Jordan wins Oversight leading role for House GOP in surprise move

Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsHouse passes bill expressing support for NATO Cohen will not answer questions about ongoing probes involving Trump, GOP lawmakers say Overnight Health Care: Trump vows to veto bills expanding abortion rights | Abortion foes march into divided Washington | Medicaid work requirements approved in Arizona MORE (R-N.C.) abruptly stepped aside on Thursday to allow his House Freedom Caucus ally, Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanHouse passes bill expressing support for NATO Cohen will not answer questions about ongoing probes involving Trump, GOP lawmakers say McCarthy, allies retaliate against Freedom Caucus leader 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 John TrumpCoast Guard chief: 'Unacceptable' that service members must rely on food pantries, donations amid shutdown Dem lawmaker apologizes after saying it's never been legal in US to force people to work for free Grassley to hold drug pricing hearing 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 ScaliseElise Stefanik seeks to tackle GOP’s women ‘crisis’ ahead of 2020 Democrats will push to retake vote on funding government after chaos on the floor Pelosi pulls State of the Union surprise on Trump 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 CollinsTop Judiciary Republican sees potential for bipartisan agreement on cyber issues Steve King faces new storm over remarks about white supremacy Republicans question progress on probe of DOJ, FBI actions during 2016 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.