Rep. Jim Jordan, Democratic President Joe Biden’s chief opponent, on Wednesday became the first Republican to run for speaker of the House, replacing ousted Kevin McCarthy.
Jordan will face a long and likely crowded battle for the post in the Republican-controlled House, likely against the No. 2 Republican in the House, Steve Scalise, and several other candidates. Dew.
Tuesday’s historic removal of Mr. McCarthy, pushed by Republican rebels, marked the first time Congress has removed a leader from the position second only to the vice president and second only to the president.
Republicans have set a vote to choose a replacement for Oct. 11, and plan to meet the day before to hear from candidates.
Jordan, a combative conservative who has led the Biden administration’s investigation, has publicly indicated for the first time that he is interested in the job.
“We need to unite our caucus, and I think we can do that,” he told reporters.
Mr. Jordan, 59, a former college wrestler from Ohio known for eschewing suit jackets at congressional hearings and press conferences, first rose to fame as a vocal leader on the right wing of his party, then eventually Allied with Mr. McCarthy.
As chairman of the Judiciary Committee, he is involved in the impeachment inquiry against Biden and is also involved with state prosecutors who brought criminal charges against former President Donald Trump.
Other candidates include Mr. Scalise, who is undergoing treatment for cancer, and Tom Emmer, the No. 3 Republican in the House. Representative Patrick McHenry will serve as interim chairman following McCarthy’s firing.
The leadership battle is eating into the time lawmakers have to avert an impending partial government shutdown starting Nov. 18 if Congress fails to pass legislation providing additional funding.
Republican Rep. Byron Donald supported Mr. McCarthy in the vote and told reporters after Mr. McCarthy lost 216-210, “We are in uncharted waters.”
This task has proven difficult for Republicans in recent years. The last Republican chairman, Paul Ryan, retired from Congress after struggling to work with then-President Donald Trump, a fellow Republican. His predecessor, John Boehner, left the party over conflicts with the party’s right wing.
McCarthy, who led the majority by a narrow 221-212 margin, made his job even harder for himself.
During 15 tough votes to run for speaker in January, he agreed to change House rules to allow one lawmaker to call for the speaker’s removal, allowing Rep. Matt Gaetz to We prepared ourselves to do just that.
“We can’t install new speakers in this structure. It’s completely dysfunctional,” Rep. Garrett Graves, a key ally of Mr. McCarthy, told reporters.
Several Republicans predicted it would take time to unite behind Mr. McCarthy’s successor.
The U.S. House of Representatives has ousted Kevin McCarthy from his post as speaker due to infighting within the narrowly divided Republican majority, making it the first time in history that a speaker has been removed from office.
Democrats were stunned when Republicans ousted their own leaders.
“I’ve been here a while and I’ve seen a lot of things, but I’ve never seen anything like this,” Democratic Rep. Jim McGovern told Reuters.
He will serve until early January 2025, unless the entire House of Representatives, both Republicans and Democrats, votes for the Speaker and he is also removed from office. Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries is expected to run against all Republican candidates nominated by the party’s conference, as he did in January.
Congress is struggling to raise government funding for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. Four days ago, lawmakers narrowly avoided a partial government shutdown that would suspend paychecks for more than 4 million federal workers and halt widespread federal programs.
Mr. McCarthy relied on Democratic votes to pass a stopgap spending bill, infuriating Mr. Gaetz and other far-right Republicans.
The crisis could also complicate the party’s efforts to strengthen immigration laws and advance an impeachment inquiry against Biden.