Potential challengers are waiting in the wings for Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, to step away from the race for House speaker after he failed to clinch a majority of support in back-to-back House-wide votes.
Rep. Jack Bergman, R-Mich., a retired Marine Corps general, is “prepared” to step into the race if Jordan falters, his spokesman told Fox News Digital. Bergman had supported Jordan throughout his run for speaker.
“Following the second round of voting, the General was approached by colleagues and has had conversations about a possible Speaker run — it’s becoming clear Rep. Jordan’s path is narrowing by the hour,” the spokesman said.
“We cannot go another day without a Speaker. He simply doesn’t have the votes — we need to have a frank discussion as a conference about a path forward. If as a conference we see he can’t get the necessary votes to become Speaker, General Bergman is prepared to step up.”
Bergman is seeking to cast himself as a stable force to lead the House until the new term begins in 2025.
“The General isn’t seeking to climb the ladder, only steady it in a time of chaos — and would only seek to be Speaker for the remainder of the 118th Congress,” his spokesman said. “Rep. Bergman served our Nation for 40 years in the United States Marine Corps — retiring as a Lt. General. He knows how to put others first to accomplish the task at hand.”
Meanwhile, a source familiar with discussions told Fox News Digital that Budget Committee Chairman Jodey Arrington’s name “keeps popping up as an alternative in conversations with holdouts unhappy with Jordan.”
Arrington, R-Texas, would be an attractive candidate for establishment Republicans due to his experiences working under former President George W. Bush’s administration, the source said, while his recently produced budget framework to slash spending could be appealing to hardline conservatives.
A different source familiar with Arrington’s plans said, “We really are working to get Jordan to 217, and we are standing by our Conference nominee. Getting this done and getting back to doing the People’s work is what we’re laser-focused on right now.”
The first source also mentioned Republican Study Committee Chair Kevin Hern, R-Okla., as “another alternative waiting in the wings.” Hern had toyed with the idea of running for speaker before stepping back from the race over concerns a three-way competition could fracture the House GOP.
Other reports have also suggested Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., vice chair of the House GOP conference, as a possible candidate. A third source close to discussions acknowledged hearing “whispers” about Johnson.
A moderate Republican lawmaker even floated Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, who has emerged this year as a top liaison between GOP leadership and the hardline-right House Freedom Caucus.
“Conservatives want Jim Jordan. But Jim Jordan isn’t going to get the job done and doesn’t have our support. Chip Roy would be a different story. He’s principled,” the lawmaker told Fox News Digital.
Hern and Johnson’s offices did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday morning.
Jordan won 199 votes in his second try at the speaker’s gavel on Wednesday, after winning 200 the previous day.
His office has indicated that he will go through another vote on Thursday, but it’s likely to be the final bellwether on whether Jordan’s candidacy still has viability.