Texas’ three GOP holdouts vote against Jim Jordan for third time

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan arrives for a House Republican caucus meeting in the U.S. Capitol, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2023, in Washington, D.C. (Julia Nikhinson For The Texas Tribune, Julia Nikhinson For The Texas Tribune)

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WASHINGTON — Three Texas Republicans voted for a third time this week to block Jim Jordan from becoming House speaker Friday, with the House at a standstill. Republicans struggled to unite behind the Ohio conservative, who ended his bid for speaker Friday afternoon after losing a vote of confidence held by the GOP conference.

U.S. Reps. Kay Granger of Fort Worth, Tony Gonzales of San Antonio and Jake Ellzey of Midlothian joined 22 other Republicans and all present Democrats voting against Jordan in a Friday morning vote, the third attempt at electing a new speaker this week. After the failed vote, House Republicans met to vote on whether Jordan should drop out of the running.

Granger and Gonzales continued to back House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the former GOP speaker nominee who dropped out from the running last week. Ellzey voted for Rep. Mike Garcia, R-California, his friend and fellow veteran. Granger defended her support for former speaker nominee Scalise on Wednesday.

“This was a vote of conscience and I stayed true to my principles. Intimidation and threats will not change my position," Granger said in a post on social media.

Ellzey said he met with Jordan and privately made the decision to vote for Garcia. He said he was disappointed Jordan didn't vote to pass a bipartisan continued resolution that averted a government shutdown at the end of September, which Ellzey supported.

"It was the right thing to do," Ellzey said to reporters Friday.

Gonzales’ office did not respond to requests for comment this week.

All Democrats present, including 12 Texans, voted for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Jordan has lost support since the first round of voting on Monday when 20 Republicans voted against him.

All 25 Texas Republicans met Friday morning in a last-ditch effort to unite the conference, which is the largest Republican voting bloc of any state in the House.

Two Texans were absent for the Friday vote, Reps. Wesley Hunt, R-Houston, and Vicente Gonzalez, D-McAllen, who was attending a funeral.

As new candidates for the gavel start campaigning over the weekends, no more votes are scheduled. The Republican conference will hold a candidate forum on Monday night.

Next week will be the House's third without a leader since a minority of Republicans worked to oust former Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Oct. 3. The election drama comes as Congress must vote on aid for Israel and Ukraine. If representatives cannot elect a speaker by mid-November, when federal funding runs out and appropriations cannot be passed, the government will shut down.