Representative Jim Jordan acknowledged today he intends to run for Speaker of the House should the GOP retain a majority in Congress. If the GOP were wise, they’d back him quickly and get the word out that he’s their choice to replace retiring Paul Ryan. It could save the midterm elections for him.
The announcement came while answering questions after Jordan introduced articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Rep. Jim Jordan introduces impeachment articles against Rod Rosenstein: Read them here | cleveland.com
Jordan and several of his House Freedom Caucus colleagues introduced the impeachment articles on Wednesday. They claim that Rosenstein intentionally withheld embarrassing documents and information from Congress, failed to comply with congressional subpoenas, and otherwise abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
“The DOJ is keeping information from Congress,” said a statement from Jordan. “Enough is enough. It’s time to hold Mr. Rosenstein accountable for blocking Congress’ constitutional oversight role.”
The conservative has been a thorn in the side of establishment Republicans. As an active member and former leader of the House Freedom Caucus, Jordan has spearheaded attempts to block Republican legislation that leaned too far to the left. Many if not most Republicans in Congress would normally balk at the notion of making him the most powerful man on Capitol Hill.
Considering the stakes, they should rethink their position on Jordan. In order to maintain control of Congress, the GOP needs to unify their entire base behind their candidates. Ordinarily this means putting up milquetoast moderates like Ryan, but this midterm election is anything but ordinary. The backlash against Congress is coming from Democrats, of course, but the loudest minority against them right now comes from the right who views their moves since gaining power as weak and too liberal. Their successes in the first year with a Republican President were minimal and 2018 has seen mostly moderate or left-leaning legislation coming from the Hill.
Jordan represents an embrace of more conservative ideas. While he hasn’t been the most outspoken proponent of the President, he has backed most aspects of his agenda even more so than establishment representatives. The sticking point has been in the details.
It is unlikely the GOP will recognize the opportunity Jordan is giving them. Old battle scars run deep and their knee-jerk reactions will likely prevent them from seeing the reality that backing Jordan wholeheartedly and preemptively is the best chance they have at keeping their majority.
Jordan is one of the most powerful conservatives in Congress; he co-founded the House Freedom Caucus, a faction of about 30 hard-line Republicans who frequently clash with the House GOP leadership. Jordan’s bid presents a direct challenge to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the presumed front-runner to be the next House speaker.
The current speaker, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, is retiring at the end of this Congress. On Thursday, Ryan endorsed McCarthy, though he noted he would not have a vote in the leadership contest.