The House Freedom Caucus unanimously re-elected Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Monday evening to serve as its chairman for 2016.
Members of the conservative caucus cast their votes in the basement of Tortilla Coast, the Capitol Hill restaurant where the group often gathers. Founded in January, some of the 39-member HFC said asking Jordan to remain chairman for a second year was an easy decision.
“He’s done a fantastic job representing our values and trying to get Congress to do what America needs,” Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said after the vote.
In the first several months, the HFC has distinguished itself as the contrarian contingent in the House Republican Conference, primarily concerned with voting down procedural rules and holding out support for must-pass bills to include their members’ ideological concerns.
Its pursuit of conservative principles culminated in Speaker John A. Boehner’s resignation and Paul D. Ryan’s ascent to speaker.
The next year is important for the HFC, particularly as it watches to see whether the Wisconsin Republican delivers on his pledge to preside over a more collaborative, inclusive House. Will the group be successful in getting leadership to promote its priorities, or will HFC members be forced to pursue another leadership coup?
Jordan will play an important role in determining how the HFC moves ahead in 2016, as Congress conducts its business within the atmospherics of a presidential election.
On Monday, Reps. Raúl R. Labrador, R-Idaho, and Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., stepped down from the nine-member HFC Board to allow the election of two new board members by secret ballot: Reps. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., and Steve Pearce, R-N.M.
“Tonight we reaffirmed our strong support for Rep. Jordan’s leadership by electing him to another term as Chairman and a Board Member of the House Freedom Caucus. We also applaud the elections of Reps. Pearce and Duncan to serve as Board Members,” the HFC said in a release. “We are confident they will lead us in giving a voice to countless Americans who feel that Washington does not represent them, by supporting open, accountable and limited government, the Constitution and the rule of law, and policies that promote the liberty, safety and prosperity of all Americans.”
The group also recognized Rep. Cynthia M. Lummis, R-Wyo., the lone woman in the HFC, who announced last week she will not seek re-election next year.
“There was a standing ovation for Cynthia Lummis and everything she’s done for us,” Brooks said.
Even with Jordan’s re-election, there are several ambitious conservatives who could one day run to succeed to the group’s first chairman:
- Labrador, who ran unsuccessfully for majority leader in 2014 in the shakeup after Virginia Republican Eric Cantor lost his primary to Dave Brat.
- Brooks, who is second perhaps only to non-HFC member Steve King of Iowa as the House’s most vocal opponent to immigration overhaul legislation.
- Reps. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina and Justin Amash of Michigan are sought-after spokesmen for the HFC.
- Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado could want a seat at the table again, once he is no longer the freshman class president.
- Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, who catapulted out of obscurity when he fired conservatives’ first shot against the “establishment” by filing a motion to strip Boehner of his gavel, which eventually led to Boehner’s resignation last month.
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