Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) will not run for Senate next year, leaving one of former President Donald Trump’s closest congressional allies on track to rise in the House and creating an opening for other Republicans in what could quickly become a crowded field seeking to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman.
Jordan would have likely been considered a frontrunner in the GOP primary had he run for Senate. But in a statement Thursday, a spokesperson for his campaign said he would stay in the House rather than launch a Senate bid. His decision was first reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Jordan’s decision has major implications for the race. As a prominent Trump ally and frequent guest on conservative news channels, Jordan would have been formidable in a Republican primary and could have kept other conservatives out of the race, though he was considered unlikely to entirely clear the field of contenders.
The remaining field of possible candidates is crowded and without an obvious frontrunner. Josh Mandel, the former state treasurer who lost the 2012 Senate race, is considering a bid and is expected to run. Jane Timken, the state GOP chair, is also considering running, and several members of the House delegation in the state are weighing their options.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and former Rep. Pat Tiberi both announced they would not run. But other statewide officials, including Secretary of State Frank LaRose, are potential candidates as well.
Republicans are favored to retain the seat in a state that has shifted rightward in the past decade: Trump carried it by 8 percentage points in November. But a crowded and potentially messy primary gives Democrats an opening they would not have had if Portman were running for a third term.
Jordan, who was first elected to Congress in 2006, was on the fringes of the House GOP conference for much of his tenure in the chamber, particularly given his fraught relationship with former House Speaker John Boehner, a fellow Ohioan. Jordan became more prominent in the Trump era, and was one of the founders and the first chair of the House Freedom Caucus, a hard-line group of conservatives who ultimately became close Trump allies after he won the presidency.
More recently, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has worked to unite the establishment and far-right wings of the conference, had elevated Jordan to be the top Republican on two committees from where he bolstered Trump against significant allegations of wrongdoing: the Oversight and Judiciary committees. Jordan became ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee in March 2020 — after the president’s first impeachment trial, during which Jordan acted as an unofficial member of his legal team, tasked with defending Trump in public — and would be in line to chair the committee in 2023 if Republicans regain control of the House in next year’s midterm elections.
But Jordan was also one of the most prominent propagators of false and misleading information about the 2020 presidential election, and was among the many House members who objected to the Electoral College results. Five days after the Capitol was ransacked by rioters seeking, unsuccessfully, to stop Congress from ratifying now-President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, Trump awarded Jordan the Medal of Freedom.
Jordan represents a duck-shaped, gerrymandered district that snakes from the shores of Lake Erie in northeast Ohio, south and west to near the border with Indiana. Trump won about 67 percent of the vote there last November.
View original post