U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, whose 4th Congressional District includes Richland and Ashland counties, n Wednesday announced he is a candidate to become the next Speaker of the U.S. House. (Richland Source file photo)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Conservative Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, whose 4th District includes Richland and Ashland counties, announced Wednesday he is a candidate to be the next Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The 59-year-old from Champaign County, who on Tuesday spoke in favor of retaining Speaker Kevin McCarthy, released a letter Wednesday to his Republican colleagues asking their support.

“We are at a critical crossroad in our nation’s history. Now is the time for our Republican conference to come together to keep our promises to Americans,” Jordan wrote in the letter.

“The problems we face are challenging, but they are not insurmountable. We can focus on the changes that improve the country and unite us in offering real solutions.

“But no matter what we do, we must do it together as a conference. I respectfully ask for your support for Speaker of the House of Representatives,” Jordan wrote.

Jordan was the first Republican to announce his desire. But House Majority Leader Steve Scalise from Louisiana quickly threw his hat into the ring, also.

The GOP has planned a vote for Oct. 11.

Analysts said Jordan, a founding member of the Freedom Caucus, would likely have the support of right-wing conservatives in the House, but questioned if he could curry support of more moderate Republicans.

A vocal supporter of former President Trump, Jordan will gather no support from any House Democrats.

In an interview with CNN, Jordan tried to downplay worries he may be too conservative for his GOP colleagues.

“I think we are a conservative-center-right party. I think I’m the guy who can help unite that. My politics are entirely consistent with where conservatives and Republicans are across the country,” Jordan told CNN’s Manu Raju.

The GOP holds a slim voting edge in the House. Eight Republicans joined with all Democrats who voted on Tuesday to vacate the Speaker’s seat, the first time that has happened in the country’s history.

Jordan, who has served in Congress since 2007, leads the Judiciary Committee and its “Weaponization of the Federal Government Select Subcommittee,” created after Republicans took control of the House in January.

Through his position as chair of the Judiciary panel, he is one of the Republicans leading the House’s impeachment inquiry into President Biden, which McCarthy announced in September.

According to national media reports, Jordan said Wednesday there appears to be “strong” support for his candidacy. He said the key priority for the next speaker is to unite the GOP caucus.

“I’ve had a lot of people reach out to us, asking me to do it, because they think think we can,” he said. “We’ll see if that happens, but I think I can.”