Jim Jordan for Speaker? Gaetz Urges GOP Colleague to Challenge McCarthy

Representative Matt Gaetz urged Representative Jim Jordan on Saturday to challenge House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy in the House speaker race as conservatives continue withholding their support for the GOP leader.

Gaetz, of Florida, is one of the House Republicans who has expressed intentions to vote against McCarthy, of California. A group of the GOP conference’s right-leaning members are pushing for more conservative leadership. But because Republicans only hold a narrow majority in the House, McCarthy can afford only a handful of defectors.

McCarthy is currently facing a challenge from Arizona Representative Andy Biggs, but the majority of the conference has rallied behind the California Republican. Biggs’ challenge is viewed as a long shot, but he could receive enough votes to derail McCarthy’s bid.

A split image of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Representative Matt Gaetz. Gatez, a Florida Republican, has opposed McCarthy’s bid to become House speaker, suggesting Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio as an alternative.
 Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images;Joe Raedle/Getty Images

In a Twitter post on Saturday, Gaetz floated that Jordan, the Ohio congressman who currently serves as the vice chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, as a potential alternative.

“All I want for Christmas is @Jim_Jordan to realize he should be Speaker of the House!” Gaetz tweeted.

However, Jordan has not signaled any plans to challenge McCarthy and has previously voiced support for him.

Earlier in December during an appearance on Steve Bannon‘s War Room podcast, Gaetz said he would not back McCarthy because he did not block Democrats from passing budget bills, pushing for immigration bills that included amnesty, and not doing more to hold government officials accountable who opposed former President Donald Trump.

“There are things Kevin McCarthy did to erode the trust of the members he needs to vote for him if he wants to be speaker,” the GOP lawmaker said.

McCarthy’s opponents have also listed other demands for their support including a return to single subject bills, 72 hours for a final bill text, leadership not getting involved in primary elections, the appointment of conservative Republicans on the House Rules Committee, and a commitment to not raising the debt ceiling, among others.

What Jordan Has Said About House Speaker Race

Despite Gaetz pushing for Jordan to challenge McCarthy, the Ohio Republican has been complimentary of the GOP leader following the midterms. During a Fox News interview in November, he praised McCarthy for keeping “our team together.”

“What I’ve said all along is the guy who gets you to the Super Bowl, even if it’s a game in overtime, gets to coach the game,” Jordan said, expressing doubt that anyone would challenge McCarthy.

Gaetz Previously Floated Jordan as Potential Speaker

Jordan has long been named by conservatives as a potential House speaker.

Gaetz touted Jordan as “the hardest working and most talented member of the Republican House Conference” after a recording of the minority leader saying he urged Trump to resign after the January 6, 2021, riot was reported.

“The conference never believed that Donald Trump should resign, so to have a leader so far outside of the conference is itself a problem,” Gaetz said of McCarthy during an April Newsmax appearance.

Newsweek reached out to McCarthy and Jordan’s offices for comment.

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