Forget boy math, forget girl math: focus on Speaker Math: getting anywhere near the magic threshold of 217 votes is proving almost impossible for any Republican.
Back in January, even former speaker Kevin McCarthy couldn’t get to 217, clinching the gavel with 216 votes after some of his then-foes threw him a bone by simply voting present and therefore lowering the threshold. At that point though, he never dipped below 200 votes in his marathon bid to secure the speakership.
Now, it’s former McCarthy foe turned McCarthy ally Jim Jordan who’s finding that getting to 217 is somehow almost harder than getting over 200. Following a second public ballot, Jordan is losing votes at a time when he needs momentum. Some Republicans are YOLO-ing right now, voting for people who haven’t been in Congress in years; Michigan’s John James, for example, voted for Candice Miller — she hasn’t been in Congress since the Obama administration.
It’s worth noting that Congress has had over two weeks without a speaker — suggesting that the plans Matt Gaetz and his allies had to oust McCarthy had no back-up in place; one Jordan ally scoffed at Gaetz having ever had an endgame in mind, saying that that would be “like asking an arsonist why he didn’t also carry a fire extinguisher.”
Gaetz was cowed earlier this week after having to apologize for a fundraising email was sent in his name by a vendor, raising off the congressional chaos. The message read: “It’s Matt Gaetz. We are inches from electing Speaker Jim Jordan. But RINOs are working with RADICAL DEMOCRATS like AOC, ILHAN OMAR and RASHIDA TLAIB to BLOCK JIM JORDAN FROM BECOMING SPEAKER!!!” “It should have never been sent,” the Florida congressman said.
While the odds are getting increasingly daunting for almost-Speaker Jordan, he’s showing no signs of quitting. “We’re going to keep going,” said his spokesman Russell Dye.