Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) bowed out of the running to become House speaker Friday after failing on a third ballot, clearing the way for new candidates to take their shot at the gavel next week.
The House Judiciary Committee chairman and founding member of the Freedom Caucus struggled to win over moderates in his last bid for the speakership, winning just 194 votes from his colleagues on the House floor before suspending his run hours later.
Potential replacements filled the void soon after, with Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) and Reps. Kevin Hern (R-Okla.) and Jack Bergman (R-Mich.) throwing their hats in the ring.
Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.), who lost a conference vote to Jordan last week, also renewed his bid for the speakership, while Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), who picked up two votes on the House floor Friday morning, also put his name on the list.
Budget Committee Chairman Jodey Arrington (R-Texas) will also seek his conference’s support for the speakership on Monday, his office told The Post.
The 25 holdouts who opposed Jordan cited concerns about ongoing funding of the government, threatening tactics by some of his supporters and bad blood between him and allies of Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), among others.
The Louisiana Republican had won enough votes to be nominated for speaker last week in a closed-door conference meeting but withdrew from consideration before a floor vote could be taken.
“When Steve Scalise beat him in a head-to-head election, he did not go along with the outcome of that election,” Rep. John Rutherford of Florida told The Post of Jordan following Friday’s floor vote and before the Ohioan withdrew.
“He needs to step out of the way, quit obstructing so we can go about finding who the next speaker nominee could be,” Rutherford said.
Scalise enjoyed the largest support among dissenting members in the Friday ballot, as eight disgruntled members backed him. Six more went for Speaker Pro Tem Patrick McHenry (R-NC), four for 2022 New York gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin.
Suffolk County Rep. Nick LaLota said he had talks with Jordan involving Zeldin after he voted twice for the ex-Long Island congressman on every ballot.
“We’re not there. I don’t think we’re gonna get there anytime very soon. But there’s been a professional dialogue,” he said after supporting Zeldin a third time, along with three other New York Republicans.
LaLota had mentioned federal budget concerns as well as previous votes by Jordan against state-and-local-tax deductions and the World Trade Center Health program.
Donalds and ousted Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who nominated Jordan on the third ballot, also nabbed two votes apiece.
Three other votes went to Emmer, Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) and Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.).
All 210 Democrats supported Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) for the speaker’s chair, with Reps. Donald Payne (D-NJ) and Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) absent.
House Republicans voted 112-86 to reject Jordan as their speaker designate in another secret ballot Friday afternoon, sources told The Post, and opted to pick up the process on Monday at 6:30 p.m. with another conference session.
“I appreciated the opportunity to work with everyone, talk with everyone,” Jordan told reporters after his loss on the secret ballot. “I got to know members in our conference that I didn’t really know that well over the last three weeks.”
“It’s fair to say that Leader Scalise wasn’t given adequate time, he had 24 hours to campaign,” McHenry said in brief remarks to the press.
“Our nominee Jordan was given a little more time — not right for him, [and the] conference made a decision that we’re going to move forward with a new speaker, not today,” he added.
“It’s my goal to be talking to you at this time next Friday as chairman of the Financial Services Committee,” the reluctant acting speaker affirmed.
Some GOP lawmakers had floated a resolution to remove McHenry during earlier deliberations on the floor, as photos emerged of members handling the document apparently authored by current Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry (R-Pa.).
No members signed onto the resolution, but seven of the Republicans who voted to remove McCarthy Oct. 3 circulated a separate letter putting their committee assignments and even position in the conference on the line to fight for Jordan.
During the third round of voting, several representatives who had backed McCarthy on the first and second ballots flipped to McHenry, signaling their frustration with the removal of the speaker earlier this month.
“Whoever runs the majority, we got to get behind,” Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) said. “We did that for 230-plus years, and we threw it away this January. And there’s a lot of baggage with that. A lot of anger builds up over that.”
“I saw Steve Scalise go down and that very day five people said they refused to support him. That was a tipping point for me,” he went on. “I’m tired of people walking all over us.”
“They’re going to get their way by not following the rules. You can’t do that,” Bacon said. “There should be consequences — you vote against a majority of the majority on the floor, you should maybe lose your committee, or your seniority, we can debate what that will be.”
McHenry, in rare remarks to the press after the vote, clarified why upon taking up the gavel he had declined to call up any legislation in the interim.
“I said very clearly to Republicans yesterday that any move to go beyond that I would not support,” McHenry said, adding that he was guided in that decision by “a nonpartisan parliamentarian” who has overseen Congress for 50 years.
“That matters a lot to me, and I’m not going to take a temporary position and undermine this institution,” he also said. “I’m fighting vigorously to make sure that neither side can do that.”
He later joked with reporters that a resolution to oust him from his acting role would be “fantastic.”