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WASHINGTON — Two Texas Republicans are considering a run for U.S. House Speaker, hoping to fill a power vacuum left open after Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio dropped out of the race Friday.
U.S. Reps. Jodey Arrington of Lubbock and Roger Williams of Willow Park both said Friday they were considering a go for it, but would take the weekend to consult with their families. Both said they had not yet made definitive decisions. Both had previously backed Jordan’s bid for speaker.
Arrington chairs the House Budget Committee and Williams chairs the House Small Business Committee.
Both expressed their interest after the House Republican Conference voted in a closed door meeting to drop Jordan as their nominee for speaker after he lost his third floor vote. Only members were allowed in the meeting, but Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Sherman, said the vote was 112 to 86 against Jordan. Jordan afterward said he would drop out of the race.
Jordan’s loss leaves no frontrunner candidate to unite the fractured Republican conference. Whoever does put their name up will need to convince a wide ideological spectrum of often antithetical viewpoints at a candidate forum at 6:30 Eastern time Monday.
Arrington appeared cleareyed about the challenges. The House has gone without a speaker for over two weeks, paralyzing any legislation. Jordan was the second Republican nominee to drop out of the race after House Majority Leader Steve Scalise failed to secure enough votes last week.
“Why would somebody run when we’ve witnessed this seemingly tragic process play out,” Arrington said. “But, you know, somebody’s got to run. We have to coalesce around somebody or we’re going to squander this historic opportunity.”
When asked if that person was him, Arrington said, “Could be.”
Arrington said he has his family’s support, but needs to “talk as a Texas family” with the rest of the state’s Republicans. Texas sends more Republicans to Congress than any other state, and the unified support of the state’s delegation would be a major boost to any candidate. Scalise and Jordan failed to win the support of the entire delegation.
Williams said Friday he would “take a look at” running. He has been in the House for over 10 years and is well liked in the chamber.
“It would have to be the right circumstance for me with my family and my business and so forth,” Williams said.
Both Williams and Arrington stressed the need to find a speaker, even if it’s not them, quickly. Both Texans voted against ousting former Speaker Kevin McCarthy earlier this month and voted to support Jim Jordan in all three floor votes.
Federal funding runs out in less than a month and both Israel and Ukraine are requesting major defense aid packages. None of those priorities can move without a speaker.
“We need a speaker for crying out loud. We’ve got so much happening in the world,” Williams said.