In California’s 45th congressional district, along Western Avenue in Buena Park, a giant billboard has been erected that will show a photo of Representative Michelle Steel next to former President Donald J. Trump and Representative Jim Jordan, the Republican hardliner from Ohio for whom she voted twice this year. of the week for the speaker.
“Rep. “Celik supports extremism,” the billboard reads. “Stop extremism.”
The ad campaign, paid for by the Campaign Committee for Progressive Change, is part of a broad effort by Democrats to target Republicans like Ms. Steele, who represent congressional districts that President Biden won in 2020. A dozen of those vulnerable GOP lawmakers lined up in the House this week and cast their votes for Mr. Jordan to be second in line for president.
Another group, the Congressional Integrity Project, began a digital ad campaign this week in those same districts, focusing on Mr. Jordan and his attempts to unseat him in the 2020 election.
“Every House Republican who votes for Jim Jordan to be Speaker of the House should be held accountable for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, his role in the fraudulent voter conspiracy on January 6, and his continued attacks on our democracy,” Kyle said Herrig, executive director of the advocacy organization.
An extraordinary round of Republican infighting in the House of Representatives has left the party without a leader and one house of Congress paralyzed for more than two weeks. The chaos also badly damaged the GOP brand, increasing the chances that Democrats could regain the majority next year. And that gave them plenty of ammunition for their campaign narrative, which portrays Republicans as right-wing extremists unfit to govern.
“It hurts the country; harms Congress; it hurts our party,” said Representative Don Bacon of Nebraska, one of 18 Republicans representing districts Mr. Biden won in 2020. “It puts us in a bad spot for next November.”
He said his hard-right colleagues who dared President Kevin McCarthy earlier this month and launched an intractable fight to replace him “want to be in the minority. I think they would prefer that. So they can just vote no and just yell and scream all the time.”
Mr. Bacon has opposed Mr. Jordan’s candidacy, but he and other top GOP lawmakers worry that, regardless of who is ultimately elected president, the Ohio Republican’s nomination has only strengthened Democrats’ efforts to align them with their party’s most hard-line members. putting their places at risk in 2024.
“Jim Jordan is the poster child for MAGA extremism,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the minority leader, said Tuesday night.
In a speech on the House floor in which he nominated Mr. Jeffries for speaker, Rep. Pete Aguilar of California, Democrat No. against any Republican who supported him.
“A vote today to make the Speaker of this House the architect of a nationwide abortion ban, a vocal denier of choice, and an instigator of sedition would send a terrible message to the country and our allies,” Mr. Aguilar said.
The candidacy of Mr. Jordan, the embattled co-founder of the ultraconservative Freedom Caucus and a key player in Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, has left many House Republicans in a no-win position.
If Mr. Had Jordan won – a prospect that seemed less likely on Wednesday after he lost the second ballot – his rise would confirm the concerns of many voters. Many believe that the GOP is an extreme party that is very much at odds with most of the country, and that the House Republican Conference is essentially made up of loyal Trump soldiers. And if the hard-right lawmaker continues to fail, it only reinforces the view of Republicans as utterly incapable of governing.
For mainstream Republicans who represent politically competitive districts, the damage may already be done regardless of the outcome of the vote or how many rounds are needed.
“It’s hard to present yourself as a person of bipartisan compromise and moderation when you’re voting for someone who is staunchly opposed to any bipartisan compromise and is the furthest thing from a moderate a voter can imagine,” said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster.
Democrats touted data from YouGov Blue, a research arm for progressive and Democratic clients, that found 63 percent of respondents in a recent poll said moderate Republicans should work with Democrats to form a bipartisan governing coalition. Only 37 percent of respondents said those moderate Republicans should work only with other Republicans to elect a new president.
Christina Bohannan, a Democrat running against Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks in a competitive Iowa district, said her opponent’s vote for Mr. Jordan on Tuesday “shows her true values and how antithetical they are to the values of Iowa.”
She said that more than 60 percent of Iowans rejected the position of Mr. Jordan, who supports a nationwide abortion ban, and noted that he has never voted for the farm bill, one of the country’s most critical issues.
“This is a real slap in the face to the women of Iowa for Miller-Meeks to support him,” Ms. Bohannan said. “I can’t think of a clearer example of Representative Miller-Meeks selling out Iowans to extreme members of her own party instead of taking a multipartisan stance.”
Ms. Miller-Meeks changed her vote on Wednesday, dropping her support for Mr. Jordan and voting instead for Texas Representative Kay Granger. But the damage was already done.
Some Republicans acknowledged that on Tuesday.
“There’s no way we’re going to win a majority if the message we’re sending to the American people is that we believe the election was stolen, and we believe there was a tour of the Capitol on January 6,” Representative Ken Buck, R-Colorado, said on CNN. Mr. Buck was one of 22 Republicans who declined to vote for Mr. Jordan on Wednesday. He said he was opposed in part because Mr. Jordan was reluctant to say that Mr. Biden had won the 2020 election.
Representative Jen Kiggans, who represents the Virginia district that Mr. Biden won, has also been outspoken about her opposition to Mr. Jordan.
“Mr. The Jordanian government’s funding plan has the potential to further reduce the already inadequate defense budget,” she said in a video posted on social media. She also expressed concern about his last month’s opposition to keeping the government open.
Bullish Republicans dismissed the chaos that led to a House deadlock as “Beltway drama” that will be forgotten by November of next year, and noted that the political climate remained positive overall for them. Recently ABC survey, for example, showed Mr. Biden with a 26 percent approval rating on immigration and border security; a 29 percent inflation approval rating; and 33 percent approval of crime.
A survey conducted by Gallup last month found that 57 percent of respondents say Republicans are better at protecting the country from international terrorism and military threats, compared with 35 percent of Democrats — the largest gap Gallup has registered since it began surveying the issue in 2002.
However, the political climate is not significantly different from last year, when the Republicans failed to achieve the expected big victories and won the majority in the House of Representatives by only four seats. One of the things that has changed since then is the apparent failure of House Republicans to govern.
Strategists noted that even if the speaker race had never happened, mainstream Republicans already faced a tough political challenge with Mr. Trump, the most likely presidential nominee for the top spot on their party’s ticket.
Some Republicans in swing districts said this week that they hope their constituents can separate them from the chaos surrounding their party.
“I will be judged by the work that I do, and whoever opposes me will be judged by their experience and livelihood,” said Representative Marc Molinaro of New York, who voted for Mr. Jordan and represents Mr. Biden’s district. won in 2020. “I really believe that at the end of the day, if we’re serious and honest with the people we represent and authentic in that service, they’re going to judge us on that.”
Luke Broadwater and Kayla Guo contributed to the reporting.