Home Republicans are scrambling to seek out their Nancy Pelosi.
Quickly to be within the minority, Republicans are presently leaderless. Home Speaker Paul Ryan introduced his retirement in April, and Republicans are searching for a minority chief — the place Pelosi presently holds.
Majority Chief Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) introduced his bid to fill the spot shortly after Ryan’s announcement, however one different determine — Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the founding member of the conservative Freedom Caucus — has made it clear he would really like the job. In contrast to the speaker, which is voted on by your entire Home physique, the minority chief shall be elected by the occasion convention in January.
The 2 lawmakers symbolize a cut up within the Republican Occasion. Whereas each are ardent defenders of President Donald Trump, McCarthy, because the quantity two Home Republican is the pure successor to Ryan. Jordan is the outsider — a conservative ideologue, who solely three years in the past stood in the best way of McCarthy turning into Home speaker.
Jordan’s pitch is that he’s anti-establishment.
“The president was elected in 2016 to return right here and alter this place,” Jordan stated, persevering with to slam the present management. “I don’t suppose Congress has proven the identical sort of depth to reform and alter the best way this city does enterprise.”
With Democrats accountable for the Home, Republicans have a selection: They may both have to seek out center floor with their colleagues throughout the aisle or settle for that nothing will occur till they regain the bulk. It comes all the way down to who wins this management race.
Kevin McCarthy is the pure successor to the minority chief place — however that is perhaps his downfall
McCarthy, the present No. 2 Home Republican, is a longtime title in Washington.
He’s held a seat within the Home since 2007. Earlier than that, he served because the minority chief of the California State Meeting — a place he was elected to as a freshman state lawmaker. His ambitions to steer Home Republicans has been clear since 2015, when he ran to switch the embattled retiring Speaker John Boehner. However his marketing campaign was short-lived; rumors of an affair with a colleague, overtly bragging about how Benghazi investigations tanked Hillary Clinton’s ballot numbers, and an archconservative revolt from the Home Freedom Caucus pushed McCarthy to step behind Paul Ryan as a substitute.
On the time a cohort of conservatives, then led by Jordan, discovered McCarthy too near Republican management and didn’t belief him to incorporate the hardline Republicans within the occasion’s legislative course of.
However the components that when deemed McCarthy’s management desires untenable have largely washed away. He’s each near management because the Majority Chief and a buddy of Trump’s, who reportedly calls him “my Kevin,” an alliance that can make it tougher (though not not possible) for Trump-loving Home conservatives to interrupt ranks with him.
In contrast to Ryan, McCarthy just isn’t somebody identified to steer a coverage debate, however on Capitol Hill, he’s well-liked and persuasive. He’s a powerful fundraiser, and as somebody who all the time stated Republicans would keep accountable for the Home in 2019, he managed to persuade his fellow Republicans that sticking with the occasion’s agenda was a successful technique — to his personal undoing, sarcastically.
As Democrats throughout the nation campaigned on the failures of the Republican agenda to flip the Home, there’s a critical query as as to if Republicans within the Home will need extra of the identical.
“If Home Republicans choose McCarthy to be minority chief within the 116th Congress, they’re basically saying the fault for his or her minority standing lies elsewhere; that they aren’t accountable,” James Wallner, a political scientist with the conservative suppose tank R Road, tweeted. “In any other case, why proceed with present management?”
Jim Jordan desires to make the occasion extra hardline
In the event you ask Jordan, Republicans’ downfall was that they weren’t conservative sufficient.
”Have we changed ObamaCare but? Have we secured the border but? Have we reformed welfare but? No we haven’t,” Jordan informed the Hill.
One of many founders of the Home Freedom Caucus, relying on who you ask, Jordan is both a conservative star or a ache in Republicans’ facet. His caucus has repeatedly stood in the best way of laws, from well being care to immigration, for not being conservative sufficient.
A five-term Congress member from Ohio, Jordan’s mission within the Home has been to push the Republican Occasion additional to the best — whether or not on social coverage round LGBTQ rights or reproductive rights, or on financial coverage. A former champion wrestler, Jordan got here below scrutiny earlier this yr after former Ohio State College wrestlers alleged he ignored the sexual abuse of athletes and college students by a former workforce physician throughout his tenure because the assistant coach of Ohio State’s wrestling workforce from 1986 to 1994.
The scandal, which has largely light within the information cycle, didn’t change Jordan’s management ambitions.
He’s not shy about theatrics. One of many Home’s most vocal FBI and Justice Division skeptics, Jordan is the sort of Republican who nonetheless desires to speak about investigating Hillary Clinton and likes to echo Trump in calling the Russia investigation a “witch hunt.” He’s been on the forefront of the conservative combat to oust Deputy Lawyer Basic Rod Rosenstein.
And in some methods, Jordan is extra within the combat than getting the precise coverage completed.
That is how he sees the function of the minority chief job: “Now that we’re within the minority, that’s about all we will do is debate, however combat arduous within the debate for the ideas, for the issues that we all know the American individuals despatched us right here to do in 2016. Present them that we should be again in energy in 2020,” Jordan stated.