Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who gained national attention as one of former President Trump’s most ardent defenders during his first impeachment, said today he will not run for retiring Sen. Rob Portman’s (R-Ohio) seat in 2022.
Jordan “is solely focused on representing the great people of Ohio’s Fourth District, and will not be running to fill the seat of retiring Senator Rob Portman,” a spokesperson for the congressman’s office told Cleveland.com.
“Mr. Jordan believes at this time he is better suited to represent Ohioans in the House of Representatives, where as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, he can advance an America first agenda, promote conservative values, and hold big government accountable.”
Jordan was one of several potential GOP candidates mentioned after Portman announced that he would not seek a third term next year.
Four of Jordan’s GOP colleagues — Reps. Mike Turner, Steve Stivers, Brad Wenstrup and David Joyce — have all expressed interest in potentially seeking the seat.
On the Democratic side, Reps. Tim Ryan and Joyce Beatty have both declined to rule out a run.
Beatty would be the state’s first Black senator.
While Portman was considered among the more moderate GOP senators, the state has trended rightward since then-President Obama won it twice.
Gov. Mike DeWine (R) was elected in 2018 and it was one of just a few states that Trump flipped from Obama in 2016 and won a second time in 2020.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) is currently Ohio’s only Democratic statewide office-holder.
Six former Ohio State University wrestlers have gone on record to say that Jordan was aware of the sexual abuse they and other OSU athletes were enduring when he was an assistant wrestling coach in the 1980s and 1990s.
Jordan has maintained that he had absolutely no knowledge that OSU doctor Richard Strauss had been sexually abusing wrestlers and other male athletes for decades, but these six former college wrestlers say Jordan is lying.
In interviews, Tito Vazquez, Dan Ritchie, Mike Flusche, Dunyasha Yetts, Shawn Dailey, and Mike Glane all came forward to say that they were in the room with Jordan and others when Jordan was told of incidents of sexual abuse by Strauss.
Vazquez recalled telling Jordan that Strauss had insisted on examining his genitals after he’d come in with a bloody nose.
According to Vazquez, Jordan said “I have nothing to do with this” and ended the conversation.
Ritchie and Flusche said that they remember separate incidents when Jordan said, “If he ever tried that with me I’d snap his neck like a stick of dry balsa wood” in response to other athletes complaining to him about Strauss.
Yetts says that he went to Jordan several times to complain that Strauss tried to remove his shorts and once groped him during examinations for unrelated injuries like a broken thumb.
Dailey and Glane both said that they specifically recall Yetts complaining about Strauss while Jordan was present.
In 2019, an independent report commissioned by OSU found that Strauss had sexually abused at least 177 male students who had come to him seeking medical care.
Strauss, who died by suicide in 2005, was the team physician for numerous OSU sports teams, including wrestling, swimming, gymnastics and lacrosse.
Jordan was accused of trying to cover up sexual abuse at OSU in February by another former wrestler, team captain Adam DiSabato.
DiSabato told the Ohio legislature that he received a desperate call from Jordan, who essentially begged DiSabato to lie to help cover up wrongdoing.
OSU reached a settlement agreement in 11 of the 18 Strauss-related lawsuits that are currently pending against the university.