Although most Republican congressmen do not think Rep. Jim Jordan can win enough votes to become next House speaker, his stock would rise if the GOP loses its majority in midterm elections and look for a combative foil to majority Democrat rule, The Hill reported on Wednesday.
Jordan's chances of becoming speaker to replace the retiring Paul Ryan are slim, because there are too many rank-and-file Republicans who hold a grudge against the former Freedom Caucus chairman for forcing out then-Speaker John Boehner, a fellow Ohio Republican, in 2015 and then tormenting Ryan.
But while the speaker position needs a majority of the entire House, the minority leader post only requires a simple majority of the Republican conference.
If the GOP does lose its majority in the midterms, the Freedom Caucus would likely hold a higher percentage of the power within the party, as Democrats would most probably defeat moderate Republicans.
"That might be the perfect job for Jim Jordan because of his fighting attitude and his fighting spirit; he doesn't back down," one RSC member told The Hill. "I think he would be a tremendous minority leader."
A senior GOP aide added, "You want a militant attack dog [like Jordan] as the minority leader. You want someone who will be on TV all day, ruthlessly attacking the Democrats. You want the minority leader to be a staunch defender of the president, because Democrats will be focusing on impeachment and you want someone who will defend against that."
While Ryan has endorsed his top deputy, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy as his successor, rank-and-file Republicans may look to shake up the party's leadership team if they lose their majority in the elections.
After Ryan announced last month he will retire this coming January, the 54-year-old Jordan expressed interest in running for speaker.
Several grass-roots conservative groups have begun campaigning on his behalf, even though they acknowledge it is an uphill battle for him to become speaker, according to Roll Call.
While most Republican congressmen are discussing their preference for speaker behind closed doors, the conservative groups are trying to give those outside Conggress a say in the speaker's race by having them lobby their representatives.
They hope this will not only thwart a McCarthy candidacy but inject enthusiasm among the conservative base for midterm elections if they know that Jordan has a chance to become speaker.
Jordan's "candidacy to lead the House GOP is refreshing and much needed," Andy Roth, vice president for government affairs at the outside conservative group Club for Growth, told The Hill.
"Jim Jordan is a proven conservative. One of his fundamental tenets for governing is that you should do what you promised voters you would do."
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