Georgia Congressman Ferguson flipped support for House speaker, citing threats from Jordan allies

US Capitol

by Jill Nolin, Georgia Recorder [This article first appeared in the Georgia Recorder, republished with permission]

October 19, 2023

A Georgia GOP congressman who backed Ohio U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan for speaker in the first round of voting but not Wednesday has cited the pro-Jordan crowd’s bullying tactics and pressure campaign as the reason for flipping his vote – a vote he says was followed by death threats. 

U.S. Rep. Drew Ferguson, a Republican from The Rock in Upson County, issued the statement Thursday as news spread that Jordan would not seek a third vote for speaker at this time after losing support on the second ballot Wednesday.

Ferguson said that he had “genuine concerns about the threatening tactics and pressure campaigns Jordan and his allies were using to leverage members for their votes.” His comments mirror concerns expressed by others about the pressure campaign deployed to put the gavel in Jordan’s hand. 

Ferguson, who represents a district southwest of Atlanta, said he spoke to Jordan directly about his concerns and had planned to back the far-right Freedom Caucus co-founder again. But that changed.

“When the pressure campaigns and attacks on fellow members ramped up, it became clear to me that the House Republican Conference does not need a bully as the Speaker,” Ferguson said.

The former West Point mayor ultimately voted for Louisiana Republican and U.S. House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, who was nominated earlier for speaker but withdrew from the race last Thursday. The Georgia Republican, who has been in office since 2017, pointedly called Scalise “a principled conservative and unifying leader.” 

“Shortly after casting that vote, my family and I started receiving death-threats. That is simply unacceptable, unforgivable, and will never be tolerated,” Ferguson said. 

Georgia Recorder is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Georgia Recorder maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor John McCosh for questions: Follow Georgia Recorder on Facebook and Twitter.