Jim Jordan Fails to Secure House Speaker Role in Opening Round of Voting as Dems Unanimously Vote for Hakeem Jeffries
The House has now been without a speaker for more than 14 days, and many political watchers predict a continued and uphill battle for Jordan, a central figure in the Ohio State University scandal, where former wrestlers have accused him of ignoring sexual abuse during his tenure as an assistant wrestling coach in the 1980s and 1990s. With Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) publicly expressing opposition due to Jordan’s repeated failure to acknowledge Trump’s loss and other candidates receiving votes, the House remained without a speaker after a first round of voting. In January, it took former Speaker Kevin McCarthy an unprecedented 15-rounds before he received the support necessary to take over the job.
While Jordan has consistently denied any wrongdoing in the Ohio State matter, the allegations raised in 2018 have clung to his reputation, earning him the epithet “Gym Jordan” from critics. He served as an assistant coach at Ohio State University in Columbus from 1986 to 1994, immediately following his graduation. During this period, he pursued advanced degrees, including a master’s degree in education and a law degree.
In 1994, he transitioned to the Ohio General Assembly, concluding his time as an assistant coach. Jordan subsequently won a congressional seat in 2006.
The university’s inquiry into Dr. Richard Strauss, a university physician, began in April 2018 after former college wrestler Mike DiSabato accused him of sexual misconduct. The investigation concluded in 2019 and revealed that Strauss had sexually abused at least 177 male students, including 48 wrestling team members, between 1978 and 1998. The misconduct ranged from inappropriate questioning to overt fondling.
The investigation also disclosed that university staff knew about Strauss’ abusive conduct as early as 1979. A limited inquiry was conducted in 1996, after which Strauss retired voluntarily in 1998. Tragically, he took his own life in 2005. In July 2018, several former wrestlers accused Jordan of failing to intervene in the abuse, contending that he was well aware of the situation.
Advocacy group, The Republican Accountability Project actively campaigned against Jordan’s nomination, highlighting concerns over the stability of democracy following the recent leadership upheaval within the GOP.
In a digital ad, the group emphasized Jordan’s support for Donald Trump’s baseless claims about the 2020 election and his efforts to obstruct the vote’s certification. The advertisement underlined the need for a Congress presided over by someone who upholds democracy.
Jordan’s bid faced internal resistance within the GOP, with several Republican lawmakers hesitating to support him. Jordan could only afford to lose four Republican votes and still secure the Speakership.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff voiced his reservations, stating, “Republicans may make Jim Jordan the Speaker… After he was deeply involved in trying to overturn the last one. Just when you think they can’t be more irresponsible, they prove you wrong.”
Rep. Steve Cohen, a Democrat from Tennessee, expressed disbelief in a now-deleted post on social media, “I can’t believe this is happening after January 6. If Trump can get to another electoral college, House Speaker will be able to subvert votes of the people/ This is the first act in insurrection 2.0.”