Oct 4, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Trump ally Jim Jordan launches bid for House speaker

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the pugnacious chair of the House Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday he is running for speaker of the House.

Why it matters: Jordan, one of former President Trump's most vocal defenders in Congress, is getting early support from some of the Republican hardliners who have given past GOP speakers hell.

Driving the news: Asked during a brief Capitol Hill scrum if he is running for speaker, Jordan replied: “Yes.”

  • Jordan said he had "a lot of people reaching out ... asking me to do it" and that "the text messages and phone calls I've got seem strong."
  • "We need to unite the conference, I think I can do that and my colleagues who reached out to me seem to think the same thing," Jordan said.

What they're saying: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who orchestrated the fall of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), said in a post on the social media site X on Tuesday night that "[m]y mentor Jim Jordan would be great!"

  • "I support Jim Jordan for Speaker," said Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), who played a similar role in the ouster of former Speaker John Boehner.
  • Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), the former chair of the conservative Republican Study Committee, also is throwing his support behind Jordan.

Yes, but: One moderate Republican, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Jordan, a co-founder of the right-wing Freedom Caucus, is a non-starter for them and roughly 15 to 20 other centrists: "He has a ceiling."

  • The lawmaker even suggested that if the GOP conference picks Jordan as its nominee, moderates could tank his candidacy during the House floor vote for speaker.
  • Asked whether he can get the moderate wing of the party to coalesce around his candidacy, Jordan said, "We'll see."

What we're watching: House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) has emerged as the other major contender for the job, Axios' Mike Allen reported.

  • Jordan said he spoke with Scalise before announcing his candidacy.
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