House Republicans on Friday nominated Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, the hard-right chairman of the Judiciary Committee, to be their next speaker, but quickly postponed a floor vote to elect him as scores of their members refused to commit to backing him.
By a vote of 124 to 81, Mr. Jordan defeated Representative Austin Scott of Georgia, a mainstream conservative and an ally of the ousted former Speaker Kevin McCarthy who had decided just hours earlier to seek the nomination. Mr. Scott had effectively put himself forward as a protest candidate against Mr. Jordan, the co-founder of the ultraconservative House Freedom Caucus and a favorite of former President Donald J. Trump’s.
But while Mr. Jordan won the contest, his quest for the speakership still faced serious challenges. A second secret-ballot vote revealed that a sizable chunk of Republicans did not intend to support him on the floor, where he needs 217 votes to win the gavel. It was a continuation of the bitter party infighting that has broken out in recent days, paralyzing the House.
After a week of turmoil and disarray, Republicans sent their members home for the weekend late Friday afternoon with no resolution and no sense of when the feuding might end. Mr. Jordan hoped to flip enough members for a vote on the House floor on Tuesday, but with G.O.P. lawmakers seemingly unable to reach consensus, it was not clear whether he could succeed.
“I think it’s a very difficult math equation for him to overcome,” said Representative Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida. “He deserves the opportunity to try to see if he can get that math better. The math is not good for him right now.”
After Mr. Jordan won the nomination, Republicans held another vote to gauge how many in their ranks were willing to vote for him on the floor. The results were discouraging; 152 said they would, while 55 said they would oppose him. It underscored the deep divisions among Republicans and how far they have strayed from congressional tradition, which normally dictates that once an internal party contest ends, members rally behind the victor.
Mr. Jordan’s nomination — and the swift repudiation of him by some of his colleagues — came a little over a week after a faction of his supporters forced out Mr. McCarthy and then refused to back the party’s initial chosen successor for the post, Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who abruptly withdrew on Thursday.
Representative Thomas Massie of Kentucky, a supporter of Mr. Jordan, said the delay in taking Mr. Jordan’s election to the House floor would ultimately benefit the Ohio Republican. He said it would give the Ohio Republican’s detractors time to go home to their districts and hear from base voters who are loyal to Mr. Trump and would urge support for Mr. Jordan.
“The difference between McCarthy’s election in January on the floor and this election is that it was popular to vote against McCarthy with the base in January. It is popular to vote for Jim Jordan with the base,” Mr. Massie said, adding: “Jim Jordan has some work to do. But he’s got several days to do that, to bring people on board, to talk with them about their concerns.”
Still, there were deep reservations about Mr. Jordan inside the Republican conference. Should he succeed in drawing a majority on the House floor, he would be second in line to the presidency, capping a remarkable rise for a rabble-rousing Republican popular with the party’s far-right base. He is a co-leader of the impeachment inquiry against President Biden and played a key role in helping plan Mr. Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election results in Congress on Jan. 6, 2021. His combative style and distaste for compromise has tormented past G.O.P. speakers.
Representative Ann Wagner of Missouri called Mr. Jordan’s candidacy a “nonstarter.” Representative Don Bacon of Nebraska, who represents a district won by Mr. Biden, said lawmakers were worried about caving to the whims of the hard-right members who had forced Mr. McCarthy from the speakership and then refused to back Mr. Scalise.
“The fact is: If you reward bad behavior, you’re going to get more of it,” Mr. Bacon said.
Mr. Scalise had surpassed Mr. Jordan during an internal party contest on Wednesday by just 14 votes. But rather than consolidating his narrow base of backers, Mr. Scalise almost immediately began hemorrhaging supporters, as lawmakers from several factions said they did not intend to fall into line behind him. He pulled out of the race about 30 hours later.
Mr. Jordan and his supporters hoped to avoid a similar fate, and Mr. Scott quickly indicated that he planned to back him, but it was not clear whether enough other Republicans would follow suit.
It was evident immediately that Mr. Jordan’s candidacy would get no help from Democrats, who view him as a loyal foot soldier for Mr. Trump who helped instigate the attack on the Capitol.
“At every single turn, Jim Jordan has prioritized politics, power, fear, division, hate over the American people,” said Representative Katherine M. Clark of Massachusetts, the Democratic whip. “Every Republican who casts their vote for him is siding with an insurrectionist against our democracy.”
Some members of both parties, foreseeing a fight that could drag on for weeks, were also discussing how they might give Representative Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina — the temporary speaker whose role is primarily to hold an election for a speaker — more power to carry out the chamber’s work until the conflict could be resolved.
Mr. McHenry demurred on questions about his elevation, and said he was working to get Mr. Jordan seated.
“I worked for Leader Scalise to be speaker, and I’ll do the same work for Chairman Jordan,” Mr. McHenry said.
But Democrats urged Republicans to abandon Mr. Jordan and their tortured efforts to choose a leader and form a coalition government with them.
“Republicans continue to triple down on the chaos, the dysfunction and the extremism that has been visited upon the American people as a result of the House Republican civil war,” said Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York and the minority leader. “Traditional Republicans can break away from the extremism, partner with Democrats on an enlightened bipartisan path forward, so we can end the recklessness and get back to doing the business of the American people.”
Reporting was contributed by Annie Karni, Catie Edmondson, Karoun Demirjian and Robert Jimison.