As Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) waged his battle to become House speaker, some House Republicans were uncomfortable with the possibility of having an election denier occupying the most powerful legislative seat in the U.S. government heading into a presidential election year.
Jordan, who relinquished his nomination for the speakership on Friday after his third defeat on the House floor, was among the most prolific and vocal GOP lawmakers who worked to convince voters that the 2020 election was stolen from former president Donald Trump, and assisted Trump in his efforts to overturn the election.
Along with several of his peers in the House Republican conference, Jordan refused to comply with a subpoena for testimony from the House Select Committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Throughout the course of its investigation, the committee unearthed evidence that Jordan had materially relevant communications with Trump and others about activities pertaining to Jan. 6.
Jordan’s role in Jan. 6 and his election denialism were not an organizing nor central factor for the roughly two dozen Republicans who voted against his speaker bid. But some Republican lawmakers — even some who supported Jordan’s bid — raised concerns about his continued refusal to acknowledge Joe Biden’s 2020 election win when asked by peers this week.
Election denialism has remained a powerful but roiling issue in the Republican Party, despite a disappointing midterm performance in 2022 when election-denying candidates suffered a series of high-profile losses.
Among the numerous lawmakers who said they would seek to fill the speaker vacancy on Friday, only Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) voted to certify the 2020 election. Reps. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), Kevin Hern (R-Fla.), Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Jack Bergman (R-Mich.) all objected to the certification. Some staffers who served on the House Select Committee that investigated Jan. 6 also drew parallels between the tactics employed to stoke false claims of election fraud in 2020 and the pressure campaign waged this week against Jordan’s defectors.
During a conference meeting on Monday evening, when Jordan was asked by Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.) whether he believed Trump won the 2020 election, he declined to answer the question directly, according to lawmakers who were in the closed-door meeting.
“He answered the question as if it was February 1, 2021,” said one lawmaker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose details of the private meeting. “It was disappointing for many members” that Jordan could not succinctly answer “a simple question,” the lawmaker added. [Continue reading…]