Inside the pressure campaign to get Jim Jordan the House speaker gavel

October 18, 2023

GOP House Speaker nominee, Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), is ramping up the pressure on his critics ahead of a House floor vote on Wednesday, October 18—but some Republicans are warning it could leave him exposed to backlash, reports Axios.

Jordan got significantly close to 217 votes on Tuesday, but there are too many public holdouts for him to coast to a victory on a first ballot.

Two GOP lawmakers said they are less likely to back Jordan on a second ballot, which could further hinder his odds of getting the gavel.

One House Republican said primary threats have emerged if they don’t back the Jordan, with the member arguing that “the bullying tactics need to stop.”

Jordan spokesperson Russell Dye argued that primary threats are “totally untrue.”

There’s been a massive push to get House Republicans to unify around Jordan, including calls to member offices, conservative TV hosts ramping up the pressure on skeptics, and MAGA influencers taking aim at hesitant members on social media.

But the push has led to some members to argue that backing Jordan would be “rewarding bad behavior,” with one member telling Axios “he’s playing nice guy personally but letting attack dogs do the rest.”

 Some members say they’re encouraged by the Ohio Republican’s openness to bringing up priorities not traditionally backed by conservative hardliners.

Multiple GOP lawmakers said that Jordan told them he would not block legislation linking Ukraine funding to Israel funding, which a Jordan spokesperson then denied.

Other members said that Jordan appeared open to bringing a farm bill to the floor. “Jim seeks my counsel when it comes to agriculture and in where we’re at with the Farm Bill,” House Agriculture Chairman GT Thompson (R-Pennsylvania.) told Axios.

A Jordan spokesperson told Axios that agriculture “is really important to a lot of members, including … Jordan’s own district, and we think conversations about agriculture and the farm bill should continue.”

GOP moderates say they’re concerned about Jordan’s links to former President Donald Trump, and others flagged his ability to fundraise as a weak point.

Centrists and frontliners also have voiced a reluctance to back Jordan after his offer to nominate House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) on the floor only on the first ballot, arguing that the move was disingenuous.

Centrists looking to withhold their votes from Jordan mentioned the 55 members of the conference who voted on Friday, October 13,  that they would not support him on the floor.

Jordan allies have argued that moderates will cave amid the pressure, with plans to vote despite Jordan voicing that no one should go to the floor without 217 votes during an appearance on Fox News just days ago.

Research contact: @axios