published : 2023-10-17

The Battle for Speaker: Chaos and Intrigue Unfold for House Republicans

Can Rep. Jim Jordan Secure the Speakership Amidst Opposition?

A photo of Rep. Jim Jordan addressing fellow House Republicans during a campaign rally, taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

House Republicans have experienced a whirlwind of chaos in recent weeks following the ousting of Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Now, the party faces an uncertain future as they strive to select the next speaker.

Rep. Jim Jordan, hailing from Ohio, has emerged as the nominee to replace McCarthy. However, his journey to this point has been riddled with plot twists, including the surprise withdrawal of House Majority Leader Steve Scalise and the unexpected bid of Rep. Austin Scott for speaker. Adding to the complication, Jordan faces significant opposition from fellow GOP lawmakers in his pursuit of the speakership.

The GOP drama unfolded on October 2 when Rep. Matt Gaetz filed a motion to eject the speaker, ultimately resulting in McCarthy's removal after a tight vote. This setback prompted the Republican majority to search for a new leader for the House.

Scalise and Jordan quickly emerged as frontrunners for the role, with Scalise initially garnering support from the majority of the Republican conference. However, a day later, Scalise made the surprising decision to withdraw from the race, unable to secure a path to victory on the House floor.

An image capturing the intense debate in the House chamber as members discuss the selection of the next speaker, taken with a Nikon D850.

This turn of events opened the door for Jordan, who seemed poised to become the next Republican choice for the nominee. Yet, his bid faced uncertainty with the unexpected entry of Scott into the race. Ultimately, Jordan prevailed over Scott in a vote, securing the Republican nomination for speaker. However, a subsequent vote revealed that 55 Republicans still opposed Jordan, despite Scott's call for support.

"I highly respect Jim Jordan," Scott stated on social media, graciously accepting his defeat. "He is an asset to the Republican Party and our nominee for Speaker." Scott urged fellow lawmakers to rally behind Jordan, emphasizing the need for unity to get Congress back on track.

Two prominent figures in the Republican party, former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, have both thrown their support behind Jordan's bid for speaker. DeSantis expressed that he would vote for Jordan if he were a member of the House, while Trump voiced his hopes for Jordan's success.

However, challenges lie ahead for Jordan. A significant hurdle is the opposition of 55 fellow Republicans who are unconvinced of his suitability for the speakership. To secure the position, Jordan can only afford four Republican defections if no Democrats back his bid.

A photograph of Rep. Kevin McCarthy reflecting on his time as Speaker of the House, taken with a Sony Alpha a7 III.

Some congressional members believe that Jordan will struggle to garner enough support, and his failed bid could lead to new strong candidates entering the race. Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern and Rep. Tom Emmer, initially aligned with Scalise, are among the potential contenders.

In an unconventional move, Republicans may also consider looking outside the House for a speaker candidate, although it is highly unlikely. One notable option is former President Trump, who has offered to temporarily step in if Republicans fail to unite behind a candidate.

Additionally, there is a possibility of a bipartisan resolution, with moderate members from both parties negotiating a speaker choice. However, such an approach would face strong resistance from House Republicans, who aim to maintain control of the House with a Republican speaker.

As the current nominee, Jordan aims to schedule a vote on his fate on the House floor for Tuesday. Although facing significant opposition, Jordan remains focused on uniting the conference and fulfilling the responsibilities Americans expect from their representatives.