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Jordan wins Oversight leading role for House GOP in surprise move

Rep. Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsThe Hill's Morning Report - Dems to go-it-alone on infrastructure as bipartisan plan falters Trump, allies pressured DOJ to back election claims, documents show Trump endorsement shakes up GOP Senate primary in NC MORE (R-N.C.) abruptly stepped aside on Thursday to allow his House Freedom Caucus ally, Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanHillicon Valley: Biden, Putin agree to begin work on addressing cybersecurity concerns | Senate panel unanimously advances key Biden cyber nominees | Rick Scott threatens to delay national security nominees until Biden visits border Trump, allies pressured DOJ to back election claims, documents show The tale of the last bipartisan unicorns MORE (R-Ohio), to run uncontested for the ranking member role on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee — a position that he won.

Jordan, who won the race with no other competitors to challenge him, is expected to be a fierce defender of President TrumpDonald TrumpChinese apps could face subpoenas, bans under Biden executive order: report Kim says North Korea needs to be 'prepared' for 'confrontation' with US Ex-Colorado GOP chair accused of stealing more than 0K from pro-Trump PAC MORE when Democrats take control of the panel next Congress. They are expected to become involved in a series of investigations into the Trump administration.

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House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHillicon Valley: Senate unanimously confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar | Scrutiny mounts on Microsoft's surveillance technology | Senators unveil bill to crack down on cyber criminals Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision FCC votes to advance proposed ban on Chinese telecom equipment MORE (R-La.) and two GOP lawmakers on the steering committee confirmed that Jordan won.

"The steering committee unanimously selected Jim Jordan to be our next ranking member. And I think he's going to do a great job and thought that it was a good move by the committee," Scalise told The Hill. "You never know what good things will happen along the way in these interviews."

The move is a stunning turn of events amid buzz that Meadows was vying uncontested for the role in the lead-up to the steering committee vote. 

Meadows arrived to the steering committee carrying a binder, which likely contained a layout of his vision for the panel. And part way into the meeting, Jordan entered the closed-door meeting.

Jordan then confirmed to reporters that Meadows had pulled out of the race and that he had declared his interest. 

"I just talked to them about the OGR ranking member position. The committee is discussing what they are going to do," Jordan told reporters. "I just went in and told them I am interested in the position."

When asked if Meadows was running, Jordan replied: "No, he is not."

Meadows at the time, however, declined to say that he was not running.

Jordan, the senior-most member on the Oversight committee, earlier in the day dropped out of the race for the House Judiciary Committee amid concerns he would not make it through the steering committee.

But by running in this particular race for Oversight, Jordan didn’t face the stiff competition he would’ve had if he chose to run for Judiciary, in which Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsLoeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run Georgia agriculture commissioner launches Senate campaign against Warnock Poll shows tight GOP primary for Georgia governor MORE (R-Ga.) — who won the GOP leadership role there — already appeared to be the clear favorite among GOP leadership and the steering committee.

Leading up to the steering committee vote on Oversight, it appeared Meadows was a shoo-in.

Members of the House Freedom Caucus — who have earned a reputation for being a thorn in leadership’s side — have faced an uphill battle in securing chairmanships. The group of hard-line conservatives has long been pushing for better committee assignments and top positions on panels.