Several Republicans who opposed Rep. Jim Jordan’s House speakership bid said they are experiencing angry calls, menacing messages and even death threats since casting their votes, increasing the already tense and chaotic atmosphere in the GOP as they struggle to elect a speaker.
Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa said in a statement that she has “received credible death threats and a barrage of threatening calls” after flipping her speaker vote from Jordan on Tuesday to House Appropriations Chairwoman Kay Granger on Wednesday. New York Rep. Nick LaLota, meanwhile, shared in a social media post a message he received that told him to “go f**k yourself and die.”
Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas said his office has been flooded with calls and there’s been “lots of profanity,” but “no real substantive threats,” while Nebraska Rep. Don Bacon’s wife received menacing text messages.
The anonymous text messages warned her husband – who has been a vocal holdout against Jordan – to back the Ohio Republican. “Your husband will not hold any political office ever again. What a disappointment and failure he is,” read one messages sent to Bacon’s wife and obtained by CNN through the congressman. She responded to that text saying, “He has more courage than you. You won’t put your name to your statements.”
Jordan has so far failed to clinch the speakership in two rounds of voting, facing 22 GOP votes against his bid on Wednesday – far more than the handful he could afford to lose given the party’s narrow majority in the House. The prolonged speaker fight in the wake of Kevin McCarthy’s historic ouster earlier this month has led to growing tensions and frustration among the House Republican conference.
Jordan on Wednesday condemned the death threats, saying “it’s just wrong.”
“It should never happen,” Jordan said as he left his office Wednesday night. “It’s just wrong, and we don’t want it to happen to anyone, any American, anybody, any member of Congress. It’s just wrong.”
The comments followed an earlier post from the congressman on X that said, “no American should accost another for their beliefs … Stop. It’s abhorrent.”
Still, some of the Republicans who have voted against Jordan have railed against what they have described as the pressure campaign against them and said it’s only hardened their opposition. Conservative leaders and media figures have attacked the holdouts online and posted their office phone numbers, encouraging people to flood those offices with phone calls in support of Jordan.
Womack derided what he called the “attack, attack, attack” tactics of Jordan allies against his Republican opponents.
“Frankly, just based on what I’ve been through – I can only speak to myself and what my staff has been through over the last 24 or 48 hours – it is obvious what the strategy has been: Attack, attack, attack. Attack the members who don’t agree with you, attack them, beat them into submission,” he said.
There have also been pro-Jordan robocalls targeting voters in Rep. Carlos Gimenez’s district as well as other members’ district, according to the Florida Republican’s office. Gimenez confronted Jordan about it, but Jordan said he wasn’t behind it, per his office.
Opponents to the congressman’s bid so far have included centrist Republicans concerned that the face of the House GOP would be a conservative hardliner, as well as lawmakers still furious at the small group of Republicans who forced out McCarthy and then opposed House Majority Leader Steve Scalise’s bid for the gavel. Scalise initially defeated Jordan inside the GOP conference to become the speaker nominee, but later dropped out of the race amid opposition to his candidacy.
Jordan, pressed by CNN on why he’s staying in the race given pathway to 217 isn’t getting any better, noted that McCarthy had a lot longer to build support for his speakership bid.
“We continue to talk with colleagues, we feel good about those discussions. The key is we need to get to a speaker as soon as possible,” he said. “Speaker McCarthy had a several month runway before the vote. Then when the vote happened, it was a whole week.
“So we want to get there as quickly as we can,” he added. “And we’ll continue to talk to our colleagues.”