House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) failed to win the Speakership in the first round of voting Tuesday after 20 Republicans withheld support from his bid, denying him the votes needed to secure the gavel.
The vote was 200 for Jordan, 212 for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), six for former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and seven for House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.).
Seven more GOP members voted for others: three for Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), one for Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), one for Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), and one for Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.).
The total number of Jordan holdouts was the same as the number of opponents who kept McCarthy from the gavel for multiple ballots at the start of the year.
Speaker Pro Tem Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) immediately recessed after the vote.
Jordan said that he wants to move to another vote on Tuesday, but it is not clear when it will be called.
The stage is set for another protracted race to win the gavel. In January, it took McCarthy 15 ballots over the course of four days to be elected to the top spot.
Asked if there will be a second vote on Tuesday, Jordan told The Hill: “Oh, yeah.” Next steps, he said, include “listening to members.”
“I felt like it was a good — that was a good start,” Jordan said.
Jordan said he was “not really” surprised by the number of Republicans who withheld support.
“We thought we were doing well, that we were that area or a little little more maybe… we feel confident that we are, we’ve already talked to some members who are gonna vote with us on the second ballot,” Jordan told reporters.
Members left the vote unsure of whether Jordan can win over some holdouts on the next ballot, or if he is on the way to lose even more support.
“I am where I am. I have no intention of moving,” said Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), who voted for Scalise.
But Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.), who voted for McCarthy on the first ballot, said he will vote for Jordan on the next one.
“I voted for Speaker Kevin McCarthy because this whole process has stumped the last 15 days,” LaMalfa said. “I will vote for him, Jim, on the second ballot. But this is my long term relationship and friendship and partnership with Kevin.”
Tuesday marked exactly two weeks since eight Republicans joined with Democrats in ousting McCarthy from the Speakership, a historic vote that plunged the House into uncharted territory and brought legislative business in the chamber to a screeching halt.
Jordan faced an uphill climb heading into Tuesday’s floor vote after at least six Republicans came out against his bid Monday night, and others remained mum on their positions.
Jordan — the founding chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus — won the GOP’s Speaker nomination last week after the conference’s first nominee, Scalise, withdrew his name from the race amid opposition from hard-line conservatives who said they would still support Jordan. Jordan had initially fallen short of Scalise in a 113-199 vote.
Days later, however, Jordan secured the nomination over Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) — who mounted a last-minute bid for the gavel — in a 124-81 vote. In a second vote that asked members if they would support the Ohio Republican on the floor, the final tally was 152-55.
Jordan made significant progress in chipping away at that opposition over the weekend and into this week, which was evident when four key holdouts flipped their stance in support of the Ohio Republican. But he still faced enough resistance to block him from the gavel.
Opponents cited various reasons for their stances.
Some Republicans are still bitter about McCarthy’s ouster, while others are frustrated that Scalise was forced to withdraw from the race despite winning the nomination in a secret ballot.
“I voted for the guy who won the election,” Diaz-Balart said of his vote for Scalise — also knocking the tactics of Jordan supporters over the weekend who were trying to “intimidate or threaten” the holdouts.
One Republican, Rep. Ken Buck (Colo.), expressed concerns about Jordan’s stance on the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
“If he’s gonna lead this conference during a presidential election cycle, particularly a presidential election year with primaries and caucuses around the country, he’s gonna have to be strong and say Donald Trump didn’t win the election,” Buck told reporters Monday night.
Buck — was one of eight Republicans at the start of the month who voted to oust McCarthy — cast his Speaker ballot on Tuesday for House Majority Whip Tom Emmer (R-Minn.).
“I don’t like Tom Emmer, I figured this would be the worst job in America,” Buck later said on CNN.
Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-Ore.), another defector who voted for McCarthy, said she is looking for a consensus candidate.
“Until somebody gets as many as Speaker McCarthy got, we’re going to be in this further divide,” she said. “I’m going to do everything I can within our conference to get a consensus candidate within the Republican Conference.”
Aris Folley, Rebecca Beitsch, and Miranda Nazzaro contributed. Updated at 3:03 p.m.