Rep. Jim Jordan said today that he intends to be a candidate for Speaker of the House. “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,” Jordan stated.
Jordan is, indeed, the “change” candidate among the Republicans. Rep, Kevin McCarthy, supported by outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan, is part of the current leadership. So is Rep. Steve Scalise, who is reportedly considering a bid. They are number two and three, respectively, behind Ryan in the current set-up.
Jordan, by contrast, is a leader of the House Freedom Caucus, a force for a more conservative House.
I favor Jordan for Speaker. As I argued here, Jordan is an outsider who has been willing to fight the leadership in defense of conservative policy and principles. He’s also a charismatic figure. As such Jordan could energize the base. He’s a bona fide “drain the swamp” candidate. Fairly or not, McCarthy and Scalise are perceived as having one foot in the swamp.
In addition to political considerations and perceptions, I prefer Jordan for substantive reasons. McCarthy and Scalise are good men, but Jordan would very likely lead the House in a more consistently conservative direction.
Jordan has come under attack for allegedly ignoring the sexual abuse of athletes by a team doctor when he was an assistant Ohio State wrestling coach. The allegations strike me as politically motivated and probably not meritorious. However, we’ll be hearing even more about them now that Jordan has announced his intention to become Speaker.