US Republican Jordan fails for the time being in the election for head of the House of Representatives

The arch-conservative US Republican Jim Jordan has initially failed in the election of a new chairman of the House of Representatives. In a first vote in the Chamber of Congress on Tuesday, former President Donald Trump’s ally fell 200 votes short of the required majority of 217 votes. In addition to the Democrats, 20 Republicans also voted against the 59-year-old hardliner, who is running to succeed Chairman Kevin McCarthy, who was ousted two weeks ago.

The current chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee now wants to try to break internal party resistance in further elections and thus take the third highest state office in the USA. The next round of elections in the chamber, which has been paralyzed for two weeks, was scheduled for Wednesday at 11 a.m. (local time; 5 p.m. CEST).

McCarthy needed 15 rounds to be elected chairman in January. He was deposed as the chamber’s first “speaker” in U.S. history just nine months later in a rebellion by his party’s far-right wing.

In the chaotic search for a successor, Trump-backed Jordan was nominated by the Republican faction last Friday. The day before, Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who was initially nominated by the group, threw in the towel after it became clear that he would miss the necessary majority in the plenary session.

A lack of a majority had also become apparent in Jordan in the run-up to the vote on Tuesday. Many moderate Republicans have major reservations about Jordan, who is known for sharply right-wing positions and an aggressive political style.

“I would encourage people not to be surprised if it takes a few rounds,” Republican Representative Austin Scott told the right-wing news channel Fox News, referring to the election of a chairman. Rep. Scott Perry said Jordan fought many rounds in his previous career as a wrestler. “I think he can last until the end.”

In the debate before the vote, President Biden’s Democrats warned against electing Jordan. Number three in the Democratic caucus, Pete Aguilar, said Jordan was seeking a nationwide abortion ban, was an election denier and helped incite the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Making him head of the chamber would send “a terrible message to our country and our allies.”

The Republicans currently have 221 representatives in the House of Representatives, the Democrats 212. Because one Republican was missing from Tuesday’s vote, Jordan could only have afforded three dissenters. Significantly more party colleagues then refused to support him.

The dispute among the Republicans has far-reaching consequences: without a chairman, the House of Representatives is largely paralyzed. This means, among other things, that Congress cannot decide on any further military aid for Israel, which is attacked by the radical Islamic Palestinian organization Hamas, or Ukraine, which is attacked by Russia. The USA is also threatened with a so-called shutdown in mid-November without a solution to the budget dispute.

Jordan has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2007 and is one of the founders of the influential right-wing parliamentary group Freedom Caucus. The representative from the state of Ohio was for a long time on the right-wing fringe of the Republicans, but over the years he increasingly became a central figure in the party as it moved to the right.

For years, the abortion opponent and advocate of the right to bear arms has also been an ardent supporter and defender of Donald Trump. When Trump refused to acknowledge his defeat by Biden after the 2020 presidential election, he had a loyal running mate in Jordan. The Democrats therefore hold the MP partly responsible for the attack on Congress on January 6, 2021.

Since January, Jordan, a welcome guest of right-wing media such as Fox News, has chaired the powerful House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. He is one of the drivers of impeachment proceedings against President Biden over allegations of being involved in controversial foreign transactions by his son Hunter Biden.