He built his brand on being a roaring archconservative unafraid to take on liberals. He was a pioneer of this new right-wing movement that became the face of the Republican Party. He was chosen by former President Trump to lead the US House of Representatives. And now, he’s putting California Republicans in a tough spot.
Ohio Rep. concluded. Jim Jordan’s bid to lead the lower chamber on Friday faced strong opposition from moderates and other lawmakers in key districts.
But all five California Republicans from districts won by President Biden in 2020 — Kim Young in La Habra, David Valadao in Hanford, Mike Garcia in Santa Clarita, Michelle Steel in Seal Beach, and John Duarte in Modesto — stood firmly behind Jordan in his three failed attempts. to secure the damba.
The five Californians’ decision to support the Ohioan could come back to haunt them. Jordan’s deep ties to former President Trump’s attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election may not sit well with key voters in swing districts, Democratic strategist and pollster Cornell Belcher said in The Times on Friday.
“You have someone in Jim Jordan who encapsulates everything they don’t like about MAGA and the Trump era,” Belcher said. “Jordan is the Donald Trump of the House of Representatives. And swing voters rejected Donald Trump.
House Republicans have struggled to choose a leader since eight Republicans on Oct. 3 joined with Democrats to oust Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield from the speaker’s chair.
McCarthy’s historic dismissal left the lower house in turmoil. Republicans have proven unable to secure a simple majority to elect a speaker who can call floor votes on critical legislation, including bills to address the conflicts engulfing Israel and Ukraine and avoid a shutdown. of the government in mid-November.
Polling shows that voters are angry at the riots.
Forty-nine percent of GOP respondents disapprove of how congressional Republicans are handling their jobs, according to a Thursday poll conducted by the Global Strategy Group and released by Navigator Research, a Democratic firm. Sixty-nine percent of all voters say they disapprove of the way congressional Republicans are handling their jobs.
Republicans have become more likely to say they blame their own party for the chaos in Washington. On September 11, 32% of Republicans polled said they would blame their own party if the government shuts down. By October 16, that number had grown to 36%.
“The fact that Jim Jordan got up to 200 votes is a reflection: He and Trump represent the GOP,” Sarah Longwell, an anti-Trump Republican strategist, told The Times. “They are symptoms of the same problem. The party has moved strongly in the direction of MAGA.
“It’s not right, it’s not abandoned,” he said. “It’s just Trump.”
Duarte and Garcia’s races are considered “tosses,” Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan congressional watchdog, said Friday. Cook rates Valadao and Steel’s races as lean Republican, while Kim’s is likely Republican.
Spokesmen for Garcia, Steel and Duarte did not respond to requests for comment.
In a statement, Kim told The Times that McCarthy’s ouster has pushed the chamber to its knees from addressing important issues.
“I am working in good faith to be part of the solution and support the nominees of our conference, but it is clear that no candidate has the votes to be Speaker this time,” Kim told The Times in a statement. after Friday’s vote. Kim said his conference should empower North Carolina Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, who is serving as speaker pro tempore, to pass critical legislation, until a leader is elected.
Valadao said in statements that he supports Jordan “because we have to get back to work” and that he supports a plan to empower McHenry.
Spokesmen for Kim and Valadao would not say which lawmakers would back after Jordan and at least five Republicans — Reps. Austin Scott of Georgia, Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, Pete Sessions of Texas, Byron Donalds of Florida and Jack Bergman of Michigan – said they will run for speaker.
McHenry said he’s not running to keep the seat. But empowering him could still be on the table if his caucus can’t agree on who will lead them.
McHenry’s empowerment plan, which may require buy-in from House Democrats, collapsed Thursday afternoon when it became clear Republicans were overwhelmingly against it, leaving the lower chamber floundering over as it is set to enter its fourth week without a permanent leader.
California Republicans’ pragmatic explanations for supporting Jordan did not stop anti-Trump groups from hounding them.
On the Friday before Jordan left, the Congressional Integrity Report, a Democrat-aligned nonprofit, released ads highlighting the Ohioan’s ties to the right wing of his party.
The digital ad THE audience Jordan founded the arch-conservative House Freedom Caucus, disputed the results of the 2020 presidential election and “may be the member of Congress most involved in Donald Trump’s coup attempt.”
“Anyone who endorses Jordan and any member who votes for him is positively voting for a coup, an election denier and an enemy of American democracy,” the ad said.
Jordan, who voted against certifying many of these election results, “is a key player in President Trump’s efforts,” the House committee on January 6 said in its final report.
Garcia was the only one of the five who voted against certifying some of the election results.
Denial of the outcome of the 2020 presidential election remains unpopular with key voters, Belcher said. In 2022, many Democratic candidates are running on a platform that says their party can save American democracy. This argument resonated with voters as Democrats fired off what should have been a big red wave for the GOP, Belcher said.
The protracted infighting among House Republicans is an “absolute gift” to Democrats, he added. Belcher predicted that progressives competing in tight California districts will run attack ads showing their opponents’ support for Jordan, as advocacy groups did this week.
Some experts, however, say all hope is not lost for these Californians.
Their chances of staying in Washington will depend heavily on their message, said Whit Ayers, a longtime Republican pollster. If Californians can demonstrate that they support Jordan for practical reasons, the voters may forgive their support for him.
“I think that’s an effective argument for some people,” Ayres said.
Voters paying close attention may recall that the GOP refused to empower McHenry to get business done while the speaker race was ongoing. But Ayres doubts most voters follow it closely.
“It’s a big indoor game that most people don’t really know about,” Ayres said.
Pinho reported from Santa Barbara.