Jordan activates the right-wing pressure campaign in push to win oratory

Representative Jim Jordan and his allies have launched a right-wing pressure campaign against Republicans who oppose his nomination for president, working to unleash the anger of the party’s core voters against any lawmaker who stands in the way of his election.

Even after Mr. Jordan, a far-right Republican from Ohio, won his party’s nomination for the post on Friday, he fell short of the 217 votes he needed to win the ballot, with many of his colleagues refusing to back him.

In an effort to close the gap, lawmakers and activists close to him have taken to social media and the airwaves to blast Republicans they believe are blocking his path to victory and encourage voters to sway them to support Mr. Jordan.

It’s a remarkable case of a Republican-on-Republican conflict that underscores the divisions that have wreaked havoc within the party, paralyzing the House in the process. Several of Mr. Jordan’s supporters posted the phone numbers of top GOP lawmakers they consider to be holding hands, encouraging followers to flood the Capitol with calls asking them to support Mr. Jordan — or face the wrath of conservative voters as they prepare for the primary season.

“You want to explain to your voters why you blocked Jordan?” Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, Republican of Florida, wrote on the X. “Then bring it.”

The strategy is reminiscent of the bullying tactics that Mr. Jordan and his allies have used over the past decade to push the GOP further to the right, and borrows a page from former President Donald J. Trump, who supports Mr. Jordan.

It’s also the approach that helped drag the House GOP into its current leadership crisis. Republicans fielded several far-right candidates in Congress last year who were popular with the base, but ultimately couldn’t win the general election in competitive districts, leaving them with a razor-thin majority in the House. A new generation of hardliners was able to exploit the small governing margin, dethroning one speaker and rejecting the offer of his successor.

Jordan’s closeness to the former president gave him an unparalleled connection to the party’s base, and his supporters counted on that to help him win a vote that could come as early as Tuesday.

While Friday’s vote was a secret ballot, right-wing activists appeared to have identified a dozen or so anti-Mr. Jordan as the main targets for their attack.

Amy Kremer, a political activist with ties to the Tea Party movement and Mr. Trump who also leads Women for America First, which organized the 2021 “Stop the Steal” rally, announced the 12-member slate on Friday. She listed their office phone numbers and urged her followers to call them and tell them to support Mr. Jordan. The list included Representatives Ann Wagner of Missouri, Mike Rogers of Alabama and Carlos Gimenez of Florida, all of whom have publicly stated their opposition to Mr. Jordan.

“Call him and tell him this is not acceptable,” Ms. Kremer wrote of Representative Greg Murphy of North Carolina. “He needs to join Jordan and stop contributing to the chaos.”

Jordan’s supporters say his decision to send lawmakers home to their districts over the weekend instead of keeping them in Washington for one-on-one meetings to drum up support was a deliberate move to increase pressure on them to comply.

“Everybody’s going to go home, listen to their constituents and make a decision,” said Representative Tim Burchett of Tennessee, predicting that hearing from the party’s base would help sway them in Mr. Jordan’s direction. “Honestly, among the roots, there is no one stronger.”

Despite being revered by hardliners and branded as “legislative terrorist” by former Republican President, Mr. Jordan recently teamed up with his party’s leaders.

The Ohio lawmaker supported the debt limit deal that former Speaker Kevin McCarthy struck with President Biden and did not join a far-right move to shut down the House in protest of the deal or their bid to oust Mr. McCarthy. He has already said he intends for the House of Representatives to pass a spending freeze to keep the government open — the sin that Mr. McCarthy was fired – and managed to keep conservative hardliners in his camp.

But some mainstream Republicans oppose Mr. Jordan on principle. They differ with him on policy issues, nowhere more sharply than on continuing to finance the war in Ukraine, a priority for many of them that Mr. Jordan and his “America First” allies are deeply opposed.

Many of them are also reluctant to reward what they see as bad behaviour, giving their preferred leader to the far-right MPs who ousted Mr. McCarthy from his position and touched on the current crisis of power.

“I’m not going to let Matt Gaetz and the other seven win by putting their individual as speaker,” said Representative John Rutherford, referring to his fellow Florida Republican who forced the vote to remove Mr. McCarthy from the presidency, and the GOP lawmakers who voted with him.

That position was brought by Mr. Rutherford a target on the back from the right side.

“@RepRutherfordFL would vote against presidential candidate Jim Jordan just to spite me,” wrote Mr. Gaetz at X. “I hope they get feedback from Floridians that it’s selfish and bad for the country.”

It was unclear whether the pressure campaign would be able to get Mr. Jordan the votes he needs as the second candidate he has floated in recent days as the Republican nominee.

Republicans first nominated Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana over Mr. Jordan by a 113-99 vote on Wednesday, but on Thursday night, with no clear path forward, Mr. Scalise recused himself from consideration. Mr. Jordan sought to quickly consolidate support.

Then on Friday, 81 Republicans backed a late entry into the race, Representative Austin Scott of Georgia, to cast a protest vote against Mr. Jordan. Mr. Scott swung quickly behind Mr. Jordan after his defeat. But in a second vote simply asking whether GOP lawmakers would support the Ohio Republican if the speaker nomination passed, 55 still said no.

Some conservative strategists close to Mr. Jordan believe he will be able to easily win over his detractors, the institutionalists who value functioning government and projecting normalcy. Unlike the hard right, hard strategists, staging a revolt is simply not in their nature.

“These 60 members are not voting against Jordan on the ground,” Russell T. Vought, president of the Center for Rebuilding America, a think tank linked to Mr. Trump, and a strategist close to Mr. Jordan, wrote on X. “Put it on the floor and call their bluff.”

Luke Broadwater and Catie Edmondson contributed to the reporting.

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