Fifteen days without a speaker of the House, and it appears that the Republican Party, and the nation, are back to square one.
Representative Jim Jordan lost the floor vote for the seat a second time on Wednesday, and by an even bigger margin than in the first round of voting, marking what many believe to be an end to the ultraconservative’s bid for the House’s most prominent position.
The Ohio Republican secured only 199 votes on Wednesday, two fewer than he got a day earlier. Twenty-two of his own colleagues voted against him.
It’s not a surprise that Jordan is bleeding votes. Republican opposition to the Freedom Caucus founder was tight ahead of the vote, with one House GOP member predicting potentially 25 votes against Jordan if voting went to a third ballot.
“The opposition is organized. We’re in tight comms, unified, and growing,” the unnamed member said, reported CNN’s Manu Raju.
Even one of Jordan’s own allies asked for “prayers” for the speaker nominee on Wednesday morning, predicting more losses for Jordan, reported Punchbowl News’s Jake Sherman.
Jordan’s rise-and-fall candidacy highlighted a growing rift in the Republican Party, split between a handful of far-right members of the House and a silent majority of moderates.
The GOP began weighing new options even before the second ballot for Jordan’s speakership began. Extending Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry’s term is chief among them, though Jordan has spoken out against it, reported Fox News’s Chad Pergram. The move would extend McHenry’s temporary position to November 17 and increase his power ahead of the impending government shutdown next month.
“We’ve been at this for two weeks. The American people deserve to have their government functioning,” Jordan said to a huddle of reporters ahead of Wednesday’s vote.