Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan is out of the race to become House speaker hours after his third failed attempt to try and win the gavel on Friday, lawmakers told Spectrum News.

The chaos that has engulfed the House of Representatives for more than two weeks shows no signs of stopping. 

"We need to come together and figure out who our speaker's going to be," Jordan said in brief remarks after the news broke. "I'm gonna work as hard as I can to help that individual so that we can go help the American people."

"It's important we do unite, let's figure out who that individual is, get behind them and get to work for the American people," Jordan added, without giving a preference about who should pursue the speakership next.

Jordan, who became speaker-designee last week after House Majority Steve Scalise dropped out of the race, spent the week trying to win over holdouts and critics, but ended up losing support with every single subsequent vote this week. Jordan secured 200 votes on Tuesday, 199 on Wednesday and by Friday, his support fell to 194, tying the fewest number of votes garnered by a speaker candidate since 1923.

After the vote Friday, House Republicans held a secret ballot during a closed-door conference meeting about whether Jordan should stay in the race or drop out. Jordan lost the vote 86-112.

"The most popular Republican in the U.S. Congress was just knifed by secret ballot in a private meeting in the basement of the Capitol," said far-right Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, the lawmaker who led the ouster of Rep. Kevin McCarthy as speaker earlier this month. "It's as swampy as the swamp gets and Jim Jordan deserved better than that."

Lawmakers headed home for the weekend and will hold a new candidate forum on Monday, with prospective applicants declaring their candidacy by Sunday afternnon, according to Arkansas Sen. Steve Womack.

"Monday we're going to come back and start over," Scalise told reporters.

"The space and time for a reset is, I think, an important thing for House Republicans," said acting House Speaker Patrick McHenry.

One lawmaker wasted no time in declaring a bid: Oklahoma's Kevin Hern, who said in a statement that "we need a different type of leader who has a proven track record of success."

Florida Rep. Byron Donalds confirmed to Spectrum News that he, too, is running for speaker.

Other Republicans, like Texas Rep. Jodey Arrington and Georgia Rep. Austin Scott, told reporters that they're considering speaker bids.

While it's not apparent who will be the next House speaker, one thing is clear: The fractured, troubled House Republican conference is back to square one.

"It's going to be a difficult couple of days," warned South Dakota Rep. Dusty Johnson. "We’re going to get it done, it’s just going to take a little longer."

Friday's vote: Jordan makes it three straight losses

The ouster of Jordan caps off yet another chaotic week at the U.S. Capitol, with the House still leaderless for a 17th straight day, paralyzed and unable to act on key priorities like funding the government and providing aid to Israel.

Jordan’s efforts throughout the week to try to win over holdouts appeared to be for naught, as the far-right Trump-endorsed Ohio congressman only garnered 194 votes, his lowest total this week.

Of the 25 Republican defections, there were some flips away from Jordan: New York Rep. Marc Molinaro joined several members of the Empire State’s GOP delegation in voting for failed gubernatorial candidate and former congressman Lee Zeldin, while Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick threw his support behind acting Speaker Patrick McHenry and New Jersey's Tom Kean voted for California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the recently ousted House speaker.

After Oregon Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer became the fourth vote against Jordan, effectively sealing his fate on the floor, a Democratic lawmaker heckled: “We can stop right here if you like,” to some laughter from that side of the room.

That wasn’t the only moment of mirth and interruption on the floor Friday. Democrats laughed when McCarthy, who nominated Jordan, called the Ohio Republican an “effective legislator” and jeered when the California Republican called him a consensus-builder — Democrats have routinely attacked Jordan’s thin legislative record.

But just as McCarthy attacked Democrats in his speech, he sang the praises of Jordan’s bonafides, reading feedback from freshman members on his committee and talked glowingly of their long history together.

“I first met Jim as a candidate,” he recounted. “I traveled to Ohio I remember pulling up for breakfast at a Bob Evans in Ohio. There was Jim having a meeting, listening to constituents. I traveled with him throughout the day … just listening to people that had concerns.

“I watched then the same Jim Jordan I see today,” McCarthy continued. “He was a leader, a listener and a fighter … over time, we took different routes, Jim actually ran against me for leader in 2018. It was a hard-fought battle. But I never once questioned his skills or commitment to this conference or this country.”

Once again, it was House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., who won the most votes, 210 (two Democrats did not vote Friday), keeping the Democratic conference united behind him — though he, too, was short of the votes needed to win the gavel.

“Two-twelve — it’s a New York area code and it’s our call for a speaker of integrity, intelligence and inclusion,” House Minority Whip Katherine Clark, D-Mass., said of Jeffries, referencing his vote totals from earlier this week — though it’s worth noting that the Democratic leader’s Brooklyn district is entirely outside of the 212 area code.

“The majority's nominee is disconnected,” she said of Jordan. “Disconnected from the American people and their values. MAGA extremism is designed to divide and it has broken the Republican Party. Their nominee’s vision is a direct attack on the freedom and the rights of the American people, and he's got the record to prove it.”

Clark went on to list Jordan’s record of opposing issues like health care for 9/11 survivors, his challenges to the 2020 election, and his support for cutting Medicare and Social Security and enacting a nationwide abortion ban.

“We want to make our own health care decisions in consultation with our families, our doctors, our faith,” Clark said to applause and cheers from the Democratic side of the room. “Not with Jim Jordan.”

What went wrong for Jordan?

Ohio Rep. Mike Carey, a close ally of Jordan who was helping whip votes for his speaker bid, told Spectrum News that some of the Republican holdouts "were pretty dug in" on their support for other candidates.

"I think you had some people that were pretty dug in, that felt that [Scalise] had gotten out of the Speaker race too soon," Carey said. "I just think some of those people were not going to budge, and we knew that."

"Then you had some people that still were 100% for McCarthy," Carey continued. "Even though McCarthy did everything he could to tell everybody, ‘listen, support Jim Jordan.'"

Carey praised McCarthy's speech on the House floor on Friday nominating Jordan, adding that "you just have some people that still have a really bad taste in their mouth, so I think that was it."

"No matter what happened today, Jim Jordan is still the second-most popular Republican in the United States," Carey posited. "All these members, whether they voted for him or against him, are still going to want them in their districts. They're going to still want him on their side, and it was an honor to work with him over these last two weeks."

Republicans who ousted McCarthy offer unique proposal

Shortly before Jordan dropped out of the race, a group of Republicans who ousted McCarthy earlier this month, putting the House chaos into motion in the first place, offered a unique proposal: offering to accept censure, suspension or removal from the Republican conference if the GOP holdouts back Jordan for speaker.

“If the holdouts who refuse to vote for Speaker-Designate Jim Jordan would be willing to 'vote with the team' and elect him the 56th House Speaker, we are prepared to accept censure, suspension, or removal from the Conference to accomplish this objective," reads the letter, signed by Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace and six other Republicans who voted to boot McCarthy.

"If they want to punish us, whatever it takes to get there," Mace told reporters. "The House of Representatives needs a speaker that is honest, that a work hard and that they can trust."

"It's not about us," she continued. "This is about leading our country, and a couple of our colleagues are taking personal vendettas and petty politics and not voting for Jim Jordan for that reason. I think that's a mistake. And so if they want to punish us, let 'em."

When asked by Spectrum News what she had to say to members voting their conscience, which is what she said she did when she voted to oust McCarthy, Mace said they have to "square that away with their voters." 

California GOP Rep. Mike Garcia appeared supportive of the idea.

"If they're willing to stand by that, regardless of who the nominee is, I think we should take them up on it," he said. "If that helps people feel better and helps the healing process."

McCarthy, for his part, called the group the "crazy eights led by Gaetz" and said that "the amount of damage that they have done to this party and to this country is insurmountable."

"We are in a very bad position as a party, one that has won the majority, one that America has entrusted us with, that a simple eight people have put us in this place," he added.

Democrats condemn chaos, call for bipartisan unity

Democrats, meanwhile, continued to call for a bipartisan path forward on reopening the House.

"While Joe Biden fights to advance bipartisan legislation that will protect our national security interests - including in Israel and Ukraine - provide humanitarian assistance for innocent civilians in Gaza, deliver critical border funding, compete with China, and grow our economy, House Republicans are somehow still fighting with each other," said White House spokesperson Andrew Bates. "House Republicans need to end their chaotic infighting and their competitions to out-extreme one another, and instead join President Biden in working on urgent priorities for American families shared by both parties in Congress."

“House Democrats have repeatedly made clear we want to find a bipartisan path forward leader at every step of the way,” Jeffries said before Friday’s vote. "Republicans have rejected bipartisanship and embraced extremism.”

"Jim Jordan is a clear and present danger to our democracy," Jeffries said. "He wants to end Social Security as we know it. He wants to end Medicare as we know. He doesn't believe that President Biden was elected in 2020."

“It is not too late for the majority to choose a bipartisan path forward to reopen the House,” Clark said on the House floor. “Take yes for an answer. Every day the majority chooses to engage in a Republican civil war that is threatening their own members, instead of engaging with us in the work of the American people is a day that weakens this institution and the standing of our country."

"It is inconceivable that with Jim Jordan losing more and more Republicans every round that he would continue this charade," said California Rep. Mike Levin. "I would hope at some point that his conference could try to have any semblance of organization and come together and try to find a bipartisan path forward."


Original story HERE.