2 local congressmen may compete to be top Republican on Judiciary Committee

Position could be key for any upcoming investigations or impeachment hearings.


Warren County-area Rep. Steve Chabot is one of two remaining Republicans in the House of Representatives who brought the case for impeachment against then–President Bill Clinton 20 years ago.

Now, he’s arguing that experience could help him and other Republican fight off Democrats if they move forward on impeaching President Donald Trump.

Chabot of Cincinnati, who just won a 12th term to Congress for the 1st District covering Warren and most of Hamilton County, is seeking to be the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee next year. Had Republicans won, he’d be seeking the chairmanship. He’s running on a platform that his decades of experience mean he’s due for what could be a very high-profile position in the next Congress.

But the competition is steep, and became steeper this week when Politico reported that local congressman Jim Jordan, an Urbana Republican who is running a long-shot campaign for House Minority Leader, may instead run for the Judiciary ranking member slot with the blessing of President Donald Trump.

RELATED: Rep. Jim Jordan loses bid to lead House Republicans

Trump reportedly asked McCarthy to consider Jordan for the slot. Asked Wednesday if he was annoyed that Trump had intervened, Chabot said, “I’m never annoyed at anything the president does.” Chabot said, however, that he thought he remained the most qualified Republican to lead the Judiciary Committee.

Chabot, who is also running against Republicans Doug Collins of Georgia and Tom Merino of Pennsylvania for the slot, said he heard rumors months ago that Jordan might be interested.

“It doesn’t have any impact on my decision-making process or what I’m going to do going forward,” he said. “I like all of these people. I consider them all my friends.” Jordan, meanwhile, said he hasn’t decided to pursue the spot yet, and called Chabot “a wonderful colleague.”

The Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over federal courts, administrative bodies, the Constitution and law enforcement agencies. Chabot has been on the committee — along with House Foreign Relations and Small Business, which he chaired — virtually since he came to Congress. On Judiciary, he served under five Judiciary Committee chairman, and “he’s seen what works and what doesn’t work.”

“I clearly have the experience and temperament for this position,” he said, adding, “I tend to be a steady hand and not a bomb thrower.”

Still, he said, he knows Democrats will be “urged and encouraged” by their base to impeach everything from cabinet officials to the president, and he’s ready to fight.

He also has worked with the man presumed to be the incoming chairman — Democrat Jerry Nadler of New York — for years. The two worked together on the Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on the Constitution, which Chabot chaired for six years.

“If he were to be chair, which I’m sure he’ll be, and I were ranking member, obviously we’ll have different roles and we’ll be battling it out a lot, but I think one of the advantages I have is that I already know him very well. I know how he operates. I know his strengths and weaknesses.”

He’ll go before the House Steering Committee, which decides chairmanships, sometime after Thanksgiving.

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