House Republicans won’t have Jim Jordan to kick around anymore. After three ill-fated attempts to secure the majority of votes needed to become the next speaker of the House, his GOP caucus put his ambitions on ice, removing him as speaker-designate in a secret ballot on Friday afternoon.
The Washington Post reported that while it was “unclear if Jordan would honor the decision,” it was still “likely he would have to follow the directive” if a majority of the conference came out against him continuing his increasingly fruitless bids. The Post would subsequently report that Jordan “received just 86 votes in favor of him continuing his campaign.”
Republicans who spoke to The New Republic seemed ready to put the events of the past few days swiftly behind them. “My goal has always been to just move forward, and get back to the Republican conservative agenda, and that’s what we have to do,” said Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, who voted against Jordan in all three votes. “It was pretty evident from day one that Mr. Jordan was never going to get the votes.”
“Our conference needs to unite. We need to heal, we need to reset, and we need to focus on our mission,” said Representative Jodey Arrington, one of many Republicans mulling a speaker bid.
Representative Jake Ellzey, who similarly opposed Jordan on all three ballots, said that he would take under consideration how a speaker candidate voted last month on a measure to temporarily keep the government funded. McCarthy was ousted in large part because he supported a stopgap continuing resolution, which was passed on a bipartisan basis. Ellzey also supported that measure, calling it a “hard vote.”
“I think if you want to lead me, every once in a while, you got to take a risk. And that wasn’t a popular vote for me, but it was the right thing to do,” Ellzey said. “You want to lead me? Lead. I want to be inspired in my vote.”
Not all Republicans emerged from their conference content, however. Florida Representative Matt Gaetz, whose shivving of McCarthy touched off this two-week-long hullabaloo, stuck up for Jordan, telling reporters, “The most popular Republican in the United States Congress was just knifed by a secret ballot, in a private meeting in the basement of the Capitol. It’s as swampy as swamp gets. And Jim Jordan deserves better than that.”