Louisiana congressman Rep. Mike Johnson is waiting in the wings to launch his bid for House Speaker if Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) fails to secure the 217 votes on the House floor to be elected for the position.
Jordan defeated Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.),in a closed-door internal party vote Friday, 124 to 81 to be the Republican nominee for House speaker.
On a second ballot to gauge Jordan’s support among the conference as their official nominee, Jordan received 152 votes, still falling well short of the 217 votes needed to be elected Speaker on the House floor. 55 Republicans opposed his nomination on the second ballot.
Johnson is supporting Jordan and has released a statement vowing to “do all I can to help him become our next Speaker so we can get Congress reopened and return quickly to the urgent business of the American people.”
But, Jordan can only manage to lose five votes and one lawmaker familiar with the anti-Jordan holdouts told Politico that of the 55 that opposed him in the GOP conference meeting, as many as 20 are a hard no on the House Judiciary chairman’s speakership bid.
If Jordan doesn’t work out, Johnson plans to throw his hat in the ring. Sources told NBC News that he plans to be a consensus candidate, attempting to bridge the divide between hardliners in their conference and moderates. The two sides have been at war since far-right Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) led a successful effort to oust Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) as Speaker.
Other names are also being floated as possible nominees if Jordan falls short on the House floor. They include, Republican Study Committee Kevin Hern, R-Okla, Majority Whip Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.). Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), and Interim Speaker Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C).