House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) scored a major win this morning as House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) reversed himself and endorsed the Ohio Republican for Speaker.
Rogers was a major holdout, adamantly opposing Jordan as recently as late Friday afternoon. But Jordan and Rogers spoke over the weekend and Rogers is now in the camp of Jordan.
The support from Rogers could be seismic in this Speaker’s contest. Many defense hawks were worried about Jordan’s spending plans and how it may adversely slash defense. But Rogers and Jordan now appear to be on the same page. The backing of Rogers could bring along a number of other defense hawks into Jordan’s camp.
Jordan definitely made headway over the weekend as he tries to narrow his deficit.
But, it’s about the math. And the math remains challenging for Jordan.
Forcing a roll call vote on the floor tomorrow is a tactic by Jordan. But it’s a gamble. Jordan could win. But it also lays bear how many members oppose him if Jordan loses on the floor. Remember that House Republicans wanted to avoid another spectacle on the floor of burning through roll call vote after roll call vote, ala January, before finally electing former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
However, THAT may be EXACTLY what Jordan wants.
Jordan effectively wants to DARE Republicans to vote against him on the floor. He wants to see which Republicans are willing to vote against him and then turn up the outrage machine and the hand of former President Trump against those Republicans.
This tactic is risky because it may reveal just how close to winning Jordan is – or demonstrate the deficit.
If Jordan is 20 or fewer votes short, he’s probably in play. But if it’s north of that, it may take a lot to ever get Jordan elected as Speaker.
That said, Republicans may start to direct anger at Jordan for trying to smoke out Members on the floor who are opposed to Jordan. As one source said to Fox, the strategy by Jordan to put pressure on skeptical Republicans to oppose him on the floor “is a card best threatened and not played.” Such a tactic could in fact drive some support AWAY from Jordan
This will come down to a battle of the wills. How long is Jordan willing to push the envelope and call vote after vote after vote?
“It’s a pressure cooker if we go to the floor,” said one senior Republican.
“If it’s a game of chicken, the crazy people win,” said one Republican source. Fox was told that Jordan was inclined to continue to call for votes in an effort to wear down his opponents.
Moreover, do not underestimate the level of antipathy for Jordan which has even developed over the past few days.
“What he did to (House Majority Leader) Steve Scalise (R-La.) is unforgiving and disqualifying,” said one angry House GOPer to Fox who opposes Jordan.
So, it’s possible Jordan could win the Speakership tomorrow. He’s certainly a little closer than the other day. But the raw opposition from some Republicans to Jordan could mean we’re in for a continued, pitched battle this week.
And as always, it will boil down to the math.