BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — The House of Representatives remains without a speaker Wednesday, despite a second round of votes earlier in the day.
Hanford Representative David Valadao told 17 News that Republican speaker nominee Jim Jordan’s run for speakership is probably coming to an end.
Jordan, nominated last week by a majority of Republicans, still needs a simple majority of the whole House — 217 votes — but only got 199 during the second round of votes Wednesday. This was one fewer than the first time around.
“The conference is divided, we need to come together. I’m working on how to do that,” Jordan told reporters.
No Democrats voted in favor of Jordan. All 212, again, voted for their nominee, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries.
More Republicans voted against Jordan in this second vote than they did during the first ballot — 22 and 20, respectively.
Five of them voted instead for Bakersfield congressman and former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, who again voted for Jordan. McCarthy did not respond to a request for comment on whether he was aware of or had encouraged these votes beforehand.
Seven GOP representatives voted for the initial Republican speaker nominee, Steve Scalise.
In a CNBC interview before the House vote Wednesday, McCarthy said, “I went 15 rounds [before winning gavel], [Jordan has] only gone one round… If he holds his votes and the number goes up, I think he can get there.”
That prediction proved false, at least this second time around.
McCarthy also blamed the “crazy” eight Republicans “led by [Matt] Gaetz and every single Democrat” for today’s leaderless, divided state of the House. The congressman maintained he did the right thing in averting a government shutdown.
Bipartisanship is also looking unlikely with Jordan as the GOP nominee.
“This is a serious, solemn and sober moment,” Hakeem Jeffries told Capitol Hill reporters.
After back-to-back unsuccessful efforts to elect a new speaker, there’s now a push to make speaker pro tempore Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) speaker of the House until January 2024.
The temporary speaker would have more authority to help pass key legislation, such as government funding and aid for Israel, as Rep. Valadao, a supporter of the resolution, explained. The legislation is expected to be bipartisan, should it move forward in the legislative process.
Jeffries has already mentioned Democrats would be open to working with McHenry.
Rep. Valadao has voted for Jordan both rounds, though he said he’s unsure if the support will continue.
“The 22 that voted against Jordan today, I might be one of those tomorrow, for all I know, or tonight. The reality is that Jordan doesn’t have the votes now, and it’s only going to get worse for him,” said Rep. Valadao. “It sounds like we probably need to move onto the next candidate. I supported every candidate we put on the floor and voted for [Jordan], but we gotta do something, we gotta move forward.”
17 News asked the representative why he had twice voted for Jordan, despite his being endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Valadao voted to impeach Mr. Trump.
Valadao answered he had also voted for McCarthy’s rise to speakership, despite his being endorsed by Trump, and that the reality is plenty of folks in the GOP conference are or have been endorsed by the former president.
“It is what it is,” Valadao stated, despite critics noting his support of Trump-backed Jordan could bite him back down the road.
Valadao also noted he thinks McCarthy should again be the speaker, pointing out McCarthy had more party support when he was running for speakership, than Jordan had coming out of the recent conference vote.
Valadao also expressed frustration over McCarthy’s ouster, blaming it for paralyzing the House. Valadao said when there was a motion to table the ousting — essentially, doing away with the motion to vacate — he had met with numerous Democratic colleagues to warn them of resulting chaos.
“Where were they two weeks ago?” Valadao asked, referring to those now asking for unity and solutions, but had voted to remove McCarthy.
Valadao said he chose to vote for Jordan nevertheless because “the nominee is the nominee,” but that he may make the decision to switch.
Valadao did acknowledge the division in his party but did not say the party is “unable to govern,” which critics have recently accused the Republicans of being.
Votes are expected to continue in the House on Thursday.