7 of McCarthy’s GOP foes make an offer: Vote for Jordan and punish us

7 of McCarthy’s GOP foes make an offer: Vote for Jordan and punish us

Seven of the eight House Republicans who voted to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy made their colleagues an eye-catching offer on Friday: If GOP holdouts vote for Jim Jordan as speaker, they would accept “censure, suspension or removal from the conference.”

The suggestion came in the form of a letter, obtained by POLITICO, that was cosigned by all eight GOP lawmakers who voted to remove McCarthy as speaker earlier this month: Reps. Nancy Mace (S.C.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Tim Burchett (Tenn.), Eli Crane (Ariz.), Matt Rosendale (Mont.), Bob Good (Va.), Ken Buck (Colo.) and Andy Biggs (Ariz.).

Buck’s presence on the letter was particularly unexpected, given that he voted against Jordan’s speakership bid three times on the floor, and he said in a brief interview that “I have not signed a letter. I’m not going to sign a letter. I am not in favor of electing Jim Jordan speaker.”

The Coloradan described the letter’s release with his name on it as a “misunderstanding” stemming from his involvement in a drafting effort. He said he’d told Biggs he approved of “the structure and phrasing of the letter,” but that he’d also made clear his name should not be added.

“While we violated no rule of either the House or the Republican Conference, we understand that some in the Conference wish to punish us,” the letter states. There is serious lingering frustration within the House GOP over the eight Republicans’ decision to vote alongside a united Democratic caucus in favor of yanking McCarthy’s gavel.

The group of eight’s pitch that Jordan skeptics consider punishing them in exchange for electing the Ohioan as speaker is likely to fall flat. Three new Republicans turned against Jordan on Friday’s third speakership ballot, and most of his opponents are digging in.

“The only answer at this point is for Jim Jordan to step down as designee. We need to clean the slate and nominate a leader that can win 217,” Jordan opponent Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) said in response to the letter.

A senior aide to another GOP holdout on Jordan’s speakership bid dismissed the letter outright as a play for attention: “Oh, please, these people think everything is about them,” the aide said, addressing the group of eight’s maneuver on condition of anonymity. “Get over yourself. It’s not about you, it’s about Jordan. And he knows it.”

House Republicans are now weighing whether to take new votes on either reaffirming Jordan as their nominee or even, possibly, testing the question of whether he should drop out of the race. Should Jordan bow out formally, a half-dozen ambitious Republicans are ready to launch candidacies of their own — but most in the conference agree that no contender can get the near-unanimous GOP support required to become speaker.

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