WASHINGTON — Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) signaled Thursday that he intends to run for Speaker of the House next year if Republicans maintain control of Congress, a bid that comes amid mounting scrutiny over his handling of a sexual abuse scandal at Ohio State University.
“Should the American people entrust us with the majority again in the 116th Congress, I plan to run for Speaker of the House to bring real change to the House of Representatives,” Jordan said in a statement. “President Trump has taken bold action on behalf of the American people. Congress has not held up its end of the deal, but we can change that. It’s time to do what we said.”
Jordan, a vocal member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, has recently come under fire for his tenure as assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University during a period of time when former players say they were sexually abused by former team doctor Richard Strauss, who died in 2005.
The Ohio Republican has vehemently denied having any knowledge of the allegations, but NBC News reported last month that former university wrestlers cast doubt on his claim.
Jordan, a two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion, served as assistant coach from 1986-1994.
A collection of former wrestlers and former coaches have backed Jordan’s account amid the scandal, as has the Freedom Caucus.
Jordan has circulated a letter to every House Republican seeking their support.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) declined to weigh in on Jordan’s bid Thursday, affirming that he has made clear he supports House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for the position.
Ryan is not planning on seeking reelection and will retire from the lower chamber at the end of the current Congressional term.