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Jim Jordan inside game

Jim Jordan ramps up his inside game

In October, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan suffered the most humiliating defeat of his political career. Following three grueling floor votes, Jordan was forced to withdraw from consideration as speaker after a group of moderate Republicans refused to back him.

But during the last few months, the 60-year-old Jordan has drastically stepped up his political operation, boosting dozens of members of the House Republican Conference — even those who sunk his bid to be speaker. These kinds of moves could help Jordan — among the most high-profile conservatives in Congress — build bridges across different House factions in the wake of his embarrassing defeat. And it will come in handy no matter what happens to the razor-thin GOP majority in November.

Most notably, Jordan held a tele-town hall late last year for Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas), one of his most vocal opponents during the speaker race.

“I’m going to help anybody and everybody so that we can hopefully keep our majority,” Jordan told us.

This week, Jordan was in Pennsylvania to help boost Dave McCormick’s Senate bid. Jordan told us in an interview that he’s only been home in Ohio 10 days over the last nine weeks. Jordan has also been holding public events for lawmakers in their districts, a way to help them and himself at the same time.

Jordan has hit the road for dozens of members. Since his speaker bid blew up, Jordan has stumped for GOP Reps. Russell Fry (S.C.), Jeff Van Drew (N.J.), Tom McClintock (Calif.), Kevin Kiley (Calif.), Laurel Lee (Fla.), Greg Steube (Fla.), Cory Mills (Fla.), Michael Waltz (Fla.), Brian Babin (Texas), Michael Cloud (Texas), Randy Weber (Texas), Nathaniel Moran (Texas), Keith Self (Texas), Ben Cline (Va.), Alex Mooney (W.Va.), Barry Moore (Ala.), John Duarte (Calif.), Lance Gooden (Texas), August Pfluger (Texas), Jodey Arrington (Texas), Gus Bilirakis (Fla.), Gary Palmer (Ala.), Garret Graves (La.) and Speaker Mike Johnson.

And he’s using the Judiciary Committee to hold high-profile hearings in competitive districts. Jordan is heading to Philadelphia next week to hold a hearing on crime. He’s spearheaded other field hearings on crime in New York City and Chicago.

After that, Jordan is heading to Tucson, Ariz., for a border security hearing and then onto Grand Forks, N.D., for a northern border security hearing with Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-N.D.). Armstrong is running for governor.

Jordan is one of the House’s top fundraisers, with nearly $10 million on hand. He routinely pulls in more than $1 million per quarter, thanks largely to direct mail and online fundraising. The Ohio Republican can do this because he has a national following, one that’s only gotten bigger during the Donald Trump era.

In just the first three months of 2024, Jordan’s reelection campaign pulled in nearly $2.3 million, according to FEC records. More than $1.4 million of that total came from unitemized contributions of $200 or less, a stunning amount.

Yet this type of operation costs a lot of money to run as well. During that same three-month period, Jordan’s campaign spent more than $1.7 million. The bulk of that went to cover fundraising expenses, although Jordan was also able to contribute tens of thousands of dollars to colleagues and conservative organizations.

In recent weeks, Jordan has taken steps to show that he’s interested in more than just burning down the House. For example, Jordan opposed funding for Ukraine, but he voted for the rule to allow the legislation to be debated. Jordan also voted against the FISA reauthorization bill, but again, he supported the rule to allow debate on legislation he strongly opposed. This allowed Jordan to get some amendment votes that he wanted as well.

And Jordan has stayed loyal to Johnson, saying he doesn’t want to see an attempt by conservative hardliners to oust the Louisiana Republican.

This all leads us to the obvious question: What does Jordan want? If House Republicans lose the majority, could Jordan make a bid for Republican leader, playing on the drama in the conference? He’s already the most powerful GOP committee chair in recent memory, commanding a gigantic budget and afforded tremendous leeway to investigate anything he wants.

Jordan also has turned down chances to run statewide, meaning his sights are fixed on the House.

Jordan told us he isn’t running for speaker and he is “supporting Mike Johnson.” Here’s Jordan on Johnson:

This will hold Jordan and Johnson over until Election Day. But depending on what happens then, the Ohio Republican or the GOP conference may take a different view on who should be running things.

— Mica Soellner and Jake Sherman

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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.