New House speaker vote set for today. Here's what to know

It remains unclear if Rep. Jim Jordan has the 217 votes needed to win speakership, but it is possible for him to claim the gavel with a lower number.
Posted at 9:09 AM, Oct 17, 2023

House Republicans will make another attempt Tuesday at selecting a speaker of the House to fill the seat vacated by Rep. Kevin McCarthy after he was ousted from the post earlier this month.

The full chamber is set to vote at noon ET on whether to elect Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan. But not all Republicans in the House have committed their support for him.

Rep. Jim Jordan seeks support ahead of House speaker vote
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

Rep. Jim Jordan seeks support ahead of House speaker vote

One by one Rep. Jordan has been peeling off the detractors who view the Ohio Republican as too extreme.


The magic number we're looking for is 217. That's the number of votes needed to secure the speakership. There are 221 Republican members of the House, meaning Jordan can only afford to lose four votes in order to reach the majority needed to win.

However, that threshold could technically be lowered due to a variety of reasons. Let's say there are some unexcused absences, illnesses, or maybe some members vote "present" — then that magic number of 217 could be a moving target throughout the day.

After late-night meetings with Republican colleagues and a weekend full of lobbying for support, Jordan did express optimism that he could reach that number and even got a bit of a boost from some Republicans Monday who endorsed him for the role after previously saying they would never vote for him. 

Why is it so hard to be a Republican speaker of the House?
Combination photo shows former House speakers John Boehner, Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy.

Why is it so hard to be a Republican speaker of the House?

The House is expected to pick a new speaker soon, but regardless of who's leading the chamber, lawmakers have a lot to do in the next six weeks.


"It's not about pressure on anybody, it's just about we've got to have a speaker," Jordan said Monday night. "You can't open the House and do the work of the American people and help our dearest and closest friend Israel if you don't have a speaker. The only way to do this is the way the founders intended — you have the vote tomorrow. We've set it for 12 o'clock and I feel real good about it." 

There's also the possibility that this vote could last several rounds like it did in January when it took McCarthy 15 ballots to eventually be elected speaker. But if Jordan can't get to that magic number by the end of this week, then it's back to the drawing board for the Republican House conference.