A campaign of aggressiveness by Rep. Jim Jordan's supporters has sparked a backlash among Republican holdouts. This makes it more difficult for him to be the next House Speaker.
A number of GOP members, including the spouse of one, reported receiving a torrential barrage in calls and messages urging them to support Jordan's (R-Ohio) struggling campaign. One woman even claimed to have received death threats.
This week, the wife of R-Neb. Rep. Don Bacon received anonymous and threatening texts pressuring her to convince her husband to back Jordan.
Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) said that his staffers were "cussed-out" by Jordan supporters in telephone calls.
Rep. Carlos Gimenez (R-Fla.) said that he was so angry with the pro-Jordan calls to voters in South Florida, he told Jordan personally to stop using attack dogs.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Rep. Mariannette Miller Meeks, R. Iowa, stated that she had received "credible threats of death and a barrage threatening calls" following her decision to vote for another Republican during the second round.
Jordan's opponents, who have been blocking him for the last two days from gaining the speaker's givel, are facing an aggressive campaign by his allies, conservative grassroots activists, and to stop their opposition.
The group of about 20 anti-Jordan Republicans insists that they will not give in and that their hardball tactics have failed.
Miller-Meeks stated in a press release that "bullying is something I can't stomach or support." She added that she will not be intimidated. "Anyone who threatens bodily harm to another or suppresses differing opinions undermines the opportunity for unity as well as respect for freedom of expression."
Jordan posted a message on social media website X condemning the threats. She called for an end to the violence: "No American shall accost another because of their beliefs. We condemn any threats made against our colleagues, and we must come together. Stop. It's abhorrent."
Gimenez recalled a heated phone call he had with Jordan the day before.
"Robocalls - they're not for free. Someone is funding it. He told me he was not behind it, and that he had asked people to stop. Why aren't people listening to you if you asked them to stop? Gimenez spoke to reporters after leaving the House.
"I told him that I don't take well to threats. "I'd go the opposite way if you threatened me," he said. "I'd rather head in the opposite direction, than away from it, because I know that if I succumb to intimidation, threats, and other things, then the rest of my life will be filled with intimidation, threats, and more."
Speaker nominees often use carrots to win over skeptics. These include subcommittee gotls, seats in powerful panels, and fundraising promises. Kevin McCarthy, R.-Calif., the consummate insider used this strategy to win the speaker's spokesl in January. Jordan is left with few carrots, as the speaker's vacancy occurs in the middle session.
Jordan's struggles highlight the extent to which his rise is due to his outside game. This includes his talent for activating conservative grassroots, creating a splash in right-wing media, and lighting up the social networks with GOP-leaning passionate voters. His struggles expose his weaknesses in the inside game as well, including member-to-member relationships and balancing unstable coalitions - skills that are staples for successful speakers.