Republican Rep. Jim Jordan again failed to win the House speaker’s gavel in a second vote on Wednesday, drawing less support than in an initial vote the day before. The loss raises serious questions over whether the Ohio Republican has a viable path forward as he confronts steep opposition and the House remains in a state of paralysis.
During the first round of voting on Tuesday, 20 House Republicans voted against Jordan. On Wednesday, that number rose to 22, showing that the opposition against the candidate has grown. 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 puts the gavel far out of reach.
As pressure grows on Republicans to find a way out of the leadership crisis, some are pushing to expand the powers of the interim speaker, Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina. Republicans are discussing the possibility of bringing forward a resolution to empower McHenry as soon as Wednesday afternoon, two sources told CNN.
Without a speaker, the chamber is effectively frozen, a precarious position that comes amid conflict abroad and a potential government shutdown next month.
Jordan dug in Wednesday morning, saying he is going to stay in the race and rejected the idea of empowering McHenry, saying the House needs a permanent Republican speaker.
“We got to get a speaker so we can open the House, so I’m going to get there,” he said.
A resolution to empower McHenry would need Democratic support since many Republicans oppose the idea. The move could give Democrats an opportunity to seek some concessions from Republicans in exchange for their votes.
Jordan is a polarizing figure in the speaker’s fight, a complicating factor in his effort to lock down votes. He is a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, has a longstanding reputation as a conservative agitator 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.
It took former Speaker Kevin McCarthy 15 rounds of voting in January to secure the gavel. But Jordan faces an uphill climb amid the deep divisions within the House GOP conference and the resistance he faces.
As the speaker battle drags on, tensions and frustration have risen among House Republicans.
GOP Rep. Don Bacon’s wife received anonymous text messages warning her husband to back Jordan. Bacon has been a vocal holdout against Jordan and was one of the 20 Republican members that did not back Jordan on the floor in Tuesday’s vote.
“Your husband will not hold any political office ever again. What a disappointment and failure he is,” read one of the messages sent to Bacon’s wife and obtained by CNN through Bacon.
Bacon’s wife responded to that text saying, “he has more courage than you. You won’t put your name to your statements.”
GOP lawmaker voted for a congressman he didn’t want to be Speaker. Hear why
Opponents to Jordan’s bid so far have included centrist Republicans concerned that the face of the House GOP would be a conservative hardliner as well as lawmakers still furious at the small group of Republicans who forced out McCarthy and then opposed House Majority Leader Steve Scalise’s bid for the gavel.
Scalise initially defeated Jordan inside the GOP conference to become the speaker nominee, but later dropped out of the race amid opposition to his candidacy.
This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.