republican holdouts scattered their votes amongst McCarthy, Rep. Steve Scalise, Rep. Thomas Massie, Rep. Mike Garcia, Rep. Tom Emmer, Rep. Tom Cole, and former Rep. Lee Zeldin. After Tuesday’s vote, Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, a Jordan objector who has personal problems with Jordan over the Ohioan’s handling of antitrust issues in the Judiciary Committee, told MSNBC he believed Jordan would lose support in the following vote.
Buck’s prediction came true. In the second vote, Jordan received 199 votes, while Scalise received seven, McCarthy recorded five, Zeldin got three, and Reps. Byron Donalds, Emmer, Garcia, Carol Miller, Kay Granger, and Bruce Westerman had one apiece. Former Speaker John Boehner also received one vote.
In Wednesday’s vote, Jordan was able to earn both Rep. Victoria Spartz and Rep. Doug Lamalfa’s vote. Jordan had three new objectors, however; Reps. Vern Buchanan, Drew Ferguson, and Mariannette Miller-Meeks all moved away from Jordan in round two.
Some House Republicans, either because they are loyal to Scalise or McCarthy, or because they are liberals who think Jordan is too conservative, were whispering on Capitol Hill and informing members of the media that they expected the number of Jordan defections to be much higher than a net loss of one for the Ohio Congressman.
Lamalfa, one of the flips to Jordan, reportedly told members of the media that after round three, Jordan should consider pulling out of the race. After it took 15 rounds for McCarthy to become Speaker in January, Jordan should throw in the towel after just three? Absolutely not.
Even with one additional vote against him, Jordan’s in a much better position than he was at the end of last week when 55 members of the House GOP said they wouldn’t vote for Jordan on the floor.
What’s more, anyone who says Jordan should surrender because a prolonged fight makes it more likely that centrists will partner with Democrats to elect a consensus Speaker isn’t thinking beyond the initial vote. More likely than not, this bipartisan coalition completely falls apart when it has to pass a new rules package. When they’re not able to do so, Republicans have a clear path to vacate the consensus chair, and it’s back to square one.
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Then, of course, there’s the fact that any Republican who sides with Democrats in voting for the next Speaker is committing political suicide.
Jordan and his allies must hold the line. As one man once wrote in a book titled The Art of the Deal, “The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it.”
“That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you’re dead.”