Former GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger (Ill.) predicted on Wednesday that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) will become the next Speaker of the House, a spot currently vacant after Kevin McCarthy (R-Caif.) was ousted from it on Tuesday.
In an interview on CNN’s “AC360,” Kinzinger said he expects that the candidacy of Jordan — who has entered the race for Speaker along with House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.), McCarthy’s longtime No. 2 — will become a “new litmus test” for conservatives.
“Jim is going to be now the new litmus test of: Are you a true conservative or not? Steve Scalise won’t be. It’ll be Jim Jordan,” Kinzinger said. “And so there will be a slow acquiescence of everybody to Jim Jordan. That’s my prediction.”
“I certainly hope, for the country, I’m wrong,” he added. “But I’ll also say this: If he becomes Speaker, it will be interesting to see how a shut-it-all-down kind of guy actually governs a country.”
The race to become Speaker is new, and others could join Jordan and Scalise as they vie for the title.
Jordan, the House Judiciary Committee chairman and a founding member of the Freedom Caucus, has taken establishment candidates in the past and was overwhelmingly defeated. In 2018, he challenged then-Majority Leader McCarthy for his position and lost in a 159-43 vote in the conference.
The party, however, has changed substantially since then.
“I think if it was secret ballot, Steve Scalise would win overwhelmingly, or anybody but Jim Jordan,” Kinzinger said.
The former Illinois congressman — who bucked his party on a variety of issues, including voting to impeach then-President Trump — declined to run for reelection last year.
A staunch supporter of Ukraine, he expressed concern in the interview that whoever becomes Speaker next will have to yield to hardliners on “extreme demands,” including no Ukraine aid.
“I think it’s important for five or 10 members of the House of the Republicans to refuse to vote for anybody that won’t bring Ukraine to the floor for an up or down vote,” Kinzinger said. “Will they do that? Probably not. They should.”