Rep. Jim Jordan’s third speaker vote did not go any better than—or even as well as—his two previous losing efforts, leading to his fellow Republicans voting him out of the “speaker designee” role on a secret ballot. In what turned out to be Jordan’s final shot at the speaker’s gavel, three Republicans who voted for him twice this week flipped and opposed him. All three, notably, are among the 18 House Republicans representing districts President Joe Biden won in 2020.
Voting against Jordan for the first time were Rep. Marc Molinaro, whose New York district had a Biden margin of 4.6 percentage points; Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick:, whose Pennsylvania district also had a Biden margin of 4.6 points; and Rep. Tom Kean, whose New Jersey district had a Biden margin of 3.9 points.
Fitzpatrick switched his vote to Rep. Patrick McHenry, the current speaker pro tempore. Kean switched his vote to Kevin McCarthy, the former speaker whose historic ouster kicked off this whole mess. Molinaro voted for former Rep. Lee Zeldin, following other New York Republicans who have opposed Jordan.
Exactly how much does it benefit these three Republicans to have voted for Jordan (twice!) before voting against him? The ads about their votes for an extremist who wanted to overturn the 2020 election, stealing the votes of every Biden voter in their districts, are presumably already written. Switching their votes doesn’t make them look braver or more principled. The demonstration of momentum away from Jordan is appreciated, but it doesn’t get them off the hook.
That left nine of the 18 Republicans in Biden-won districts voting for Jordan, three votes in. There were still three Republicans voting for Jordan despite being in districts Biden won by 10 points or more.
Jordan went from losing 20 Republicans, to losing 22, to 25. At least one of his supporters to that point, Rep. Troy Nehls, followed up the vote by saying he wouldn’t vote for Jordan the fourth time around because Jordan “does not have the votes.” (Nehls says he would vote for Donald Trump.) It’s safe to say that Jordan’s big press conference trying to portray himself as the only plausible answer in this moment of crisis was a flop. Three losses and being tossed out of the running by his conference couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy, but let’s not forget what the Biden-district Republicans showed us about themselves.
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