House Republicans nix Jordan's bid for speaker

Plus, a look inside the inner workings of the conservative education movement


The saga of Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) quest for the speakership has finally ended. Following a secret vote held among House Republicans, Jordan was shelved as their nominee — and reportedly by a significant margin. GOP members will now start from scratch on Monday.

“Let’s work out who that individual is,” Jordan said following the vote. “It’s time to unite.”

Republican Majority Leader Steve Scalise will not attempt to resume the nomination, as he briefly was a candidate last week. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), the third highest-ranking Republican in Congress, has announced he will run to be speaker. Rep. Kevin Hern (R-OK) is also reportedly going to seek the nomination. 

When asked if the Republican conference was “broken,” former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), whose ousting triggered this meltdown, confirmed the obvious: “We’re in a bad place right now, yes,” he told reporters on Capitol Hill. 

In turn, the White House responded to the chaos in a statement: “While Joe Biden fights to advance bipartisan legislation that will protect our national security interests - including in Israel and Ukraine - provide humanitarian assistance for innocent civilians in Gaza, deliver critical border funding, compete with China, and grow our economy, House Republicans are somehow still fighting with each other,” White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said. 

New reporting by the Colorado Times Recorder provides a startling portrait of the conservative movement’s efforts to take over school boards and disrupt efforts to create equitable environments for marginalized students.

The paper acquired reams of Discord server chat logs from the Colorado Springs-based group Advocates for D20 Kids. The Moms for Liberty-type group has been active in opposing so-called “Critical Race Theory” from schools, LGBTQ inclusivity and banning books they deem too “woke” for children in Colorado’s 20th school district. The server’s members include two school board members, multiple District 20 staff members, the wife of a right-wing education activist, Moms for Liberty legionnaires and multiple Colorado school board candidates. 

Discussions in the chat server feature hysterical concerns about everything from Japanese anime to signs in schools that include inclusive imagery.  

One member in particular, Derrick Wilburn, a long-time conservative activist running for school board, is especially active in the chats. 

In one post, Wilburn suggests that members oppose gay-straight alliance clubs in their school district: “These flyers discussing gender and/or sexuality have no place in our schools and certainly should not be placed in hallways for all to see and read. Many of our children have expressed strong feelings of unease over such materials being displayed, thus their sense of ‘belonging’ is being threatened,” Wilburn writes. 

“As a result, the schools are creating comfort for some students at the expense of others. We believe the current club policies and lack of boundaries regarding club postings are not fostering a culture of belonging for all students; in actuality, the environment in some schools is quite the opposite.”

In another post, Wilburn — who is endorsed by high-ranking far-right politicians like Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) — agrees with another member when they call gender-affirming care “death cult” and other LGBTQ-friendly policies “child abuse.”

“We’re all devout Christian conservatives … [and] stand in complete agreement with you on the topic of LBGT grooming & the dangers it presents.”

School board elections across the country will be held on Nov. 7, and, as Heartland Signal has revealed, there are “education reformists” and “parent’s rights” activists in other states seeking to enact many of the same anti-LGBTQ policies and book bannings Wilburn and others support. The broader right-wing networks at hand are most certainly still on the offensive, and these Discord chats demonstrate the feverish commitment these groups have to roll back efforts to create safe public schools for all. 

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Jamie Larson