Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, a conservative who co-founded the House Freedom Caucus, announced his intent to run for House Speaker if Republicans protect their majority in this fall’s midterm election – setting up a potential fight to succeed Paul Ryan in the next session of Congress.
In a Dear Colleague letter to fellow Republicans, the six-term lawmaker complains about the broken legislative process – as he calls it, “governing by crisis” – and the GOP majority’s failure to deliver more wins for President Trump.
“Should the American people entrust us with the majority again in the 116th Congress, our clear mandate will be to continue working with President Trump to keep the promises we made, to stand up for the rule of law and the Constitution, and to put the interests of the people before those of the swamp,” Jordan writes. “I want to help keep us on this track and shape bold, visionary policy that will improve the lives of the people we have the honor to represent.”
Jordan did not signal whether he’d run for minority leader if Republicans lose the House majority, but if the GOP wins, Jordan is expected to face Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is asking Republicans to support his own bid for Speaker.
In his letter, Jordan called on House Republicans to tackle several issues before the November 6 elections, naming the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act as his top legislative priority. He also implored lawmakers to rally around welfare reform with work requirements, border security and immigration reform, making the 2017 tax cuts permanent, ending federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and enacting spending cuts to bring the annual deficit below $1 trillion.
“If we were to do just those basic things between now and November, voters would be inspired to give us a chance to run this place again,” Jordan predicted.
Shortly after Jordan launched his dark horse bid, Rep. Mark Meadows, the current chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, proclaimed his allegiance to Jordan.
"Jim is a fighter, a leader, and a true conservative in every way. He never backs down from a fight when his values are on the line," Meadows, R-N.C., stated. "If the people entrust Republicans with the House this November, Jim Jordan would be a Speaker who would fight for real changes in Congress that would allow the people’s House to truly work for Main Street Americans. I fully support his candidacy.”
A staunch Trump ally, Jordan joined Meadows to introduce articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday evening over conservatives' showdown with the Department of Justice as lawmakers seek documents related to the Russia and Hillary Clinton email investigations.
Jordan also has recently faced allegations that as an assistant wrestling coach at The Ohio State University in the late 1980s he failed to address alleged sexual abuse by a team physician.
In April, the university announced an investigation into recently surfaced allegations against the former wrestling team physician, Dr. Richard Strauss, who served between the mid-1970s and late 1990s. Jordan was an assistant coach on the team from 1986 to 1994. Strauss died in 2005.
Several OSU wrestlers have now gone public with their stories, detailing alleged sexual molestation by Strauss during medical appointments. One man said he directly reported the abuse to Jordan, though the congressman has consistently denied witnessing any cases of abuse or receiving any reports of misconduct from the student wrestlers.
Jordan met with investigators on July 16, where he continued to deny he had any knowledge of the alleged abuse.
House Republicans are expected to hold their conference leadership election during the week of November 12, one week after the congressional midterms.