The race for Speaker of the House is now underway after Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was removed from the position on Tuesday. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a prominent conservative voice and current House Judiciary Chairman, declared that he is throwing his hat into the ring.
Jordan made the announcement on Wednesday.
House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, announced he is running for speaker — the first GOP lawmaker to put his hat in the ring for what’s sure to be a competitive race.
The House of Representatives is without an elected leader after former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was ousted by a small group of rebels within his own party.
Jordan said Wednesday morning that he would step up to run for the job. House Republicans plan to hold a candidate forum next Tuesday and an election the following day.
During an impromptu conference with members of the press, he was asked whether he tends to run for the position. He responded, “Yes.” Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) is also expected to run for speaker.
The House is now in an unprecedented predicament. McCarthy’s ouster marked the first time in U.S. history that a House Speaker has been removed. The move came after Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) worked behind the scenes with Democrats to get enough votes to support his motion to vacate. Eight other Republican lawmakers also voted in favor of the motion.
The plan worked. Now, House Republicans are looking to replace McCarthy.
Jordan has carved out a reputation for standing firm on his conservative principles. Many on the right have criticized McCarthy for taking a more pragmatic approach and compromising with Democrats. A significant chunk of Republican voters viewed this as weakness, which is why he no longer holds the gavel.
While Jordan has enjoyed a level of popularity for his investigations into the Biden administration, some question whether he can curry enough favor with the moderate wing of the GOP, which is often at odds with the conservative faction.
The upcoming candidate forum, which will be held next Tuesday, will be an opportunity for Jordan and his opponents to present their case for being the top lawmaker in the lower chamber. The election will take place the day after the forum and will be closely watched by Washington and members of the chattering class.
Many view the upcoming change of the guard as a critical moment for the Republican Party, one which will greatly influence its future trajectory. It represents a philosophical divide on the right, with some advocating for the pursuit of conservative policies and others arguing in favor of bipartisanship and crossing the aisle to get things done.
Some have criticized the effort to remove McCarthy, indicating that the internal infighting is distracting the party from conducting important business on Capitol Hill. Others have suggested that this conflict could wind up costing the GOP the House in the upcoming 2024 election. Regardless of the outcome, it is clear that this moment in history will be bigger than the individual who ends up occupying the speaker’s chair. It could very well determine how American politics will look going forward.