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Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a founding member of the Freedom Caucus and staunchly pro-Trump Republican, is reportedly “considering” abandoning his House seat in 2022 for a chance at outgoing Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s seat in the Senate.
Word of his potential run emerged Monday, the same day that Portman announced that he won’t be running for reelection in 2022.
“The overwhelming consensus among Ohio Republicans is that a Trump-aligned candidate would be best positioned to win a competitive Senate primary, and no potential candidate has a better claim to Mr. Trump’s voters in the state than Representative Jim Jordan, who was Mr. Trump’s chief defender during his first impeachment trial and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom during the former president’s final days in office,” The New York Times reported.
Portman’s own allies agreed.
“Jim is well positioned if in fact he’s ready to take that leap; I’m not sure there’s anybody that would beat him,” longtime Portman ally Ken Blackwell said.
“In Ohio, it’s going to be who has the track record to show that their agenda respects the newly realigned party base.”
Which is to say that it’ll be based on who’s shown the most loyalty to former President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” agenda.
Questioned Tuesday evening on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” about the prospect of a potential run, Jordan said he hasn’t decided anything yet.
“We haven’t decided anything, but right now I’m focusing on bills like the one Democrats are introducing,” the Ohio lawmaker maintained.
In an update published Thursday morning, Fox News reported that a source close to Jordan had since confirmed that he’s genuinely “considering it.”
According to one political operative who spoke with The Washington Post, Portman’s plan to leave is allegedly motivated in part by the fact that he’s “a George Bush, Mitt Romney Republican” trying to survive in a state that’s moved beyond the RINO’ism of the past.
This contrasts sharply with the firebrand conservatism of Jordan, who last year, for the 13th consecutive time in a row, was recognized by the American Conservative Union Foundation as the most conservative member of Congress. This would serve him well in a traditionally red state like Ohio where former President Donald Trump won by nearly 500,000 votes in the 2020 presidential election.
However, Jordan has reportedly also shown interest in “taking on Gov. Mike DeWine in the 2022 Republican primary,” and so there’s no guarantee he’ll take the leap and seek out Portman’s seat.
But even he decides to not pursue Portman’s seat, there’ll likely be plenty of other high-profile Republicans seeking it.
“Among those competing for Trump’s base could be Rep. Warren Davidson and state Republican Chair Jane Timken. Meanwhile, Republicans staking out more moderate ground might include Rep. Steve Stivers, state Sen. Matt Dolan and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted,” the Post reported.
“Former congressman and 2018 U.S. Senate nominee Jim Renacci and Rep. Michael R. Turner have also been mentioned, as has Rep. Brad Wenstrup. In other words, almost every Republican with a pulse.”
Indeed, according to the Times, Portman’s announcement triggered “a political land rush, with top strategists in the state receiving a flood of phone calls from potential candidates testing their viability.”
“One consultant said he had received calls from five would-be candidates by midday,” the outlet reported.
Some have also thrown out the idea of NBA star LeBron James, a Democrat, running for the seat:
With Rob Portman NOT running for US Senate in Ohio in 2022, I’ve seen tweets noting LeBron @KingJames should run. Reply w/ a gif on how you feel about this idea.
— Tom Weber (@webertom1) January 25, 2021
Of course, none of these would-be candidates, including LeBron, would likely stand a chance in hell if Jordan joined the race.
“Most observers believe Trump and his political organization in Ohio would rally behind Jordan if he becomes a candidate. Jordan would also likely have considerable national funding because of his years of appearances on cable TV shows and talk radio,” Newsmax White House correspondent John Gizzi notes.
Jordan is a close ally of Trump. So much so he and fellow Republican Rep. Devin Nunes were awarded coveted Presidential Medals of Freedom by Trump prior to his departure.
“Today, President Donald J. Trump will award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Jim Jordan,” the Trump White House announced on Jan. 11th.
“This prestigious award is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, which is awarded by the President to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
No matter who joins the race, what’s certain is that the seat will remain Republican.
“Over the past decade, the Buckeye State has been steadily becoming ‘red.’ Along with Donald Trump twice carrying the state’s electoral votes with ease, Ohio’s statewide officials are all Republicans — the sole exception being the state’s senior Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio,” according to Gizzi.
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