Rivals for US House Speaker Wait in the Wings as Jim Jordan’s Bid Unravels

Several Republicans are preparing to enter the race for US House speaker as Trump loyalist Jim Jordan’s bid unravels amid objections to his hardball tactics and deep divisions within the party.

(Bloomberg) — Several Republicans are preparing to enter the race for US House speaker as Trump loyalist Jim Jordan’s bid unravels amid objections to his hardball tactics and deep divisions within the party. 

Jordan, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, has remained in the race despite losing support on Wednesday. Twenty-two Republicans currently oppose him for speaker, and he can only lose four and still be elected in the face of united Democratic opposition. 

House Budget Chairman Jodey Arrington is among those calling colleagues to gauge his support in a fractious party still reeling from the Oct. 3 ouster of Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican official said. 

Arrington, who first came to Congress in 2017, has advocated deep cuts in federal spending to bring down budget deficits by $16 trillion over 10 years. Moderates have opposed his proposal and may be reluctant to back him as speaker.

Oklahoma Republican Kevin Hern is also weighing a run if Jordan drops out of the race, he told reporters Wednesday. 

“If a member wants to nominate me, I would certainly take a look at it,” Hern, who decided to sit out earlier rounds of the speaker race, said. 

Hern, who chairs the 176-member Republican Study Committee, could win over some moderates as a more centrist alternative to Jordan, whose strong-arm tactics have backfired on moderates and more traditional Republicans. 

Mike Johnson of Louisiana, a former RSC chairman and a current member of the House GOP leadership team, also plans to jump in the race if Jordan drops out of the race, Republican officials said. 

Johnson is a stalwart social conservative and member of Republican leadership team with a reputation for collegiality. He authored a “Commitment to Civility” pledge when he arrived at the Capitol in 2017 that was also signed by other incoming lawmakers.

Others considering a run include Jack Bergman of Michigan, a former Marine Corps three-star general and the highest-ranking combat veteran ever elected to Congress. Like Johnson and Arrington, he first came to Congress in 2017. 

“It’s becoming clear Rep. Jordan’s path is narrowing by the hour,” Bergman spokesman James Hogge said in a statement. 

Some Republicans are also trying to convince Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the party’s third-ranking official, whose name has been in the mix since McCarthy was voted out of office. 

Emmer has had a tense relations with some Trump supporters, in part because he voted to certify Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. There also had been some criticism of him for leading the House GOP political arm in 2022, when the party picked up the majority, but a narrower one than expected.

There was no immediate statement from Emmer’s office on whether he would reconsider running. 

Jordan “has the support of the conference to keep going and that is what is he is going to do,” Patrick McHenry, the interim speaker, said late Wednesday. 

The House, however, scuttled plans for another Wednesday vote, a clear sign of Jordan’s waning support. The chamber is expected to next vote on Thursday. 

Behind the scenes, the GOP official said Jordan did not want to lose another floor vote on Wednesday, but also was not ready to call it quits. While many members had expected an update on his plans, Jordan avoided meeting behind closed doors with House Republicans throughout the rest of the day, because he knew some would call on him to drop his bid, the official said.

Whether Jordan actually goes through with a third ballot in his quest is unclear, the person said. Meanwhile, others are starting to smell blood and talking to colleagues about their own bids.

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