The House remains paralyzed with no end in sight to the Republican leadership crisis as GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio continues his bid for speaker despite facing stiff resistance.
The Ohio Republican, who has made a name for himself as a hardline conservative agitator, has so far vowed to stay in the race despite two failed votes for the gavel. The House could hold a third vote for speaker as soon as Thursday afternoon, though no vote has been officially scheduled yet.
Tensions are rising among House Republicans as pressure grows to find a way to resolve the standoff. In a sign of growing opposition to his candidacy, Jordan fared worse in a second round of voting on Wednesday than he had in the first vote a day earlier.
After Wednesday’s failed speaker vote, a number of Republicans who oppose Jordan made clear they won’t be swayed and some expressed outrage over what they described as a pressure campaign against them by Jordan allies.
The House remains effectively frozen as Republicans have failed to coalesce around a viable alternative to Kevin McCarthy after the former speaker was ousted in a historic vote by a group of conservative hardliners.
Now, more moderate and mainstream Republicans are the ones digging in, with some concerned over the prospect of a conservative firebrand like Jordan as speaker and others angry over the role hardliners played in pushing out McCarthy and then opposing House Majority Leader Steve Scalise’s bid for speaker.
As it increasingly looks uncertain that any candidate can secure the 217 votes to win the gavel, some Republicans have been pushing to expand the powers of the interim speaker, GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina. But such a move would be controversial and has divided Republicans.
Some of Jordan’s opponents have predicted that the Ohio Republican will lose even more support in Thursday’s speaker vote.
During the first round of voting, 20 House Republicans voted against Jordan. In the second round, that number rose to 22. There were four new Republican votes against Jordan and two that flipped into his column.
Given the narrow House GOP majority, Jordan can only afford to lose a handful of votes and the high number of votes against him so far puts the gavel far out of reach for now.
Jordan is a polarizing figure in the speaker’s fight. He is a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, and helped found the hardline House Freedom Caucus. As the chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, he has also been a key figure in House GOP-led investigations.
His struggle to win the gavel has highlighted the limits of Trump’s influence in the speaker’s race after the former president endorsed Jordan.
It took McCarthy 15 rounds of voting in January to secure the gavel.
Some Republicans, however, have argued that given the unprecedented situation the House is now in without a speaker the current race should not go on for that long.
A fast-approaching government shutdown deadline and conflict unfolding abroad has also fueled calls for Republicans to bring an end to the leadership vacuum as soon as possible.