WASHINGTON, DC — Over 100 conservative leaders are sending an open letter to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), urging him to run for Speaker of the House.
Conventional wisdom says that Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is heavily favored to be the establishment Republican choice to lead the chamber if the GOP holds on in November’s midterm elections. But many conservatives want a choice, and 114 leaders signed a letter asking for Jim Jordan to be the alternative.
“The present House Republican leadership has proven that it’s part of ‘the Swamp.’ Consequently, a vote to promote any member of today’s House GOP leadership is a vote for the Swamp,” the letter begins. “It’s time to Clean House.”
“There must be a real race for Speaker of the House,” the letter continues. “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.”
“America needs you to declare yourself as a candidate for Speaker at once,” the conservative leaders say to Jordan. “We write to you on behalf of millions of Americans who want Congress to drain the Swamp.”
The letter lays out the polling data on how many Americans are frustrated with both parties and makes the case for why a non-establishment Speaker candidate is needed to motivate the Republican base and intrigue moderate voters to believe that change is available.
These conservative leaders continue:
You must take the lead. You have demonstrated over your years on Capitol Hill an unwavering commitment to our constitutional liberties and conservative principles of free market economics, budgetary discipline, traditional values and a strong national defense. You have worked to drain the Swamp, not fill it further. And we all know what the current House Republican leadership really thinks of you and those who share your beliefs. You have established a record of responsible leadership of the kind our times demand.
“The present House Republican leadership has failed,” the letter concludes. “It is part of the problem. You are the solution. This is your moment. We pray you will seize it, knowing that if you do, we will do everything we can to help you succeed.”
The first signatory is Edwin Meese III, who was the counselor to the president for President Reagan’s first term and the 75th U.S. attorney general during Reagan’s second term.
The letter continues with some leaders who focus on the full range of conservative policy and political issues, including:
- Ginni Thomas, Liberty Consulting
- Brent Bozell, Media Research Center
- David Bozell, ForAmerica
- Ken Cuccinelli, Senate Conservatives Fund
- Colin Hanna, Let Freedom Ring
- Susan Carleson, American Civil Rights Union
- Stephanie Coleman, Liberty Action Network
The letter also has leaders from economic conservative organizations, including Jenny Beth Martin from Tea Party Patriots and Adam Brandon from FreedomWorks.
Various social conservative leaders likewise signed it, including Kelly Shackelford from First Liberty Institute, Morton Blackwell from the Weyrich Lunch, and Sandy Rios from the American Family Association.
National security conservatives also supported the letter, including Frank Gaffney from the Center for Security Policy and Elaine Donnelly from the Center for Military Readiness.
These leaders and their organizations know that a widespread display of support could potentially catapult Jordan into the Speaker’s office, with some hoping as a fallback that it could, at a minimum, lead to a power-sharing arrangement that gives constitutional conservatives a seat at the table.
The election for Speaker will occur in January 2019 when the new Congress is sworn in after the November midterm election. However, there are rumors in D.C. that McCarthy’s supporters are trying to force Ryan out before the election and install McCarthy as the new Speaker well before November.
The GOP base organizations pushing Jordan for Speaker are seeking to make November a referendum on the direction of the House under Republican leadership, and believe GOP voters will back a Trumpian agenda on issues like immigration and wasteful government spending, which could tilt the race in Jordan’s favor, or at least force the new GOP leadership to adopt the parts of President Trump’s agenda that conservatives argue those leaders are currently undermining.