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Sean Hannity email to Jim Jordan opponents raises questions

Sean Hannity’s Fox News show is reportedly involving itself in trying to get Republicans to elect a new House speaker, including by asking moderate GOP lawmakers why they aren’t supporting Ohio congressman Jim Jordan for the role.

Axios reporter Juliegrace Brufke revealed an email from a member of Hannity’s production team named “Stephanie” sent to some House Republicans seeking a response as to why they aren’t backing Jordan for House speaker. Jordan was elected by the GOP as its candidate to replace rep. Kevin McCarthy for the position on Friday, with previously elected candidate House Majority Speaker Steve Scalise dropping out of the race as it became clear he wouldn’t get enough votes on the House floor.

However, just like his predecessor, it appears Jordan doesn’t have enough support from his own party to achieve a 217-vote House majority. A follow-up secret ballot on Friday showed a 152-55 split in support for Jordan as House speaker.

Jordan is now attempting to garner the backing of almost all House Republicans to clinch the nomination for the position, ahead of an expected vote on Tuesday. Brufke posted on X, formerly Twitter, that moderate Republicans are “growing increasingly irritated” by allies of Jordan trying to “pressure” them into voting for the MAGA congressman, who has been endorsed by former president Donald Trump.

One House member said that Fox News’ Hannity show has “gotten involved in the efforts” to elect the speaker and end the deadlock in the lower chamber by sending emails asking them why they aren’t supporting Jordan.

The email has led to other social media users asking why Hannity and Fox News are allegedly trying to influence the outcome of the House vote.

Fox News has been contacted for comment via email.

“Sources tell Hannity that rep xxxx is not supporting Rep Jim Jordan for Speaker. Can you please let me know if this is accurate?” the purported email from Stephanie reads.

“And, if true, Hannity would like to know why during a war breaking out between Israel and Hamas, with the war in Ukraine, with the wide open borders, with a budget that’s unfinished why would Rep. xxxx be against Jim Jordan for speaker? Please let us know when Rep xxx plans on opening the People’s House so work can be done. Lastly, are there any conditions Rep xxxx will work with Democrats on the process of electing a new speaker?”

Washington Post Live anchor Leigh Ann Caldwell said she is also aware of the email, posting on X: “One member said Hannity reached out directly with this same message—that the war in Israel is a reason to get behind Jordan. Member told me it’s not going to persuade them.”

Questions are now being raised as to why Fox News and Hannity are apparently trying to influence how lawmakers vote for House speaker, a role that is second in line for the presidency after the vice president.

Brett Meiselas, co-founder of the progressive group Meidas Touch, posted on X while sharing the alleged email: “So is it normal for a major political party to use a cable ‘news’ host to extort party members into voting for their Speaker pick?”

Sherrilyn Ifill, a lawyer and the former director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, wrote: “A cable news station. Why are they given press credentials for the White House? They are not a news organization. They are a political/pr entity.”

Democratic strategist Tim Hogan added: “Is this a campaign finance violation regarding every member they called? Could it even be crime for Hannity if he failed to register as a lobbyist?”

Former Illinois GOP congressman Adam Kinzinger said the alleged email was proof of “bully tactics” from Jordan’s allies, adding: “But why is Hannity actively taking a side @FoxNews?”

John Dean, a former White House counsel to Republican president Richard Nixon, also criticized the conservative news network over the apparent email to GOP lawmakers.

“Fox News should be required to register as a lobbyist for Jim Jordan! The First Amendment does not exempt lobbyists, and this is blatant, conspicuously blatant,” Dean wrote.

Hannity, and other Fox News presenters, are vocal Trump supporters, with Hannity previously appearing on stage with the former president at campaign rallies.

In April, Fox settled with Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million after the company sued the network for defamation for repeatedly amplifying false claims that Dominion machines were used to rig ballots in favor of Joe Biden over Trump in the 2020 election.

The House of Representatives will vote to choose a new speaker at midday on Tuesday, October 17, according to House Democratic Whip Katherine Clark.

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