Hard-right Republican Rep. Jim Jordan said Thursday that he's running to become House speaker next year, a long-shot bid underscoring conservatives' frustration that party leaders haven't aggressively pushed President Donald Trump's agenda, the AP reports. Jordan, 54, is a founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which has roughly 30 members among the chamber's current 236 Republicans. House Leader Kevin McCarthy, the second-ranking leader now, is viewed as the favorite to succeed retiring Speaker Paul Ryan. The No. 3 GOP leader, Rep. Steve Scalise, who is close to many conservatives, also is seen as potential contender. Seeming to cloud Jordan's race is a chapter from his coaching past at Ohio State that has resurfaced.
The six-term congressman was interviewed recently by lawyers investigating allegations a now-dead team doctor sexually abused male athletes decades ago. Jordan has denied claims from some of the wrestlers that he knew of the abuse. His candidacy appears to be aimed at rallying fellow conservatives and giving them leverage when the party picks its leadership team for the next Congress, perhaps influencing the speakership race or positioning Jordan for another top job. Jordan has been a leading actor in the GOP's assault on special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and that effort's ties to Trump's campaign. In recent days, he's been among a handful of conservatives seeking to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing Mueller's work.
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