Hello, it’s the weekend. This is The Weekender ☕
As the third vote on Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) went on, House Republicans got quieter and Democrats got rowdier.
The contrast was already visually striking: the male-dominated Republican conference is a sea of black and navy blue, while the exponentially greater number of female Democrats bring pops of color to their side of the chamber.
The vote was gaveled to a close and the tallies read: Jordan had lost, again, by even more than he had the first two times. House Republicans were again as rudderless as they were two weeks ago.
As we chased members exiting the chamber, even the pro-Jordan contingent seemed resigned to his failure.
They streamed into the humid basement soon after, following a mountain of pizza and jogging away from reporters below exposed pipes, where they voted to see if Jordan would remain their speaker designate.
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), a never-Jordan, said afterwards that many more people felt free to vote against Jordan in private, when they wouldn’t be subjected to the threats that had deluged his more outspoken opposition.
“The totals, I think, were surprising,” he said, clutching two pizza boxes (which he did not offer to the malnourished reporters). “It was overwhelming.”
Jordan had been defeated a fourth time, 86 to 112.
So House Republicans scattered for home, with the optimistic plan to regroup for a candidate forum on Monday and a conference vote on Tuesday.
It seems…unlikely that a field already crowded with nearly 10 candidates will winnow that quickly, especially with members sprinting for home. The sheer numbers will make it difficult for any one person to amass a majority. And don’t overlook the ambition at play here: This power vacuum gives backbenchers the chance to spring to second in the line of succession. It’s an opportunity the ladder-climbers will be loath to give up.
These past two weeks have been an unmitigated disaster for House Republicans. Their embracing of an anti-leadership, anti-institution, anti-governing ethos has reached its natural conclusion in members blithely willing to shut down the House to extend their moment in the spotlight.
Members seemed hopeful on Friday about a brighter tomorrow. But that was probably just the relief of temporary escape.
More on other news below. Let’s dig in.