Fourth Florida Republican Defects, Blocks Jordan’s Path to Speaker

A fourth Florida Republican Congressman is now opposing U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan’s bid for Speaker of the House, bringing the total number of defectors to 22. Representative Vern Buchanan of Longboat Key joined the dissenters on Wednesday after initially casting his vote in support of Jordan on Tuesday. Buchanan instead endorsed fellow Florida Congressman Byron Donalds in the second round.

“We’re going to have to solve this race quickly,” Buchanan told reporters.

“I’ve served with Byron, he’s a conservative champion, and I hope my colleagues will consider his name as we look for a way forward. It’s about time Florida had a seat at the table.”

Buchanan joined several other U.S. Reps from Florida in voicing his frustration toward House leadership, as a clear leader has failed to emerge since the ousting of Kevin McCarthy more than two weeks ago.

Just days ago, Buchanan said he had spoken to Jordan personally and had a “very productive conversation.”

“I informed him that I will be offering my support on the House floor,” Buchanan pledged Monday before adding, “While I have always said that Jim is a good friend, I am deeply frustrated by the way this process has played out.” Despite the U.S. Rep’s concerns over the “future and immediate well-being and security of [the] country,” his support for Jordan was short-lived.

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Buchanan joined three Florida colleagues in opposing Jordan on Wednesday, including Reps—Carlos Gimenez and Mario Diaz-Balart of Miami and Rep. John Rutherford of Jacksonville.

Rutherford, in particular, has been outspoken against the House Freedom Caucus’ efforts–and in particular against fellow Floridian Matt Gaetz for leading McCarthy’s ouster. In both ballots, Rutherford has voted for House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

“We’ve had two rounds of floor votes, and the vote against Rep. Jim Jordan has only gotten stronger,” Rutherford said in a statement issued Wednesday. “The hardball tactics haven’t worked. If we move to a third round, we already know the opposition is on track to grow. It’s time for Rep. Jordan to understand this race is over.”

“Tonight, I suggest we either go to conference to show him in private or back to the floor to show him in public. Rep. Jordan is fiddling while the world is on fire. It’s time to get down to business and select a consensus candidate who can bring the Republican Conference together,”

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Despite facing opposition, Jordan says he is undeterred and plans to stand for a third round of voting.

“Speaker McCarthy, he had a two-month runway from when he got the conference nomination and when we got to that first week in January, so we’re right where he was in his numbers,” Jordan told reporters, referencing the period between the GOP conference vote and the January Speaker vote.

The third round of voting in the Speaker election is expected to occur as early as Thursday.

Other stories you may want to read:

Three Florida GOP Reps. Vote ‘No’ on Speaker Jordan

FL Rep. Randy Fine Delivers Fiery & Emotional Speech On Israel & Jews

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