Mike Johnson’s potential elevation to the position of Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives as a replacement for Kevin McCarthy is a matter of contention among conservatives. While many Republicans view Johnson as an improvement over Steve Scalise and Tom Emmer, there is a lingering sense of disappointment among those who had championed the cause of Jim Jordan, a conservative stalwart, for the role of Speaker. Jordan’s unapologetic approach in challenging bureaucrats and members of the Biden administration has garnered significant criticism from Democrats and moderates.
Following Kevin McCarthy’s ouster as Speaker on October 3, Republicans initially nominated Steve Scalise to lead the chamber. However, Scalise withdrew his candidacy as it became clear that a number of caucus members would not support him. Jim Jordan was then selected as the GOP nominee for Speaker on October 13, but his bid was ultimately unsuccessful. During the votes in the entire House on October 17, 18, and 20, Jordan failed to garner sufficient support from fellow Republicans, with the opposition growing after the first and second rounds of voting.
Conservative activists, disheartened by Jordan’s removal, began to contact the holdout Republicans who did not support him. The 25 Republicans who opposed Jordan’s candidacy will likely face scrutiny from their constituents in the upcoming elections, as the constituents may be unforgiving regarding their stance on this critical issue.
The opposition to Jordan can be categorized into five distinct groups, including members serving their first term, those on the House Appropriations Committee, those from swing districts, members who initially voted for Jordan but later switched their support, and a group of individuals referred to as “clowns.”
As conservative Republicans grapple with the outcome of this Speaker selection process, they are left with mixed feelings about the future leadership of their party. The struggle for power and influence within the GOP is indicative of the broader ideological debates and fissures that exist within the party, highlighting the diversity of voices and viewpoints within the conservative movement. It remains to be seen how these dynamics will shape the future of the Republican Party and its approach to governance.