COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH/AP) — As the search for a House speaker continues, one name continues to be near the top of the list, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.
On Wednesday, House Republicans said they would nominate Majority Leader Steve Scalise, but it was uncertain whether he would be able to achieve enough votes to win the position, as enough members of his party would have to support him over the Democrats’ choice of Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries of New York.
A block of Republicans reportedly remain uncommitted, with some still preferring Jordan after Kevin McCarthy of California was recently removed after nine months on the job. The decision to put forward Scalise’s name came via secret ballot, with lawmakers saying he received 113 votes to Jordan’s 99.
From Urbana, Jordan has represented Ohio’s Fourth District since 2007. Since the latest round of redistricting, his area includes all of 10 counties and parts of three others, including a section of Delaware that contains several northern Columbus suburbs.
Jordan was a founder of the House Freedom Caucus and as leader of the judiciary committee, he has played a key role in Republicans’ impeachment inquiry of President Joe Biden. Jordan was one of Donald Trump’s closest allies when Trump was president. Trump, who endorsed Jordan for speaker, awarded Jordan the Presidential Medal of Freedom five days after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
“I feel like I can unite the conservative voters across the country and reach out to the moderates in our conference as well,” Jordan told reporters recently.
He is leading the push against the “weaponization” of the Justice Department, which has brought several cases against Trump. Jordan was one of Trump’s chief defenders on the Judiciary Committee during Trump’s two impeachments.
Perhaps most significantly, Jordan worked closely with Trump and White House aides in the weeks and days before the Capitol riot, strategizing about how Congress could help Trump overturn his loss to Biden. Jordan also refused to comply with subpoenas from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack as lawmakers tried to gather more information about his role.
Jordan once coached wrestling at Ohio State, and former wrestlers said in 2018 that he turned a blind eye to complaints that a now-dead team doctor, Richard Strauss, was sexually abusing the athletes. Jordan has denied those allegations.
McCarthy’s chaotic election as speaker in January took 15 punishing rounds and left him in a weakened position that contributed to his unprecedented downfall. Jordan, a key McCarthy advocate since Republicans regained the majority, had tried to help McCarthy’s ultimately doomed effort to remain speaker.
Three previous representatives from Ohio have served as speakers: J. Warren Keifer of Springfield (1881-83), Nicolas Longworth of Cincinnati (1927-29) and John Boehner of Butler County (2013-15).