GOP’s Jim Jordan is shoring up support and peeling off detractors ahead of a House speaker vote

Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, speaks during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on what Republicans say is the politicization of the FBI and Justice Department and attacks on American civil liberties, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON — With a push by allies of Donald Trump, far-right firebrand Rep. Jim Jordan appeared Monday to be shoring up support to become U.S. House speaker, winning over reluctant Republicans who have few options left two weeks after Kevin McCarthy’s ouster.

One by one, Jordan, the hard-charging Judiciary Committee chairman, has been peeling off detractors who view the Ohio Republican as too extreme. A major pressure campaign from Trump allies including Steve Bannon and Fox News’ Sean Hannity has helped quickly build support. Tuesday’s scheduled floor vote could turn into a showdown.


“I feel real good about the momentum we have,” Jordan said outside his office in Washington.

Ahead of a private GOP meeting Monday evening, Jordan took a cooperative tone vowing to “bring all Republicans together” if he becomes House speaker after the ouster of McCarthy.

“The country and our conference cannot afford us attacking each other right now,” Jordan wrote in a letter to colleagues. “It is time we unite to get back to work on behalf of the American people.”

The political climb has been steep for Jordan, a former outsider and a founding member of the right-flank Freedom Caucus who is now just votes away from a seat central to U.S power. House Republicans have watched their majority control of the chamber descend into chaos since McCarthy’s sudden removal from the job Oct. 3. All House business has ground to a halt.

To seize the gavel, second in line to the presidency, Jordan will need almost the full majority of his colleagues behind him in a House floor vote, as Democrats are certain to back their own nominee, Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York.

Jordan fell more than 50 votes short during internal party voting last Friday, after Majority Leader Steve Scalise, the party’s first nominee to replace McCarthy, abandoned his own nomination after failing to unify the Republicans.

But Jordan can rely on Trump’s backing as well as pressure on colleagues from an army of grass-roots activists who recognize him from cable news and fiery performances at committee hearings. Republicans say it will be hard for rank-and-file lawmakers to oppose him in a public floor vote.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., who engineered McCarthy’s ouster by a handful of hardliners, publicly praised each lawmaker who has flipped to Jordan’s column — and berated those who have not.

“Thank you Rep. Ann Wagner!” Gaetz posted on social media, after the Missouri Republican announced her support.

Wagner announced her support saying she and Jordan had spoken Monday morning at length, “and he has allayed my concerns about keeping the government open with conservative funding, the need for strong border security, our need for consistent international support in times of war and unrest.”

Others also announced their support, including the House Armed Services Chairman Mike Rogers of Alabama.

Still, it could take multiple rounds during House floor voting scheduled to start at noon on Tuesday as several Republicans still are refusing to back Jordan. With the House Republican majority narrowly held 221-212 he can only afford to lose a few votes to reach the 217 majority threshold.

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