Jim Jordan announces bid for GOP House minority leader, sets up fight with Kevin McCarthy

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, a key member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, announced Wednesday that he intends to run for House minority leader -- setting up a challenge to Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

“I plan to run for minority leader,” Jordan told The Hill, before taking a swipe at how the Republican caucus acted under outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

"In 2016, the American people elected Republicans to come here and change this town. I think the president is doing just that, but I don't think they see the same intensity from folks in Congress, folks in the House of Representatives," he said.

"Have we replaced Obamacare yet? Have we secured the border yet? Have we reformed welfare yet? No," he said.

Democrats retook control of the House Tuesday night, while Republicans were on track to expand their control of the Senate. Ryan is retiring at the end of the term and has endorsed McCarthy, the House majority leader, as his successor. McCarthy on Wednesday announced his intention to run also.

"We have a responsibility to protect our constituents from higher taxes and increasing government control over their lives. And we need to lay the groundwork to regain the majority so that we can continue working alongside President Trump to fulfill our promise to fundamentally change Washington," he said in a statement. "I helped build a majority from a deeper hole than this and I have what it takes to do it again."

Jordan, accompanied by House Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows, R-N.C., has been a strong supporter of President Trump and a critic of how things were done under Speaker Ryan. In his remarks Wednesday morning, he said that Republicans needed to respond to the defeat in the House by convincing Americans to give them control again in 2020.

"Now that we're in the minority, that's about all what we can do is debate, but fight hard in the debate for the principles, for the things that we know the American people sent us here to do in 2016. Show them that we deserve to be back in power in 2020," he said.

In another sign that conservatives may be about to grab the reins of power, Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., announced that she is running to be the next House Republican Conference Chair, saying she wants to lead the effort “to build a new and effective House GOP communications operation.”

“Too often we have found ourselves playing catch up without access to useful information, and we have not been on offense,” she said.  “Constantly playing defense in the battle of communications is a recipe for failure.”

Fox News’ Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.