As the smoke clears, Republicans prepare for leadership fight

Just hours after Democrats took control of the House, Rep. Jim Jordan announced his intention to challenge for House Republican leader.

With the retirement of Speaker Paul Ryan, his deputy Kevin McCarthy was widely seen as the heir apparent. But there's been a conservative storm brewing for months, as many on the right don't trust McCarthy to advance a conservative agenda, and others would prefer a conservative alternative to McCarthy.

The Hill:

"I plan to run for minority leader," Jordan told Hill.TV's Buck Sexton on "Rising." 

"In 2016, the American people elected Republicans to come here and change this town. I think the president is doing just that, but I don't think they see the same intensity from folks in Congress, folks in the House of Representatives," he continued. 

"Have we replaced ObamaCare yet? Have we secured the border yet? Have we reformed welfare yet? No," he said. 

Jordan went on to slam current GOP leadership in the House, saying they were not willing to engage in debate with Democrats. 

"Now that we're in the minority, that's about all what we can do is debate, but fight hard in the debate for the principals, for the things that we know the American people sent us here to do in 2016. Show them that we deserve to be back in power in 2020," he said. 

Jordan's comments come hours after he won his re-election bid in Ohio's 4th congressional district against Democrat Janet Garrett. 

Earlier this year, Jordan, the co-founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, announced his bid to replace Speaker Paul Ryan after the Wisconsin Republican announced his retirement. 

Jordan has been one of President Trump's staunchest allies on Capitol Hill, frequently slamming the Justice Department and special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election meddling, which Trump has called a "witch hunt." 

There are two things working in Jordan's favor. Donald Trump is already blaming Paul Ryan for the defeat, making McCarthy a marked man. Second, the new batch of GOP congressmen coming to Washington will be more conservative and more pro-Trump. In fact, some currernt members who may have been lukewarm about supporting the president's agenda will have learned a valuable lesson from the mid terms. Not all Trump-backed candidates won their races, but a sizable number did, leaving the definite impression that it's better for one's political future to support the president.

Will Trump publicly back Jordan? As the minority party, unity for Republicans is crucial. Democrats marching in lockstep were able to block several of Trump's goals, including repeal of Obamacare and building the wall. The GOP will be unified on some issues, most notably, on opposing impeachment of the president. But Republicans need a leader who can not only persuade, but also crack the whip when necessary. The combative Jordan would probably be better at that task, and would be a stronger voice in support of the president's programs as well.

I think Trump will do away with precedent and back Jordan to the hilt. There is probably a strong desire among most remaining GOP House members for change at the top, and Jordan would certainly supply that. 

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