House Freedom Caucus co-founder Jim Jordan formally announced his campaign for speaker of the House Thursday.
The Daily Caller News Foundation confirmed the announcement with two sources with direct knowledge of Jordan’s plans.
Jordan has received an onslaught of support from conservative groups and his colleagues in the House Freedom Caucus to run for speaker.
Jordan’s team did not respond for an immediate request for comment, but the congressman gave a formal statement after TheDCNF was the first to report his announcement.
“Should the American people entrust us with the majority again in the 116th Congress, I plan to run for Speaker of the House to bring real change to the House of Representatives,” Jordan said in a statement Thursday. “President Trump has taken bold action on behalf of the American people. Congress has not held up its end of the deal, but we can change that. It’s time to do what we said.”
Thursday’s announcement would be the first time Jordan directly said whether or not he is running. The congressman had repeatedly said leading up to the announcement that there was no speaker’s race, but he was entertaining the idea of throwing his name in the hat.
“There is no speaker’s race,” Jordan told TheDCNF in April. “If and when there is, my colleagues have urged me to consider it, and I’m open to that. The focus is not on who the speaker is; the focus is on what we do. The key is: We have got to get back to what the American people sent us here to do.”
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan announced he will not seek re-election in November, validating months of speculation around Washington the speaker was ready to hang up his hat after serving nearly two decades in Congress. Ryan made the decision to spend more time with his family so as not to be a “weekend” father, he told reporters.
Two of the top ranking House Republicans–House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana–are also angling for the position.
McCarthy failed to garner the 218 required votes to become speaker in 2015, but his particularly close relationship with President Donald Trump is expected to give him a potential upper hand over Scalise in the coming months. Scalise wouldn’t rule out a potential bid for Ryan’s job but is also adamant he would not run against McCarthy, who he considers a “good friend,” he said in March.
Both representatives are raising millions for the party and for midterm candidates, which give them solid footing as Republicans look to choose their next leader.
McCarthy said Wednesday that he wants to be the next speaker, urging conservatives to back him.
Jordan is currently in the midst of scandal while he was serving as an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University, which could hurt his bid for the speakership.
Jordan, a former Division-1 wrestler, was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State from 1986 to 1994. During and before his time at the university, a team doctor, Richard Strauss, allegedly had questionable interactions with teammates and students. Seven former Ohio State University wrestlers have come out against Jordan in recent weeks for reportedly failing to intervene with Strauss, who they claim was molesting them and students.