Jordan’s Electional Denialism Helped Cost Him Speakership

A hopeful irony.

WaPo’s Jacqueline Alemany reports “Concerns about Jordan’s election denialism flare during failed bid for speaker.

As Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) waged his battle to become House speaker, some House Republicans were uncomfortable with the possibility of having an election denier occupying the most powerful legislative seat in the U.S. government heading into a presidential election year.

Jordan, who relinquished his nomination for the speakership on Friday after his third defeat on the House floor, was among the most prolific and vocal GOP lawmakers who worked to convince voters that the 2020 election was stolen from former president Donald Trump, and assisted Trump in his efforts to overturn the election.

Along with several of his peers in the House Republican conference, Jordan refused to comply with a subpoena for testimony from the House Select Committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Throughout the course of its investigation, the committee unearthed evidence that Jordan had materially relevant communications with Trump and others about activities pertaining to Jan. 6.

Jordan’s role in Jan. 6 and his election denialism were not an organizing nor central factor for the roughly two dozen Republicans who voted against his speaker bid. But some Republican lawmakers — even some who supported Jordan’s bid — raised concerns about his continued refusal to acknowledge Joe Biden’s 2020 election win when asked by peers this week.


During a conference meeting on Monday evening, when Jordan was asked by Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.) whether he believed Trump won the 2020 election, he declined to answer the question directly, according to lawmakers who were in the closed-door meeting.

“He answered the question as if it was February 1, 2021,” said one lawmaker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose details of the private meeting. “It was disappointing for many members” that Jordan could not succinctly answer “a simple question,” the lawmaker added.


“Jim, at some point, if he’s going to lead this conference during a presidential election cycle, and particularly a presidential election year with primaries and caucuses around the country, is going to have to be strong and say, ‘Donald Trump didn’t win the election,’ ” Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) told reporters on Monday.

To be sure, Jordan’s defeat was overdetermined. He could afford to lose no more than four Republican votes and he lost 20, 22, and 25 in successive rounds of voting. I suspect his general assholish personality cost him as much as his attempts to steal the election. And the fact that he refused to back Steve Scalise after the caucus chose him over Jordan was also a huge factor.

Still, the fact that election denialism alone would have cost him more than four votes is a modest ray of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy picture of a party in shambles.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. steve says:

    So election denial cost him 10% of the House votes, at best. It’s a very small ray.


  2. DrDaveT says:

    It’s somewhat bizarre that sincerely believing something crazy about the election in spite of overwhelming evidence is generally not seen as disqualifying in our government, but that actually having sane beliefs but lying about them would probably merit criminal prosecution. At what point does “still spreading election fraud myths” become actionable, regardless of motive? I would think that civil actions for slander, if nothing else, should be available…

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The fact that they asked the question is a modest ray of sunshine. Never would have happened 2 years ago.

  4. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @DrDaveT: Well and although IANAL, my understanding is that for slander people in the public eye have to prove malice in addition to untruthfulness, so that might be why there are no larger consequences.

    But some Republican lawmakers — even some who supported Jordan’s bid — raised concerns about his continued refusal to ack… [emphasis added]

    I find this factor more puzzling. Someone explain to me what the rationale for supporting someone you believe to have anti-democratic leanings/tendencies to a position where democracy is going to be the expectation. That shortcoming is even more glaring to me than that he has no demonstrated capacity to lead whatsoever. (Even a cracker can understand the draw to electing a popular but incompetent puppet. Electing an unpopular, incompetent, and anti-democratic demagogue strikes me as counterintuitive.)

  5. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Mein Gott, do you mean Ernie Kovacs was wrong about irony being dead????? Say it ain’t so, Joe, say it ain’t so.