WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan publicly announced his intentions of running for Speaker of the House come November. Earlier this year, the congressman has said he had been considering a bid, but in a “Dear Colleague” letter addressed to fellow conservative lawmakers, he made his decision clear.
“I plan to run for Speaker of the House to bring real change to Congress,” Jordan said in the latter half of his letter.
The first half explains how he plans to set up that bid, explaining to his colleagues the need to stay committed to President Donald Trump’s vision. He outlines six goals — repealing Obamacare, adding an able-bodied requirement to welfare benefits, immigration reform, making the 2017 tax cuts permanent, ending funding for Planned Parenthood and cutting spending “to ensure that we never see $1 trillion deficits.”
“For us to have a chance to make these changes, though, we must keep control of the House. I am committed to doing everything I can to help make that happen. That goal must be everyone’s top priority,” Jordan’s letter states. “After that, we can focus on filling the vacancy resulting from Speaker Ryan’s retirement from Congress.”
Local Republican leaders have pledged their support for Jordan’s bid. The congressman visits the Lima region often and has found strong support for his ultra-conservative views in the majority of the 4th Congressional District.
When Allen County Republican Chairman Keith Cheney was asked if county Republicans plan on aiding Jordan’s race for Speaker, he said: “Absolutely without hesitation. We’ll be supporting Jim’s quest to become Speaker of the House.”
“I look to be a part of a meeting in the very near future to find out what we can do to help him and a portion of that will be to reach to to some of the other congressmen who we’ve known throughout the years, talk to them and promote Jim,” Cheney said. ”I know personally that the Congressman has a very good feel for all 50 states and what we need to do to move this country forward.”
Allen County Commissioner Cory Noonan echoed the sentiment.
“I’m excited. I had the pleasure to work with Congressman Jordan for six years in the district office. One of his mottoes that sticks with me is ‘do what you say you’re going to do.’ That continues to be evident in his office and how he serves,” Noonan said. “The pillars that he stands on is what this country needs. What he stands for and who he is will bode well for the country.”
According to Ohio Northern University political science professor Robert Alexander, Republicans in Congress may need some convincing to appoint Jordan to the position. Jordan has been a controversial figure in the House of Representatives due to his unwillingness to compromise on what many members of Congress in both parties consider extreme viewpoints.
“I think Jordan faces some pretty significant obstacles. One of them is popularity within the Republican party in Congress,” Alexander said.
Jordan’s tough talk, which creates fans among his electorate, doesn’t translate well to popularity on the Hill nor does it create legislative action. As Alexander explained, compromise is needed to push forward policy recommendations. Jordan’s letter asks Republicans to “follow through,” “stop caving,” “[do] what we said we would do” and “hold firm.” In the political world, sticking to such language doesn’t write bills, Alexander said.
“The Freedom Caucus doesn’t have as much appeal to moderate Republicans in Congress. He hasn’t always played ball with the leadership, and they may see that as not helpful to the party’s larger standing,” Alexander said. “When you talk tough, it’s hard to pull back from that. Tough talk doesn’t invite unity. It doesn’t invite compromise, and Jordan hasn’t made his way as being unprincipled.”
Another large aspect of the speaker position — fundraising — may also be more difficult for Jordan than other speaker hopefuls, like California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, who has been making campaign rounds for Republicans across the country since current Speaker Paul Ryan announced his retirement.
When Jordan’s district neighbor, U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, was asked about Jordan’s bid, he didn’t take a position. As his statement explained, Latta has been busy crafting legislature.
“I haven’t focused on the Speaker’s race for next Congress, because I have been doing my part to re-elect Republican members and elect new Republican members so that we can maintain our majority and pass fiscally conservative legislation that will keep our economy moving,” Latta said in a statement.
Latta has introduced 30 legislative actions since the beginning of 2017. In the same time, Jordan has introduced two.
“I’ve been focused on getting legislation passed to help the people I represent like the Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act, which will expand access to rural broadband, and my bill to help reform the broken over-the-counter drug approval system. That legislation will help lower costs and improve innovation for over-the-counter products — a big win for consumers,” Latta said.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.