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Jim Jordan announces candidacy for House Speaker, initiating GOP race to succeed McCarthy

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In a significant development on Capitol Hill, Republican Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio declared his candidacy for the role of Speaker of the House on Wednesday, marking the commencement of the GOP’s pursuit to replace ousted Representative Kevin McCarthy.

Jordan, who currently chairs the influential House Judiciary Committee, addressed reporters and expressed his optimism regarding the robust support he has received from fellow House Republicans. He emphasized the pressing need for the next House speaker to unite the deeply divided GOP conference.

“We’ve received numerous requests urging me to run because people believe we can make a difference,” Jordan stated. “We’ll see if that materializes, but I am confident in my abilities.”

Formally seeking support from his GOP colleagues, Jordan penned a letter on Wednesday where he commended the accomplishments of House Republicans during this Congress but stressed the need for further action.

“At this pivotal juncture in our nation’s history, it is imperative for our Republican conference to come together and fulfill our promises to the American people,” Jordan wrote. “The challenges we confront are formidable, but not insurmountable. We can concentrate on changes that enhance the nation and unite us in presenting viable solutions. Regardless of our endeavors, we must act cohesively as a conference. I respectfully request your backing for Speaker of the House of Representatives.”

Jordan highlighted his legislative efforts on immigration, overseeing the Biden administration, and his consistent advocacy for reductions in government spending throughout his congressional career.

“The Republican majority must continue addressing issues that resonate with the American people,” he asserted.

A well-known conservative figure, Jordan expressed his openness to pursuing the Speaker’s position shortly after McCarthy conveyed to House Republicans that he would not seek to regain his leadership position. When asked about his intentions, Jordan responded, “That’s a decision for the conference.” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and Representative Kevin Hern, Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, have also been mentioned as potential contenders in the Speaker’s race.

Jim Jordan, a Republican representative from Ohio since 2007, presently leads the Judiciary Committee and its Weaponization of the Federal Government Select Subcommittee, established following the Republican takeover of the House in January. As the chair of the Judiciary panel, he plays a leading role in the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Biden, announced by McCarthy last month.

A founding member and leader of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative lawmakers, Jordan has, in the past, clashed with GOP leadership. Former House Speaker John Boehner once referred to him as a “legislative terrorist.” In 2018, Jordan launched a bid for House speaker after then-Speaker Paul Ryan declined to seek re-election, but he was not expected to secure majority Republican support.

Subsequently, Democrats won control of the House in the 2018 midterm elections, and McCarthy was elected minority leader by the GOP conference.

Although Jordan and fellow conservatives often had disagreements with Boehner, he later became an ally of McCarthy. He voiced support for McCarthy’s Speaker candidacy in January and defended the embattled California Republican before the vote to remove him on Tuesday.

Jordan emerged as a potential alternative candidate for Speaker at the outset of the new Congress in January, gaining some votes from conservative lawmakers who opposed McCarthy during multiple rounds of voting. The level of support Jordan can garner from the Republican conference remains uncertain, especially from the House’s moderate faction. Given the GOP’s narrow majority, opposition from just five Republicans during the formal House floor vote could jeopardize Jordan’s candidacy.

Nonetheless, some conservatives have already thrown their support behind Jordan, including Representatives Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Mike Carey of Ohio, and Jim Banks of Indiana, who is vying for a Senate seat.

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