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Jim Jordan suffers defeat on first ballot for speaker race

Rep. Jim Jordan participates in the press conference calling on President Trump to declassify the Carter Page FISA applications on Thursday, September 6, 2018. Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/AP

The House remains deadlocked Tuesday as Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, failed to secure enough votes to become speaker on the first ballot.

Jordan received 200 votes, well short of the 217 votes needed to win on the House floor; 20 Republicans voted for someone other than Jordan.

He could only afford to lose three GOP votes, given that Rep. Gus Bilirakus, R-Fla., a Jordan supporter, missed the vote due to a funeral, and all 212 Democrats voted for Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York.

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The vote represents the angst and bitterness that persists among Republicans after the chamber was thrown into paralysis two weeks ago, when a band of eight conservative rebels voted to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy in an unprecedented move.

“I’m for McCarthy,” said Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., adding that he won’t cast his ballot for anyone else.

The vote proves that Jordan, the chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee who was endorsed by Donald Trump, still has work to do in persuading holdouts. His allies went into the Tuesday vote recognizing they may need multiple ballots to secure victory, but with an air of confidence that enough Republicans would come around.

Ahead of the first ballot, Jordan told reporters he was in it for the long haul: “Whatever it takes to get a speaker today.”

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“We feel really good,” he said before the vote. “We need to get a speaker today and we feel really good about where we’re at.”

After the eviction of McCarthy, Republicans nominated Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., to succeed him, but he withdrew after seeing no path to winning the votes. Then the conference selected Jordan, a right-wing firebrand who had lost an earlier closed-door election to Scalise, as its nominee.

McCarthy and Scalise voted for Jordan on the first ballot Tuesday.

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