COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — A West Georgia congressman is at the center of the storm as Republicans fight to elect a new House speaker.
Rep. Drew Ferguson of The Rock says he cannot support Rep. Jim Jordan because of the bullying tactics used by Jordan and his allies.
Ferguson spoke exclusively to WRBL on Thursday afternoon, shortly after leaving a meeting with Jordan and other Republican officials. He confirmed that he had reported death threats to the Capitol Police and that he and his family had the protection of law enforcement.
“I just left the meeting where many of the people at the conference who oppose Jim Jordan expressed that we were letting him know that we were not moving for various reasons,” Ferguson said by phone. “And Jim has to make a decision about how long he stays in this race and whether he recognizes that the conference wants to go in a different direction.”
Ferguson is a clear no vote on Jordan – and that is unlikely to change. Ferguson makes it clear why he withdrew his support from Jordan. And it has to do with the intimidation tactics used by the Ohio Republican and his army of supporters.
“I needed reassurance that he would calm the hysteria,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson said Jordan would not recall the dogs.
“Now he’ll tell you he can’t call the dogs back,” Ferguson said. “But the political-industrial complex that surrounds national figures like Jim is beholden to him and responds to him. I expressed that directly to him today.”
Ferguson was unhappy with the way Jordan responded and contradicted previous statements Jordan had made to the Republican caucus.
“It was denied that he had anything to do with these groups,” Ferguson said. “This is despite the fact that he stood up before the conference and told us that he could control the media and the narrative.”
Ferguson has a message for those waiting for lawmakers to stand firm on Jordan.
“I think they need to understand that leadership is important,” Ferguson said. “Not only ideology, but also leadership is important. And it’s pretty important that you have the backs of the people around you and are willing to stand up for them. That didn’t happen.”
Ferguson has a solid record in conservative elections and he has bristled at how his opposition to Jordan was reflected in some of the attacks.
“When you look at our conservative voting record and the work we’ve done here, it’s pretty disingenuous to think that I would vote with Democrats to elect a Democratic speaker, which is part of that narrative,” Ferguson said. “That’s honestly one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard. And I don’t think other Republicans will either.”
All of this has led to threats and increased security around some Republican members, including Ferguson.
“We took threats and turned them over to Capitol Police and their investigators, the Threat Response Unit,” Ferguson said. “And as a result, law enforcement and security around me and my family have increased.”
Ferguson represents the 3rd Congressional District, which includes part of North Columbus.