Updated 8:07 p.m. | Rep. Jim Jordan, the Ohio Republican and a high-profile supporter of President Donald Trump, told Roll Call on Thursday that he would not seek the top GOP slot on the House Judiciary Committee.
“It’s been made clear to me, talking with leadership, that I’m not going to get that job, so I’m not going to do it,” he said. “It would be a waste of my time; a waste of their time, so I’m not going to pursue that. What they decide with ranking member on Judiciary is up to Leader McCarthy,” a reference to Kevin McCarthy of California, the outgoing majority leader who will be minority leader in the next congress.
Jordan ran against McCarthy for the post of minority leader earlier this month, but he came up short.
While McCarthy certainly has influence over ranking member slots, it is ultimately a decision of the GOP Steering Committee.
One Republican source familiar with with the process pushed back on the notion it was all up to McCarthy. “In fact, ranking members are selected by the steering committee, which is a microcosm of the conference. If Mr. Jordan did not win, that falls squarely on him and no one else,” the source said.
Jordan, who sits on both the Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform panels, was seen as a potential foil for Democrats as they are expected to pursue various investigations against the Trump administration come January. He said early Thursday he would not seek the top Republican spot on Oversight, either, explaining that he did not want to cross a high-ranking friend on that committee, North Carolina’s Mark Meadows.
“No, I’m not going to compete against my best friend, Mark Meadows. He’ll do an outstanding job,” Jordan said. The two men are two of the top leaders of the House Freedom Caucus. Jordan was the founding chairman and Meadows is the current chairman of the far-right group of Republicans.
But as the Steering Committee was gathered to consider the committee leadership assignments later Thursday, Meadows dropped out of the running for the top GOP Oversight post to let his friend run.
The Steering Committee then selected Jordan to be the ranking member on Oversight, a recommendation that has to be ratified by the full Republican Conference. That is likely to occur early next week.
Before he spoke of his decision to withdraw from the Judiciary race, Jordan could be seen making the rounds at an Oversight and Government Reform hearing on federal disaster response. He spent time talking to fellow Republicans Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Jody Hice of Georgia.