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Jordan loses round two

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Oct 18, 2023 View in browser

By Eli Okun

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Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) flipped two votes toward him, but they were wiped out by four new defections. | Francis Chung/POLITICO via AP Images

RUN IT BACK — This afternoon’s vote to elect a new House speaker offered a moment of truth for Rep. JIM JORDAN’s (R-Ohio) bid: Would he lose support or inch closer to the gavel? The result trended in the wrong direction for Jordan, who lost 22 Republicans and now stands further from his goal despite a day of talks with various holdouts.

Jordan flipped two votes toward him, gaining the backing of Reps. DOUG LaMALFA (R-Calif.) and VICTORIA SPARTZ (R-Ind.), and he picked up Rep. GUS BILIRAKIS (R-Fla.), who was absent yesterday. He was nominated by Rep. TOM COLE (R-Okla.), the elder statesman who himself has been mentioned as a speaker possibility, in a show of party support.

But they were wiped out by defections from Reps. VERN BUCHANAN (R-Fla.), DREW FERGUSON (R-Ga.), MARIANNETTE MILLER-MEEKS (R-Iowa) and PETE STAUBER (R-Minn.). Jordan nabbed just 199 votes in total.

What comes next? Jordan can keep trying — KEVIN McCARTHY, after all, went 15 rounds in January — but something significant needs to change for him to flip the script. He didn’t answer reporters’ questions about whether he’ll drop out of the race now. There’s another conference meeting at 1:30 p.m.

Earlier, Jordan called for a vote to be taken as well today on temporarily empowering acting Speaker Pro Tempore PATRICK McHENRY, though CNN’s Melanie Zanona reports that his team is whipping against such a resolution. The chatter about elevating McHenry, at least for a while, is growing — though success would likely hinge on at least some level of Democratic support, which top Dems have not ruled out. McHenry himself continues to sound less than enthused about the idea.

Rep. DAVE JOYCE (R-Ohio) is leading the McHenry charge along with other moderates. Sarah Ferris, Jordain Carney and Olivia Beavers break down where it stands, including the uncertainty about what details the resolution would contain. The latest indicators are that Joyce’s resolution would give McHenry power to lead until Jan. 3 and oversee movement on a stopgap government funding plan and a Ukraine/Israel/Taiwan aid package.

Meanwhile, Rep. MIKE GALLAGHER (R-Wis.) is the latest name to circulate as another alternative if Jordan fails or withdraws, per Punchbowl’s Jake Sherman.

BIDEN IN ISRAEL — The U.S. said today that so far, multiple types of evidence it has assessed via the Defense Department indicates that the deadly explosion at a Gaza hospital was due to a Palestinian rocket misfire, not an Israeli airstrike. That’s a significant finding — reached on more than just the basis of Israeli evidence — that backs up Israeli claims and runs counter to much of the outrage that erupted around the Arab world after the devastating incident. Some experts have also said the images from the hospital do not seem consistent with an airstrike.

Speaking publicly in Israel, President JOE BIDEN forcefully reiterated his support for the country after this month’s deadly Hamas rampage: “You are not alone,” he pledged. Biden also urged Israel not to overreact like the U.S. sometimes did in the War on Terror: “While you feel that rage, don’t be consumed by it,” he said. “After 9/11, we were enraged in the United States. While we sought justice and got justice, we also made mistakes.”

Biden announced $100 million in humanitarian aid for Gaza, and he said he had reached an agreement with Israel to allow aid to enter the territory via the Egyptian border crossing. Details of when the aid will arrive, and how easily it will get to civilians in dire straits, remain unclear. More from the AP

Regional rancor: Two attack drones targeted an Iraqi base with U.S. troops today, but the U.S. intercepted them and prevented any injuries, per Fox News.

Movement on the Hill: Senate Majority Leader CHUCK SCHUMER said a resolution affirming U.S. support for Israel has the backing of 99 senators, with Sen. RAND PAUL (R-Ky.) the lone holdout, per Burgess Everett. It could pass as soon as today, but if Paul opposes unanimous consent, it might take longer.

The big picture: “Biden Walks a Tightrope on Israel-Gaza as Democratic Tensions Smolder,” by NYT’s Reid Epstein: “The president has won bipartisan plaudits for his response to the war, and his trip to Israel offers a chance to appear statesmanlike. But anger on the left is growing as Israeli strikes pound Gaza.”

Good Wednesday afternoon. Thanks for reading Playbook PM. Drop me a line at [email protected].


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RECRUITMENT WATCH — JOSEPH TEIRAB, a Marine-turned-federal prosecutor and the son of a Sudanese immigrant, launched a bid today against Rep. ANGIE CRAIG (D-Minn.) in her swingy suburban Minneapolis district, Ally Mutnick writes in. GOP recruiters are thrilled by Teirab’s resume: He attended Cornell University and Harvard Law School before deploying to Iraq. Afterward he became an assistant U.S. attorney, helping prosecute a $250 million fraud scheme involving a federally funded children’s nutrition program. Biden won Craig’s district by 7 points.

PRIMARY COLORS — Controversial North Carolina Lt. Gov. MARK ROBINSON may be the frontrunner for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, but Republicans worried about his baggage now have an alternative: BILL GRAHAM is jumping into the race, The Dispatch’s David Drucker scooped. Many party insiders are supporting the lawyer and businessman, whose independent wealth is kicking off his campaign with $5 million and TV ads starting next week. Graham previously ran for governor in 2008. AG JOSH STEIN is the likely Democratic nominee.

ANOTHER CA-SEN ENTRANT — “Christina Pascucci, TV anchor, is running for Senate in California,” by Chris Cadelago: “In an exclusive interview with POLITICO to announce her candidacy, [CHRISTINA] PASCUCCI outlined a run as a moderate consensus builder in a field of bomb-throwing partisans. The 38-year-old Democrat described herself as a ‘truth-seeker’ who would focus on legislating.”

SWITCHING LANES — Democrat PHIL EHR is dropping out of the Florida Senate primary, clearing the path for DEBBIE MUCARSEL-POWELL to challenge GOP Sen. RICK SCOTT, Gary Fineout reports in Florida Playbook. Instead, the Navy veteran will run for the House against GOP Rep. CARLOS GIMENEZ, motivated by the speakership chaos in Washington, on the other side of the state from where he challenged GOP Rep. MATT GAETZ three years ago.

BATTLE FOR THE HOUSE — Virginia state Del. EILEEN FILLER-CORN, a former speaker of the state House, is jumping into the race for the House seat being vacated by Rep. JENNIFER WEXTON (D-Va.), Jewish Insider’s Matthew Kassel scooped. Filler-Corn said support for Israel and her Jewish values will be at the center of her campaign. Having previously considered a gubernatorial bid, she instead becomes the first Democrat to run for this seat.

CONTROLLING THE NARRATIVE — “With Republicans Winning on Immigration, Demoralized Democrats See Inflection Point,” by The Messenger’s Adrian Carrasquillo: Progressives “say the party is now adrift on the issue of immigration and at the whim of a Republican Party that is winning the political and narrative fight on the border.”

WHAT J.B. PRITZKER IS UP TO — The Illinois governor is launching a new 501(c)(4) to support abortion rights nationwide, Shia Kapos reports from Chicago. Think Big America will back Arizona, Nevada and Ohio ballot measures, channeling some of the billionaire’s cash into the issue.

FAILURE TO LAUNCH — Michigan Democrat HILL HARPER’s Senate campaign hasn’t made much of a splash yet, primarily being kept afloat by the actor/activist’s own loans so far, The Messenger’s Dan Merica reports. Harper, who has focused less on fundraising in his bid, spent more in the third quarter than he took in from other donors.


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IMMIGRATION FILES — “U.S. to create new immigration program for Ecuadorians aimed at discouraging border crossings,” by CBS’ Camilo Montoya-Galvez: “The administration is slated to announce Wednesday a family reunification program that will allow eligible Ecuadorians to fly to the U.S. and apply for temporary work permits if their U.S.-based relatives have sponsored them for an immigrant visa.”

PULLOUT FALLOUT — There’s bipartisan agreement among Americans that the Afghanistan war wasn’t worth it, AP’s Linley Sanders and Rebecca Santana report from a new Pearson Institute/AP/NORC Center poll. That’s how two-thirds of the country feels, a number remarkably consistent between Democrats and Republicans.


THE PLOT TO SUBVERT THE ELECTION — Emails newly obtained by NYT’s Maggie Haberman and Luke Broadwater show KENNETH CHESEBRO explicitly acknowledging in late 2020 that efforts to challenge the election would likely fail legally but serve a political end. That “could undercut any effort to show that the lawyers were focused solely on legal strategies” as Chesebro goes to trial in Fulton County, Ga., on Friday.

KNOWING BILL BACHENBERG — “Meet the Lehigh Valley millionaire who tried to help Donald Trump overturn the 2020 election,” by the Philly Inquirer’s Gillian McGoldrick and William Bender: “[I]n the world of MAGA Republicans and 2020 election deniers, he could be the most influential man you’ve never heard about. The 65-year-old millionaire, who lives outside Allentown, allegedly spent months secretly funding efforts after the 2020 election to uncover fraud in at least three states.”


LOAN LURCH — The Small Business Administration has for several months stopped trying to pursue small business loans during the pandemic that are past due, inciting a political furor, WaPo’s Tony Romm reports. The government has decided that giving up on collecting the money, to the tune of $62 billion, could actually cost less than trying to get it back. But Republicans have cried foul, and today opened an investigation into the matter in the House. Senate Republicans also asked the agency for records today.


SURVEY SAYS — The Ohio abortion rights amendment appears on track for passage next month, according to a new Baldwin Wallace poll that finds the “yes” vote on Issue 1 leading “no” 58% to 34%, per the Plain Dealer’s Laura Hancock.

2024 WATCH

MINI ME — As VIVEK RAMASWAMY officially files today to run in the New Hampshire primary, he’s struggling to differentiate himself from the ideologically similar DONALD TRUMP in voters’ eyes, Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser reports from Concord. Ramaswamy himself says the “main distinguishing factor” is simply that he’s younger.


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OUT AND ABOUT — The Partnership for Public Service honored its 2023 winners of the Samuel J. Herman Service to America Medals, or Sammies, at a Kennedy Center gala last night. This year’s winners were Paul Nissenbaum, Gloria Shepherd, Maria Lefevre and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law implementation team; Brian Key, Scott Bellamy and the NASA double asteroid redirection test team; Melissa Emrey-Arras; Joshua Mellor, Nicholas Cheviron, Stephanie Stevens and Operation Trojan Shield; Laura Cooper and the Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia policy team; Megan Meacham, Allison Hutchings, Sarah O’Donnell and the rural communities opioid response program team; and Fletcher Schoen and Jennifer Harkins.

Also SPOTTED at the gala: White House chief of staff Jeff Zients, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Gene Dodaro, Kathleen Hicks, Bob Cabana, Max Stier and Judge Florence Pan, Dan Tangherlini, Kate Bolduan, Judy Woodruff, Sally Buzbee and Russell Berman.

— Steer PR celebrated its one-year anniversary with a cocktail party in Georgetown. SPOTTED: Brittany Bramell Punaro, Lauren Claffey Tomlinson, Gina Haspel, Saxby Chambliss, Andy Makridis, Dmitri Alperovitch, Marc Raimondi, Linda Weissgold, Kevin Higgins, John Edwards, Tim Barrett and Joe Mathieu.

— SPOTTED at a Washington AI Network event last night at the House at 1229, hosted by Tammy Haddad and Maryam Mujica: Steve Benjamin, John McCarthy, Erica Loewe, Tim Ryder, Jon Cardinal, Dan Cheever, Evan Hollander, Lynda Carter, Jessica Dean and Alex Katz, Bryan Doyle and Colin Crowell.

— SPOTTED at the International Foundation for Electoral System’s annual Democracy Awards Dinner last night, posthumously honoring disability rights leader Judy Heumann: Marie Yovanovitch, William Eacho, Ken Blackwell, Theodore Sedgwick, Tony Banbury, Shannon Green, Jeffrey Feltman, Frank Donatelli, Sarah Tinsley, June Langston DeHart, Rob Berschinski, Evelyn Farkas and Jessica Benton Cooney.

TRANSITIONS — Leah Nodvin is now chief of staff for the Bureau of Europe and Eurasia at USAID. She previously worked for the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe. … Kara Zupkus is now comms manager for the Taxpayers Protection Alliance. She most recently was comms director for Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas). … Vivek Chilukuri is joining the Center for a New American Security as senior fellow and director of the technology and national security program. He previously was a senior staff member in various roles for Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and is a State Department alum.

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Jordan loses round two


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