Jim Jordan won’t run for U.S. Senate, reports say

Urbana Republican Jim Jordan, one of Ohio’s most conservative politicians, won’t run for the U.S. Senate seat that has been held by Rob Portman for the past decade, according to a report by Cleveland.com.

Jordan did not immediately respond to messages left seeking comment.

Jordan’s national profile, close alliance with Donald Trump and $5.1 million campaign account balance would have given him huge advantages in the GOP primary in May 2022.

Jordan, co-founder of the conservative Freedom Caucus in the U.S. House, has been a fixture in Ohio politics for decades. He served in the Ohio General Assembly from 1994 to 2006. In 2006 when Mike Oxley announced retirement from the U.S. House, Jordan won a six-way Republican primary and then the general election.

In his 2020 re-election campaign, he raised $18.2 million without facing a significant challenger.

As a state lawmaker, Jordan backed a ban on same-sex marriage, supported returning a $1 million federal grant for sex education because of fears kids would receive graphic information, and supported stripping cities of the authority to regulate guns.

He opposed adding stiffer penalties for distracted driving and opposed efforts to increase taxes and expand gambling. He introduced bills to display the state motto “With God all things are possible” in public classrooms, to give state health officials more regulatory control over abortion clinics, and he backed a bill that called for teaching both evolution and “intelligent design” – a version of creationism – in science classes in public schools.

In Congress, he pushed for spending federal limits and limits on food stamp eligibility, opposed hate crime legislation, opposed Obamacare, and voted against the federal bailout of the auto industry. FiveThirtyEight.com says he voted in line with President Trump’s positions 88.7% of the time.

Jordan’s national profile began to rise in 2015 when Jordan and the right-wing Freedom Caucus clashed with West Chester Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, hastening Boehner’s decision to retire and give up Ohio’s hold on the powerful speaker’s post.

Jordan is known as gregarious and congenial but also for grilling witnesses during high-profile congressional hearings. He has sparred with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, took on IRS officials, grilled Hillary Clinton over her role in the attack in Benghazi in September 2012 that led to the deaths of four Americans and questioned Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former personal attorney.

Jordan vociferously defended Donald Trump against impeachment in 2019 and he was among 147 House members – five from Ohio – who raised objections to the Electoral College results in some states that Democrat Joe Biden won.

In his last days as president, Trump awarded Jordan the Medal of Freedom.

Jordan, who turns 57 on Feb. 17, grew up in Champaign County and graduated Graham High School where he won four state wrestling championships. He wrestled for University of Wisconsin, winning two NCAA Division 1 titles. While attending graduate school at Ohio State University, Jordan served as an assistant wrestling coach from 1986 to 1994.

Jordan’s OSU coaching time overlapped with Dr. Richard Strauss, a faculty member and team doctor who sexually abused hundreds of male students and student-athletes while at Ohio State. Some former wrestlers allege that Jordan knew of Strauss’ misconduct but failed to report the abuse. Jordan has insisted he knew nothing and that he would have acted if he did. Strauss died by suicide in 2005.

In May 2019, law firm Perkins Coie issued a 232-page report that concluded at least 177 male students had been abused by Strauss and administrators knew about the misconduct but failed to report it to law enforcement. The report did not name lower level coaching staff.

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