Jim Jordan tried and failed for a third time Friday to be elected speaker of the House, as more than two dozen of his fellow Republicans voted against him.
The Republican House members then voted to drop him as the party’s nominee for speaker. In a secret vote, Republicans voted to remove Jordan by a vote of 112-86, and scheduled another candidate forum for Monday ahead of a vote on Tuesday.
“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,” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla told reporters. “It’s as swampy as swamp gets, and Jim Jordan deserved better than that.”
Several Republicans have already announced they plan to run for speaker.
Twenty-five Republicans voted for other candidates instead of Jordan during the third floor vote Friday, holding him back from the majority he needed to win. Every Democrat voted for Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.
Jordan lost ground between the second and third vote, with three previous supporters flipping and voting for other Republicans.
A crowded field of new contenders is already shaping up in the wake of Jordan’s loss. Majority Whip Tom Emmer, the House’s third ranking Republican, is seen by some as an early frontrunner, particularly after he received an endorsement from former speaker Kevin McCarthy. But tensions with Donald Trump could potentially bring down his candidacy.
Rep. Kevin Hern, head of the Republican Study Committee, the House GOP’s largest faction, has also said he will run, while Vice Conference Chair Mike Johnson is making calls. House Budget Committee Chair Jodey Arrington was overheard telling his wife on the phone that he was “seriously considering” it.
Some lesser known names including Rep. Dan Meuser, R-Pa. and Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga. — who ran against Jordan earlier this week — also said they would throw their hat in the ring. Rep. Jack Bergman, a former Marine Corps lieutenant general from Michigan, has put himself forward as a bridge candidate who can “steady the ship” until a more permanent speaker is found.
Rep. Byron Donalds, one of the chamber’s few Black Republicans and a member of the ultraconservative Freedom Caucus, has said he will jump into the fray.
Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla. told Semafor that members “should realize by now, if they haven’t,” that they should stand united and vote for whomever wins over a majority of the Republican conference.
“Scalise won the head-to-head vote with Jordan. He should have been our nominee,” Rutherford said. “And whoever wins the next one, I’ll be supporting that nominee, whomever.”
That Jordan even held a third vote on Friday marked a reversal from less than 24 hours earlier, when he backed a proposal to empower Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry, R-N.C. to bring bills to the floor in a temporary speaker role.
But that plan died after a tense Republican conference meeting Thursday, in part because the proposal relied on having Democratic support.
During that meeting, McCarthy and others reportedly screamed at Gaetz, who led the charge to oust McCarthy earlier this month, and blamed him for the chaos.
Jordan opponents have spoken out about death threats and harassment they’ve received for voting against him in recent days.
Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., a Jordan ally, downplayed those concerns Friday as a ”red herring.”
“There are people out in the world that dislike us and threaten us. That’s nothing new,” he said. “It’s nothing new to any member of Congress. We all know it.”
— Kadia Goba contributed to this report.