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Jordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker

Jordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker
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Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanConservatives fume over format of upcoming Rosenstein interview Nellie Ohr exercises spousal privilege in meeting with House panels Meadows calls on Rosenstein to resign 'immediately' MORE (R-Ohio) is taking his Speaker’s bid to the campaign trail this weekend, fundraising for a pair of potentially vulnerable House Republicans more closely aligned with leadership than with his own conservative House Freedom Caucus.

The Chicago-area banquet with Illinois Reps. Peter Roskam Peter James RoskamDems target small cluster of states in battle for House Kavanaugh becomes new flashpoint in midterms defined by anger Election Countdown: Big fundraising numbers in fight for Senate | Haley resigns in surprise move | Says she will back Trump in 2020 | Sanders hitting midterm trail | Collins becomes top Dem target | Takeaways from Indiana Senate debate MORE and Randy HultgrenRandall (Randy) Mark HultgrenCards Against Humanity offering midterm expansion pack in effort to back Dems in key races Jordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker Doubts shadow GOP push for tax cuts 2.0 MORE will give Jordan a chance to showcase why he should lead House Republicans next year as he boosts members outside of his typical conservative circle — and works to save the chamber's GOP majority.

While Jordan may not be an asset in every district, the conservative firebrand can be deployed on the campaign trail to rev up the GOP base in a midterm election where Democrats are expected to have a strong enthusiasm advantage over Republicans.

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Jordan has already swung through Texas this week to assist Chip Roy, who is competing for an open seat in the Lone Star state, and Yvette Herrell, who is vying for an open seat in New Mexico. Another trip to Texas is also in the works.

Jordan plans to make additional campaign stops in Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Idaho and Iowa in the coming weeks.

And he has already helped fundraise for fellow Freedom Caucus member and vulnerable Rep. Dave Brat of Virginia.

“So yeah, we’re traveling,” Jordan told The Hill.

Whoever replaces retiring Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanElection Countdown: Takeaways from heated Florida governor's debate | DNC chief pushes back on 'blue wave' talk | Manchin faces progressive backlash | Trump heads to Houston rally | Obama in Las Vegas | Signs of huge midterm turnout Will the Federal Reserve make a mistake by shifting to inflation? Sanders: Democrats ‘absolutely’ have chance to win back rural America  MORE (R-Wis.) will need to prove that they have the fundraising chops and national profile to carry the GOP conference — and Jordan is facing stiff competition from Ryan’s top two lieutenants on Capitol Hill.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyGOP lawmaker proposes legislative maneuver to fund Trump's border wall Maxine Waters gets company in new GOP line of attack The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — GOP faces ‘green wave’ in final stretch to the midterms MORE (R-Calif.), Ryan’s heir apparent, and Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseScalise: Trump was 'clearly ribbing' Gianforte with remarks on body-slamming reporter GOP candidate says he chose bad 'metaphor' with face-stomping comments Democrats must end mob rule MORE (R-La.), who is waiting in the wings should McCarthy stumble, have both been crisscrossing the country and raising boatloads of cash to help protect potentially endangered members.

But Jordan’s allies argue that he would have no problem raking in similar levels of cash if he were in a high-level leadership position.

Still, they also acknowledge that the Ohio Republican is facing long odds.

“It’s an uphill battle,” Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), a Freedom Caucus member, told The Hill. “But I think it’s gotten better since he first announced. There are more people that think, ‘Oh, maybe this is possible.’ ”

Jordan, a scrappy Freedom Caucus co-founder, has been crafting his own strategy to secure the Speaker’s gavel and wasting no time since he formally jumped into the race this July.

He worked the phones over the August recess and has been talking directly to lawmakers in the Capitol this month, trying to convince Republicans why he should be their next leader.

His pitch has centered on how he would overhaul the chamber rules and run the House differently if he were in charge, a message designed to appeal to the wide range of lawmakers who are frustrated with how much power is concentrated at the top.

“I talk to members all the time,” Jordan said of his Speaker bid. “I talk about how I think this place should operate differently, the entire process.”

One of the ideas Jordan has floated is allowing the members of a committee to choose their own chairman instead of leaving it up to the Steering Committee, which gives outsize power to the Speaker and his top lieutenant in awarding gavels.

The concept could be especially attractive next year, when there will be nine GOP vacancies at the top of congressional panels.

The idea could also be appealing to the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, which unveiled a package of rule reforms that they want the next Speaker to adopt.

Rep. Tom ReedThomas (Tom) W. ReedDemocrats see hypocrisy in GOP attacks on ‘liberal mob’ GOP on timing of Haley’s announcement: 'Unusual' and 'odd' Moderate Blue Dogs endorse House rules overhaul to break gridlock MORE (R-N.Y.), co-chairman of the caucus, said he has talked to Jordan about his vision for Speaker and gave the Ohio Republican the group’s proposal to overhaul the lower chamber.

Reed is keeping his powder dry in the race, but he said his conversation with Jordan was “positive.”

“I’m looking for rule reform,” Reed told The Hill. “As I told him, and others: I’m open to any candidate who is willing to not just kick the can down the road. Let’s do these rule reforms. We do them up front. And we get it done.”

Jordan believes he has been gaining some ground over the August recess. He pointed to Rep. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersTrump 'baby blimp' flies in Washington state for Pence visit The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — FBI widens scope of Kavanaugh investigation | Nightmare vote for red-state Dems | Five weeks to midterms The Hill's Morning Report — Kavanaugh ordeal thrusts FBI into new political jam MORE (Wash.), the No. 4 House Republican, who told a local paper that she is open to supporting Jordan for Speaker, though she isn’t committing to any candidate until after November.

Jordan’s allies took it as an encouraging sign that not all members of the GOP leadership team are on the same page.

And a number of lawmakers, including some outside the Freedom Caucus, told The Hill they have received phone calls from constituents urging them to support Jordan, as well as others backing McCarthy.

Jordan is supported by a number of powerful conservative groups, which have launched an aggressive grass-roots campaign to boost his candidacy and put outside pressure on lawmakers to back it. FreedomWorks also organized a rally for Jordan on the Capitol lawn for later this month.

The groups argue that Jordan, who has become one of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to fundraise for 3 Republicans running for open seats: report Trump to nominate former Monsanto exec to top Interior position White House aides hadn’t heard of Trump's new tax cut: report MORE’s fiercest defenders on Capitol Hill and has been leading the GOP charge against perceived bias in the Justice Department, is a tough fighter who is willing to stand up for conservative principles — an exciting prospect to the GOP base.

“The way you’re going to win elections is firing up your base. That’s the model,” said Adam Brandon, president of FreedomWorks, who has reached out to members and encouraged them to back Jordan.

Despite the grass-roots support, Jordan is still facing tough political headwinds.

There is an open investigation into whether he and other wrestling coaches at Ohio State University decades ago ignored reports of sexual abuse by a team doctor.  

So far, Jordan has largely weathered the storm, but some Republican strategists worry his public push to lead the conference could turn off independent and female voters in the midterms, especially in the wake of the “Me Too” movement.

“I like Jim Jordan, but it’s not a good time for him to run for Speaker,” said Liz Mair, a GOP strategist. “Really not helpful to the party as a whole.”

And as a bomb-throwing member of the Freedom Caucus, Jordan has burned some bridges in the Republican conference, which is why many GOP lawmakers don’t believe the conservative ideologue can amass the 218 votes needed to become Speaker on the House floor.

They say there are too many rank-and-file Republicans who still hold a grudge against Jordan for forcing out then-Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerHouston Chronicle endorses Beto O'Rourke in Texas Senate race The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — House postpones Rosenstein meeting | Trump hits Dems over Medicare for all | Hurricane Michael nears landfall Kavanaugh becomes new flashpoint in midterms defined by anger MORE, a fellow Ohio Republican, in 2015 and tormenting his successor, Ryan.

“Negligible,” said Rep. Bill FloresWilliam (Bill) Hose FloresTexas lawmaker: GOP facing funding disadvantage The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Trump, Pence fan out to protect the Rust Belt Jordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker MORE (R-Texas) when pressed by The Hill on Jordan’s chances for becoming Speaker.

“I don’t see a path,” agreed Rep. Frank LoBiondoFrank Alo LoBiondoHouse GOP group cuts financial support for Coffman, Bishop Jordan hits campaign trail amid bid for Speaker On The Money: Broad coalition unites against Trump tariffs | Senate confirms new IRS chief | Median household income rose for third straight year in 2017 | Jamie Dimon's brief battle with Trump MORE (R-N.J.).