Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

Jordan Gets Rivered

In Texas Hold 'em poker, a player can have a strong hand after the first three community cards (the flop) are revealed. And they can still have a pretty strong hand after the fourth community card (the turn) is revealed. And then, it can all fall apart when the fifth community card (the river) is revealed. When everything falls apart after the third round of reveals, that's called "getting rivered." And it also describes pretty well what just happened to no-longer-speaker-designate Jim Jordan (R-OH).

When it became clear that Jordan was 20-30 votes from winning the speaker's gavel, Plan A was to try to strongarm the holdouts. And Plan B was to keep holding floor votes in hopes that the holdouts would be shamed/scared into falling in line. Consistent with that, there was a third floor vote Friday morning. And, as with the second floor vote, the number of "no" votes grew. Here's a list of every Republican member who failed to cast a vote for Jordan at least one time across the three rounds:

Member     District  Dist. PVI Biden 18? Round One Round Two Round Three
Don Bacon NE-02 EVEN Yes McCarthy McCarthy McHenry
Gus Bilirakis FL-12 R+17 No Absent Jordan Jordan
Vern Buchanan FL-16 R+7 No Jordan Donalds Donalds
Ken Buck CO-04 R+13 No Emmer Emmer Emmer
Lori Chavez-DeRemer OR-05 D+2 Yes McCarthy McCarthy McHenry
Anthony D'Esposito NY-04 D+5 Yes Zeldin Zeldin Zeldin
Mario Diaz-Balart FL-26 R+8 No Scalise Scalise Scalise
Jake Ellzey TX-06 R+15 No Garcia Garcia Garcia
Drew Ferguson GA-03 R+18 No Jordan Scalise Scalise
Brian Fitzpatrick PA-01 EVEN Yes Jordan Jordan McHenry
Andrew Garbarino NY-02 R+3 No Zeldin Zeldin Zeldin
Carlos Giménez FL-28 R+2 No McCarthy McCarthy McCarthy
Tony Gonzales TX-23 R+5 No Scalise Scalise Scalise
Kay Granger TX-12 R+12 No Scalise Scalise Scalise
Wesley Hunt TX-38 R+12 No Jordan Jordan Absent
John James MI-10 R+3 No Cole Miller Donalds
Tom Kean Jr. NJ-07 R+1 Yes Jordan Jordan McCarthy
Mike Kelly PA-16 R+13 No Scalise Boehner Scalise
Jen Kiggans VA-02 R+2 Yes McCarthy McCarthy McHenry
Nick LaLota NY-01 R+3 Yes Zeldin Zeldin Zeldin
Doug LaMalfa CA-01 R+12 No McCarthy Jordan Jordan
Mike Lawler NY-17 D+3 Yes McCarthy McCarthy McHenry
Mariannette Miller-Meeks IA-01 R+3 No Jordan Granger McHenry
Marc Molinaro NY-19 R+3 Yes Jordan Jordan Zeldin
John Rutherford FL-05 R+11 No Scalise Scalise Scalise
Mike Simpson ID-02 R+14 No Scalise Scalise Scalise
Victoria Spartz IN-05 R+11 No Massie Jordan Jordan
Pete Stauber MN-08 R+8 No Jordan Westerman Westerman
Derrick Van Orden WI-03 R+4 No Jordan Jordan Absent
Steve Womack AR-03 R+15 No Scalise Scalise Scalise

Besides Jordan, at least one vote across the three rounds has gone to former speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA); House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-LA); Speaker Pro Tempore Patrick McHenry (R-NC); Reps. Byron Donalds (R-FL), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Mike Garcia (R-CA), Tom Cole (R-OK), Kay Granger (R-TX), Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Bruce Westerman (R-AR); former speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and former representatives Candace Miller (R-MI) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY).

The final tally on Friday was 210 votes for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), 194 votes for Jordan and 25 votes for other Republicans. Jeffries' total was down two from previous rounds, not due to defections, but because Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) and Donald M. Payne Jr. (D-NJ) were absent. Jordan's tally, meanwhile, declined from 200 in round one to 199 in round two to 194 in round three. And the clear theme of round three was moderate members growing weary of putting the team above their own needs. As you can see from the table, the three members who voted for Jordan in rounds one and two, but for someone else in round three (Fitzpatrick, Kean and Molinaro), are all members of the Biden 18.

After the third floor vote, Jordan knew full well that his bid for the speakership had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. So, he tried a Hail Mary, and asked the House Republican Conference to vote, via secret ballot, whether he should continue as speaker-designate. It is not known what the tally was, since it was a secret ballot. But it is known that Jordan lost the vote, unable to claim a majority even among members of his own party. And so, he is no longer speaker-designate.

With the decline and fall of McCarthy, followed by the decline and fall of Scalise, followed by the decline and fall of Jordan, just about every ambitious member of the Republican Conference looked in the mirror and said "Why not me?" And so, as of this moment, there are no fewer than seven declared candidates for the speakership, as well as three others who say they are thinking about it. The filing deadline is noon today. Here's a rundown ("FC" means "Freedom Caucuser" and "ED" means "Election Denier"; we have no comment on their status in relation to anything else "ED" might indicate):

Candidate District Dist. PVI Status FC ED Main Selling Point
Jodey Arrington TX-19 R+26 Considering No Yes Chair of House Budget Committee
Jack Bergman MI-01 R+13 In No Yes Retired Marine Corps lieutenant general
Byron Donalds FL-19 R+19 In Yes Yes Would let Republicans claim to be the party of diversity
Tom Emmer MN-06 R+12 In No Yes House Majority Whip
Kevin Hern OK-01 R+14 In No Yes Chair of the Republican Study Committee, the largest GOP caucus
Mike Johnson LA-04 R+14 In Yes Yes Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference
Dan Meuser PA-09 R+21 Considering No Yes Known for ability to work with people
Austin Scott GA-08 R+16 In No Yes Advocate for rural voters
Pete Sessions TX-17 R+14 In No No Probably the most moderate candidate
Roger Williams TX-25 R+19 Considering No Yes Advocate for small business owners

Sometime this week, probably on Monday or Tuesday, the Republican Conference will hold a vote, and one of these individuals will become the new speaker-designate, very possibly with less than 20% of their colleagues' votes. There's never been a situation quite like this before, and so no real basis for predicting what will happen. If ever there were a time for ranked-choice voting, this is it, but it's not going to happen. That said, we can see three potential ways that this list allows Republicans to move forward and install an actual speaker:

  1. The Conference, weary of this ongoing embarrassment, simply falls into line behind speaker-designate #3, figuring there's no real path to seating someone better.

  2. Donalds wins, and some sizable number of the Jordan "no" voters support Donalds, either because he hasn't threatened their families or because they see political benefit in becoming the first party to seat a Black speaker.

  3. Sessions wins, and that lays the groundwork for reaching across the aisle to get some Democratic votes.

We're not saying any of these three outcomes is likely, mind you, merely that they are conceivable. If you're going to lay a bet, the smart money, of course, is on "more chaos." (Z)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates