Watch a previous NBC4 report on the U.S. House speaker race in the video player above.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Republicans chose Ohio’s U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan as their nominee for House speaker, putting the job within reach of the staunch Trump ally.
Jordan, of Urbana, who represents Ohio’s 4th Congressional District north of Columbus — which encompasses Mansfield and Marion — announced on Friday he planned to re-enter the race for U.S. Speaker of the House, one day after Majority Leader Steve Scalise dropped his bid for the top job.
Scalise ended his bid to become House speaker late Thursday after hardline holdouts refused to back the party’s nominee, throwing the GOP majority into deeper chaos and leaving the chamber still unable to function.
Scalise told GOP colleagues at a closed-door evening meeting of his decision and pointedly declined to announce backing for anyone else, including his chief rival, Jordan, the far-right Judiciary Committee chairman backed by Donald Trump who had already told colleagues he no longer would seek the job.
Because of the party’s razor-thin majority, just five GOP detractors can block Jordan in a House floor vote, and a handful of moderate Republicans have already said they won’t cast their vote for Jordan. They include Reps. Ann Wagner of Missouri, Austin Scott of Georgia, and Don Bacon of Nebraska.
Many Republicans are now looking to Jordan because he was the only challenger to Scalise, losing just two days ago in a narrow, internal 113-99 vote.
From Urbana, Jordan has represented Ohio’s 4th 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.
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.