The firebrand Ohio Republican, who has become a national conservative hero for his bulldog demeanor and unapologetic (and unwavering) support for former President Donald Trump, would have been the clear favorite to be the Republican nominee in the open-seat race to replace retiring Sen. Rob Portman. But he decided not to run.
After all, the Senate is generally speaking seen as more prestigious and a better launching pad to national office. And from a purely logistical perspective, the Senate terms are six years rather than the two-year terms in the House — meaning you don’t have to constantly be preparing for the next campaign.
Well, let’s start with what Jordan’s own office said about why he wasn’t running for Senate.
Which makes some sense! In essence what that quote says is that Jordan has a lot of seniority and prominence among House Republicans and doesn’t want to give all that up to start as a low-ranking member of the current minority party in the Senate. Totally! And not a dumb decision, either.
But I also think there are a few other calculations going on in Jordan’s decision to stay in the House. Consider:
* There’s no guarantee of victory. Yes, Jordan would have started as the favorite for the Republican nomination due to his overt Trumpy-ness. (The former President would likely have waded into the primary to endorse him.) And because Ohio is now a lean-Republican state in federal races, any Republican would be a better-than-even bet to beat a Democrat in the general election. But there were worries within the GOP that Jordan’s brand of conservatism would not wear well in suburban areas around Cleveland and Cincinnati — where Republicans need to contend in order to win statewide. Jordan is no dummy, he knew that. And he knows that it’s a lot easier to win (and win again) in his strongly conservative House district than statewide in Ohio.
It used to be a no-brainer that when a Senate seat opened up, the best-known and most ambitious House members would run for that seat because, well, serving in the Senate was seen as more prestigious (and serious) than being in the House. Jordan’s no-go decision is a testament that that conventional wisdom has grown stale in the age (and aftermath) of Trump.