COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — A West Georgia congressman is at the center of the storm as the Republicans struggle to elect a new Speaker of the House.
Rep. Drew Ferguson of The Rock says he can’t support Rep. Jim Jordan because of the bullying tactics Jordan and his allies are using.
Ferguson spoke exclusively with WRBL Thursday afternoon shortly after leaving a meeting with Jordan and other Republican representatives. He confirmed that he has reported death threats to the Capitol Police and he and his family have law enforcement protection.
“I just left the meeting there where many of the folks in the conference that oppose Jim Jordan were expressing that we’re letting him know that we’re not moving for various reasons,” Ferguson said via phone. “And Jim’s going to have to make a decision about how long he stays in this race and if he recognizes that the conference is going to want to go in a different direction.”
Ferguson is a solid no-vote on Jordan – and that’s not likely to change. Ferguson is clear about why he pulled his support from Jordan. And it has to do with the intimidation tactics being used by the Ohio Republican and his army of supporters.
“I needed to have some assurances that he would calm down the hysteria,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson said that Jordan would not call off the dogs.
“Now he will tell you that he can’t call off the dogs,” Ferguson said. “But the political industrial complex that surrounds national figures like Jim are beholden to him and they do respond to him. I expressed that today to him directly.”
Ferguson was not pleased with the way Jordan reacted and contradicted previous statements Jordan had made to the Republican caucus.
“(There was) denial that he could do anything with these groups,” Ferguson said. “This is despite the fact that he stood up in front of the conference and told us that he could control the media and the narrative.”
Ferguson has a message for those that coming after the lawmakers standing firm against Jordan.
“I think they need to understand that leadership matters,” Ferguson said. “Not just ideology, but leadership matters. And how you have the backs of the people around you and how you are willing to stand up for them is pretty important. That has not happened.”
Ferguson has a solid conservative voting record and he has taken exception to how his opposition to Jordan has been cast in some of the attacks.
“If you look at our conservative voting record and the work that we have done here, it’s pretty disingenuous to think that I would vote with Democrats to elect a Democratic speaker, which has been part of this narrative,” Ferguson said. “That is quite candidly one of the most foolish things that I have ever heard. And nor do I think other Republicans are going to do that either.”
All of this has led to threats and increased security around some Republican members, including Ferguson.
“We have taken threats and we have turned them over to the Capitol Police and their investigators, the threat response unit,” Ferguson said. “And as a result of that, there’s been an uptick in law enforcement and security around me and my family.”
Ferguson represents the 3rd Congressional District, which includes a sliver of North Columbus.