In a surprise move, House Republicans named Rep. Jim Jordan, an Urbana Republican who leads a group of ultraconservative House Republicans, to be the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee.
The committee is the leading investigatory committee in the House of Representatives, and long before he was named its top Republican, Jordan had crafted a reputation as an antagonist on the committee to everyone from Hillary Clinton to the IRS to those investigating President Donald Trump’s potential links with Russia.
With Democrats taking over the House, Jordan may ultimately be tasked as a chief defender of Trump as Democrats expect to investigate everything from his Russia ties to his tax returns to any potential push toward impeachment.
Jordan’s pick late Thursday as ranking member of Oversight came after he abruptly dropped a bid to lead the House Judiciary Committee after “it was made clear to him that leadership will be selecting someone else,” said Ian Fury, a Jordan spokesman.
As a candidate for that committee, he faced Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Cincinnati, and Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia. Collins was ultimately selected for the Judiciary position.
Jordan, a leader of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, had initially looked to face his best friend, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a fellow Freedom Caucus leader, for the ranking member position.
Meadows ultimately bowed out, and the steering committee, which selects chairs, asked Jordan if he wanted the job.
In 2014, when Republicans still held the majority, both Jordan and Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, sought to be chairman of the Oversight Committee in a four-man race. Ultimately, top House Republicans picked Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, for the spot.
His selection marks the end of what had been a disappointing few weeks for him. Two weeks ago, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., easily defeated Jordan by a vote of 159-to-43 to become minority leader in January. McCarthy, currently the GOP majority leader, will relinquish that title when Democrats take control of the House.