Trump-backed Jim Jordan secures GOP nomination for speaker

Rep Jim Jordan (R-OH) has secured a majority of the GOP votes for speaker to grasp the nomination but he was unable to reach the 217 votes he needs from his caucus to win a vote of the full House.

Mr Jordan beat challenger Rep Austin Scott (R-GA) by around 124 votes to more than 80 for Mr Scott on Friday afternoon. Mr Scott is reported to not actually want to be speaker and observers say the vote for him indicates the significant part of the party which would be uncomfortable with him as speaker.

The GOP is going through several internal votes to avoid battling it out in public in the chamber. Since the votes are secret, it’s difficult for Mr Jordan to convince those who vote against him.

“I want to go as soon as we can, but we need all the members,” the chair of the House Freedom Caucus, Rep Scott Perry (R-PA), told reporters.

When by The Independent how confident he was that Mr Jordan could take the gavel, he said “Jim Jordan’s going to be the speaker. That’s how confident I am”.

Rep Jeff Van Drew (R-NJ), a former Democrat, was asked by The Independent if he was concerned that there’s going to have to be multiple rounds on the floor.

He said: “Hopefully we don’t do that. That’s the point of having multiple rounds in caucus.”

This comes after Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA) gave up his attempt to become speaker after he beat Mr Jordan in the first internal ballot on nominating a candidate for speaker earlier this week by a vote of 113 to 99.

Mr Jordan is a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump and has a reputation in Congress as a rightwing hardliner and brawler. He may yet end up failing to get the votes he needs for a floor vote as the GOP divisions appear far from softening.

As the GOP has a very small majority, Mr Jordan can only lose four votes on the House floor, and a number of Republicans on the moderate end of the conference have already said they won’t back Mr Jordan even in a vote of the full chamber.

“I think he’s gonna have a math problem as well,” Rep Mike Garcia (R-CA) told Axios earlier on Friday and Rep Greg Murphy (R-NC) added that “it’s going to be hard” for Mr Jordan to become speaker.

A number of House Republicans were pushing for a floor vote to take place on Friday. Many Democrats are out of town, meaning that the threshold for Mr Jordan would decrease. Democrats told Punchbowl News that they would move to vacate the chair next week if a vote went ahead on Friday.

Supporters of Mr Scalise told the outlet that they would never back Mr Jordan. Rep Tim Burchett (R-TN) said that it would probably take several rounds of voting on the floor to select a speaker.

Mr Burchett previously suggested that Mr Jordan can probably get the speakership after a couple of rounds on the floor. It took 15 rounds of voting for former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to take the gavel in January.

Mr McCarthy told CNN on Friday that Mr Jordan should take the fight to the floor if he can’t get to 217 on the internal ballot, but Mr Jordan has said that he wants 217 before heading to the full chamber.

Several House Republicans believe that the anti-Jordan coalition will cave if the vote is moved to the floor, according to Politico. Mr Jordan’s allies are reportedly eager to bring it to a floor vote.

Rep Ralph Norman (R-SC) said that it was likely that they wouldn’t get to 217 in the vote and it would “probably” take a few rounds on the floor.

Just before the GOP went in to have their internal vote on Friday, Rep Byron Donalds (R-FL) said the GOP should come to a decision in the room before heading to the House floor.

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