Washington, D.C. – October 19, 2023
In a pivotal moment in the ongoing House Speaker election, U.S. Representative Jim Jordan faced stiff resistance from three Texas Republicans. Despite efforts to garner support, Jordan remained 18 votes away from securing the Speaker’s position during a Wednesday vote, extending the House’s leadership vacuum. Meanwhile, activists in Texas are actively pressing Republican representatives to rally behind Jordan’s bid.
Representatives Kay Granger of Fort Worth, Tony Gonzales of San Antonio, and Jake Ellzey of Waxahachie all stood firm in their opposition to Jordan’s Speaker bid during the second round of voting since the removal of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California. Granger and Gonzales cast their votes for House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, while Ellzey supported fellow fighter pilot veteran Representative Mike Garcia of California.
The vote yielded 199 votes for Jordan, falling short of the 217 needed to claim the Speaker’s gavel. The 22 Republican votes against Jordan, two more than in the previous vote, were primarily directed toward alternative candidates, reflecting widespread opposition to Jordan’s far-right stances. One vote, from Iowa’s Mariannette Miller-Meeks, went to Granger.
Granger, after the vote, defended her decision on social media, stating, “This was a vote of conscience, and I stayed true to my principles. Intimidation and threats will not change my position.”
The protracted drama over the House Speaker election has left the leadership position vacant for over two weeks. Jordan’s bid to become Speaker faced its first hurdle on Tuesday when he failed to secure sufficient votes. Notably, all of Texas’ Democratic representatives voted for Representative Jeffries in both rounds.
Following the initial setback, Jordan opted for a single round of voting on Tuesday to allow time to rally more supporters. Republican operatives in Texas simultaneously initiated efforts to persuade dissenting representatives to back Jordan.
Kelly Perry, a member of the State Republican Executive Committee, revealed that grassroots organizers and county party chairs in Gonzales’ district were actively engaging with his donors and urging organizations to withdraw their endorsements, including the influential Texas Farm Bureau. Despite these efforts, the Farm Bureau remains steadfast in its endorsement of Gonzales, citing his consistent support for agricultural-related issues.
Efforts to apply similar pressure in Ellzey’s and Granger’s districts were underway but appeared to backfire, as some moderate Republicans hesitated to support Jordan due to these aggressive tactics. Pennsylvania Representative Scott Perry, chair of the House Freedom Caucus, anticipated a decline in support for Jordan ahead of Wednesday’s vote.
Within the Texas delegation, Jordan never enjoyed unanimous support from Republicans. Many Texas representatives initially voted for Steve Scalise, with some switching their allegiance to Jordan after Scalise withdrew from the race. The division within the party adds complexity to the ongoing Speaker election.
As the impasse persists, the Speaker election coincides with pressing legislative matters, including votes on aid for Israel and Ukraine and the passage of appropriations bills to maintain government funding. With federal funding set to expire in mid-November, the failure to select a Speaker and pass spending legislation could result in a government shutdown.
The ongoing drama surrounding the House Speaker election underscores the challenges of finding a unifying candidate in a deeply divided political landscape.