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Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Congressman Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), founder of the House Freedom Caucus, has just sent a letter to his colleagues announcing that he is officially running to replace Paul Ryan as Speaker of the House, Axios has confirmed. The Daily Caller's Robert Donachie was the first to report the news.

The state of play: Several leaders of the conservative movement called on Jordan to announce his candidacy in May, arguing that House Republican leadership "has utterly failed" and "proven that it’s part of the Swamp," and that Jordan is the solution.

"Should the American people entrust us with the majority again in the 116th Congress, I plan to run for Speaker of the House to bring real change to the House of Representatives."
— Statement from Jordan announcing his run

Be smart:

  • Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is the favorite among President Trump and Ryan, who endorsed him in April.
  • House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has also been floated as a potential replacement for Ryan.

The backdrop: Jordan has been under criticism in recent weeks for reports that he ignored claims of sexual abuse from a doctor at Ohio State University while he was an assistant wrestling coach. Trump has backed Jordan's denial, saying earlier this month, saying he's "one of the most outstanding people I've met since I've been in Washington."

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.