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‘It’s worse than everyone thought’: Indiana delegation splinters on Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan

Jordan fails to win speakership on first ballot

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio failed on the first vote to capture the speakership of the U.S. House on Tuesday as nearly two dozen House Republicans, including Indiana’s Victoria Spartz, refused to back him.

More voting was expected as Jordan works to shore up support to replace the ousted Kevin McCarthy for the job.

Rep. Greg Pence, R-Ind., said Jordan’s supporters thought they would lose at most five or six votes when lawmakers took to the House floor just past noon Tuesday.

Instead, 20 Republicans on Tuesday cast ballots for other candidates, far more than enough to prevent Jordan from getting enough votes to assume the gavel. More than half of the renegade votes went to McCarthy and House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, both of whom voted for Jordan.

Pence said many of the Tuesday votes against Jordan came from people he didn’t expect.

“It’s deja vu all over again. What a shame,” he said Tuesday. “It’s worse than everyone thought.”

Spartz on Tuesday voted for Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky. Prior to the vote, she had released a statement in which she accused McCarthy of trying to undermine Scalise in favor of Jordan in closed-door Republican conference meetings.

“I voted to support Jim Jordan in conference, but what happened Friday night is not acceptable. After undermining Steve and appearing to make some kind of a deal with Jim, Kevin forced the conference to adjourn and announced that Jim Jordan was going to be our speaker next week. Unfortunately, Jim did not object to Kevin, as also on a few other occasions as the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee.”

“I would also like to remind Jim that Republicans are not sheep and will refuse to support him if he will try to use the same McCarthy intimidation techniques on members on the floor, even if I have to run again, so McCarthy and his friends have a chance to primary me.”

Indiana Rep. Victoria Spartz

Spartz was not immediately available Tuesday for further comment.

All of Indiana’s other Republicans on Tuesday voted for Jordan. Its two Democrats, Andre Carson and Frank Mrvan, supported their party’s nominee, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. In a tweet just before the vote, Carson said Tuesday of Jordan, “With so much at stake, we don’t need a MAGA extremist in charge of the House.”

Pence said Tuesday he never felt like anyone tried to strong-arm him or anyone else into voting for Jordan. He said some Jordan opponents had indicated they would oppose him on the first ballot and support him on the second ballot but called 20 votes “a tall hill to climb.”

Pence said Tuesday’s vote is the third time House Republicans have rejected someone he considers to be a solid choice for speaker, the other two being McCarthy and Scalise.

“We’re not passing bills, we’re not passing appropriations, we’re barely keeping the government open,” he said Tuesday. “The vast majority of us are very frustrated with the minority running the majority.”