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Jim Jordan

Jim Jordan is in trouble

Jim Jordan has problems.

The Ohio Republican plans to head to the floor today for a speaker election with more than a dozen GOP lawmakers saying they’ll vote against him or are undecided about his candidacy.

Some House GOP insiders suggest the 59-year-old Judiciary Committee chair is as many as 20 votes short of winning the speaker’s gavel. That’s a very daunting hill for Jordan and his allies to climb.

The latest: House Republicans met in the Capitol Monday night, where some lawmakers gave the Ohio Republican an earful — and others had his back. Jordan gave a rah-rah speech saying it’s time for Congress to get to work. In the most un-Jordan-like fashion, he told his colleagues they had to pass funding bills, avoid a shutdown and can’t control what the Senate does. This was Jim Jordan, not Kevin McCarthy.

Jordan said after the meeting he felt “even better” than when he walked in.

“We got a few more people we’re going to talk to, to listen to and then we’ll have a vote [Tuesday,]” Jordan said.

We’ve been over this many times during the last nine months, but House Republicans have a razor-thin majority. If Jordan loses just five of the 221 Republicans, he’ll be denied the gavel. Jordan’s friends and allies have signaled he’s willing to go multiple ballots in order to overcome any opposition.

Some Republicans still back McCarthy. Others are upset with how Jordan and his allies treated House Majority Leader Steve Scalise. Jordan’s posture on the 2020 election bothered one Republican. Older members can’t get past Jordan’s long history of slash-and-burn tactics as an influential conservative hardliner who helped found the House Freedom Caucus.

Here’s a non-comprehensive list of Republicans who are either opposed to Jordan, will vote for someone else or haven’t made their position clear. CNN’s Haley Talbot has a useful list as well.

The nos: Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.) won’t vote for Jordan. MDB, as he’s referred to, is close to Scalise. MDB was put off by how Jordan treated the Louisiana Republican.

Rep. Ken Buck (Colo.) has been turned off by Jordan’s questioning of President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory. Buck told Jordan that he was a no during a one-on-one meeting Monday night, the Colorado Republican said on CNN. Rep. John Rutherford (Fla.) said he’s casting his vote for McCarthy.

Rep. Don Bacon (Neb.) said he’ll vote for McCarthy on the first ballot. Bacon also left open the possibility that he could vote for someone else on a later ballot. Rep. Victoria Spartz (Ind.) said she doesn’t like the process and signaled she’d vote against Jordan. Spartz, however, changes her positions frequently.

Rep. Mike Lawler (N.Y.) said he’ll vote for McCarthy. But Lawler also said he won’t be the deciding vote against Jordan. Rep. Carlos Gimenez (Fla.) is still backing McCarthy.

Rep. Mike Kelly (Pa.) is voting for Scalise. Kelly introduced a resolution that would elect Speaker Pro Tem Patrick McHenry through Nov. 17, when government funding runs out.

Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (Iowa) said she’s undecided but privately suggested she’s a no. In the closed party meeting Monday night, MMM went down a list of members who criticized her and other Republicans and complained about the pressure tactics employed by Jordan’s allies. Miller-Meeks said Jordan did nothing to stop the attacks. Jordan reminded Miller-Meeks that he’d visited her district twice.

The undecideds or undeclared: Rep. David Joyce (Ohio) has been cool to Jordan’s candidacy, although it will be very hard to vote against an Ohioan for speaker. Reps. Steve Womack (Ark.), Blake Moore (Utah), Jen Kiggans (Va.), Lori Chavez-DeRemer (Ore.), Andrew Garbarino (N.Y.) and Juan Ciscomani (Ariz.) have yet to say how they’ll vote.

Rep. Jake Ellzey (Texas) declined to comment Monday night on how he’ll vote. Ellzey, a former Navy fighter pilot, strongly opposes government shutdowns. Jordan voted against the CR to avoid an Oct. 1 shutdown.

Reps. Nick LaLota and Anthony D’Esposito of New York are still undecided.

As we noted, this isn’t an exhaustive list. It just shows how fluid this situation is and the challenge Jordan faces.

Here’s a useful benchmark. McCarthy got 201 votes on his first of 15 tries to win the speakership in January. McCarthy never dropped below 200 in all 15 rounds. If Jordan doesn’t start somewhere in the 200 neighborhood on the first ballot, he’s in trouble. And several lawmakers told us that they’d only committed to Jordan on the first ballot.

Furthermore, lawmakers may drop their support for Jordan if it’s clear he’s losing early in the tally. The tally is conducted in alphabetical order and Bacon, Buck and Diaz-Balart come early in the alphabet. Jordan could be close to losing the vote in the first three letters of the alphabet.

Florida Rep. Gus Bilirakis, who is a Jordan supporter, will not be in D.C. for the noon vote. He’s expected back in Washington this evening.

What to expect. This contest can easily go multiple ballots. In fact, many GOP lawmakers and aides expect it will. But keep in mind that Republicans were willing to go 15 rounds for McCarthy because they liked him. Jordan is not as well liked as McCarthy.

— Jake Sherman, John Bresnahan and Mica Soellner

Presented by AARP

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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.