Prominent conservative lawmaker Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, is battling allegations that he helped cover up sexual abuse at Ohio State University, and a longtime conservative activist believes the controversy is simply an effort to tarnish Jordan and block him from becoming speaker of the House.

“The deep state strikes again,” said Richard Viguerie, who pioneered direct mail in political campaigning. He is also chairman of conservativehq.com and author of “Takeover: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It.”

“Any time conservatives look like they’re making any progress or gain in dismantling the deep state or challenging their position, authority or power, they do whatever is necessary to set the conservative cause back.

“That’s all this is. They’re in a panic mode that Jim Jordan could be the next Republican speaker of the House of Representatives,” said Viguerie.

Viguerie says grassroots conservatives across the nation have the highest regard for Jordan, one of the founders of the House Freedom Caucus.

“I put Jim at the very highest level of character, of values. He’s a very serious person. To the extent that I know him, I have nothing but the highest admiration and respect for him. Quite frankly, every conservative without exception that I know at the national, state and local level feels the same way,” said Viguerie.

Numerous former Ohio State wrestlers are also coming to Jordan’s defense.

But “deep state” is a general term. If it’s nothing but a smear campaign, who exactly is behind it? Viguerie says the answer should be obvious.

“Who benefits? Who would benefit by the establishment staying in power? That’s who you can look to for the perpetrators of this,” said Viguerie. “Without naming names here, the Republican establishment, the Washington, D.C., establishment is going to benefit by the present leadership staying in power.”

Viguerie says the GOP congressional leaders are a major disappointment to many grassroots conservatives on a host of key issues, starting with health care. He noted Republicans passed full repeal of Obamacare time after time when leaders knew it would never become law. Once the GOP controlled Congress and the White House, things changed.

“They wouldn’t bring it up for a vote anymore. They were afraid that it would be undone,” said Viguerie.

Jordan was perhaps the most vocal conservative House member demanding an up-or-down vote on a full repeal.

Viguerie says there are other issues as well.

“They don’t want to dismantle the administrative state, build a wall, (pass) serious immigration reform that really controls the border,” he said.

He believes the D.C. establishment fears Jordan because many conservatives see him as a leader.

“In the 60 years almost that I’ve been involved at the national level of the conservative movement, he number one thing we’ve needed all those years above anything else is leadership,” he said.

“Jim Jordan, through the Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives, is providing that leadership, one of the very few Republicans in the country that is actually providing leadership that the grassroots can look up too,” said Viguerie.

But for Jordan to be a threat, he would need to be in a position to win the support of a majority of House Republicans in the next leadership election. House Freedom Caucus members have historically fallen well short in challenging the likes of former House Speaker John Boehner.

Viguerie says Jordan is in position to win that kind of support within the House GOP conference.

“The grassroots is very unhappy with the present leadership. I think there’s a lot of people who voted with establishment candidates in the past and realizing that the establishment is not producing for the voters, for the American people.

“With a new Congress coming in here (following the 2018 midterms), I think a conservative candidate like Jim Jordan would be very, very competitive,” said Viguerie.

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