114 Conservative Leaders Urge Jordan to Run for Speaker

'It's time to clean house,' 'drain the swamp,' and push President Donald Trump's full agenda through Congress and into law

by Kathryn Blackhurst | Updated 22 May 2018 at 6:23 AM

A group of 144 conservative leaders signed a letter Monday urging Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) to run for speaker of the House because “it’s time to clean house” with a “real race” to “drain the swamp.”

The signers said they support Jordan because “the present House Republican leadership has proven that it’s part of ‘the swamp,'” not the solution to it.

“Consequently, a vote to promote any member of today’s House GOP leadership is a vote for the swamp. It’s time to clean house,” the letter continued. “There must be a real race for speaker of the House. Now. No backroom deals. A real race, starting this spring, to make every incumbent and candidate commit on the record, as a campaign issue, whether they’ll vote to save the swamp or drain it.”

The conservative leaders urged Jordan to “declare yourself as a candidate for speaker at once … We write to you on behalf of millions of Americans who want Congress to drain the swamp.”

The conservatives’ letter is the latest development in a story that began in April, when Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) announced he would not run for re-election. Names of possible replacements instantly were being floated in the media and Congress.

Although House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-Calif.) name generated significant buzz following Ryan’s announcement, the Californian didn’t please many top conservatives. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise’s (R-La.) name was also floated as a possibility to replace Ryan.

Jordan is very much a dark horse prospect, but the conservative leadership’s letter represents a step forward for the Ohioan, especially if the GOP keeps its majority after the 2018 midterm elections in November. He is a member of the House Committee on the Judiciary and the House on Oversight and Government Reform.

Jordan also served as the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus before Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) succeeded him. He is a frequent guest on Fox News, is a popular speaker on the Republican circuit, and is highly regarded for candor and commitment to conservative principles.

Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund (TPPCF) Chairman Jenny Beth Martin, former Attorney General Ed Meese, and Media Research Center (MRC) founder and President L. Brent Bozell were among the letter's 114 signatories.

"It is time for a change, and I think the voters voted for change less than two years ago" during the 2016 elections, she told LifeZette. "They just want to see the change enacted."

Martin said that one of the main reasons she believes so many conservative leaders signed onto this letter is that they "want to help" Trump "enact his agenda. We've seen the games for years. We're tired — as tired of the games as he is. And we know that Jim Jordan will work to get past the games and work to enact his agenda into law — enact the president's agenda into law."

She noted that some of the letter's signatories are "Republican more than conservative" and insisted that Jordan appeals to a broad range of Republicans and conservatives.

"They know who [Jordan] is, and they trust who he is. They want him not only to lead the House of Representatives, but to be a leader within the Republican Party to help get the president's agenda passed into law," Martin said.

As Martin traveled throughout the country and interacted with supporters of Trump and TPPCF, she continually was asked "a very consistent question ... Will this person actually get President Trump's agenda passed into law? Are they going to support the president? Or are they going to be part of those who are working to undermine the presidency?"

Related: Retiring Ryan Rejects Call for Legislation Protecting Special Counsel

"Our grass-roots supporters and the Tea Party Patriots have wanted Jim Jordan to be speaker for years. They know that he is a man who will do what he said he would do," Martin said. "He is a reliable, consistent conservative vote, and he also knows that there are times when he may have to take a vote that we may not always like."

She added, "But he makes sure that he explains to us the thinking and the strategy behind it. He doesn't pretend that those kind of votes are something that they are not. So he's very honest in that regard. That's why the grass roots like him so much. And then he will fight for the values that we share as conservatives."

Neither McCarthy nor Ryan have the kind of conservative support that Jordan enjoys because they are "part of that same line of thinking" evidenced in the swamp's status quo, Martin said.

Although Jordan hasn't officially launched a bid for the speakership, he told CNN's "New Day" in April that he was "encouraged by colleagues to look at that, and I will seriously do that."

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.

(photo credit, homepage and article images: Sarah Westwood & Jim Jordan [1], [2], CC BY-SA 2.0, by Gage Skidmore)

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