Jim Jordan (Photo/WP Company LLC )
Jim Jordan, two-time NCAA champ for University of Wisconsin and National Wrestling Hall of Fame honoree who is now a Republican congressman for western Ohio, is exploring a run for Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Washington Post reported Friday.
Two Republican lawmakers told the Post that they had spoken with Jordan in the days since current Speaker Paul Ryan announced his plan not to run for re-election once his current term expires at the end of 2018, and both said that they got the impression that Jordan would enter the race to lead the House GOP. The lawmakers spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.
Jim Jordan with Russ HellicksonAccording to the lawmakers who spoke to Jordan about his plans, the wrestler-turned-Congressman has met with conservative activists seeking to draft him into the race. A number of prominent conservatives have also promoted Jordan on social media, according to the Post.
The 54-year-old Jordan is well-known in conservative political circles. The four-time Ohio high school state champ at perennial prep powerhouse Graham High School in St. Paris, Ohio (ranked No. 5 in the nation by InterMat at the end of this season) who went on to continue his mat career as a Wisconsin Badger in the 1980s is co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, a faction of about three dozen conservative lawmakers that could play a kingmaker role in any vote to determine House Speaker once Ryan retires after the 2018 election. Until now, the two individuals reportedly seeking to become Speaker are House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.).
Jordan did not raise the issue in an appearance on Fox News Thursday night, nor did he respond to text messages and phone calls from the Washington Post seeking comment Thursday night and Friday morning. Aides to Jordan and the Freedom Caucus also did not respond.
Jordan was welcomed into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Okla. in 2014 as an Outstanding American, a category which honors individuals from the sport of wrestling whose accomplishments are notable beyond wrestling.
A native of Champaign County in western Ohio north of Dayton, Jim Jordan graduated from Graham High School in 1982 as a four-time state wrestling champion with a record of 150-1. Jordan wrestled at the University of Wisconsin at 134 pounds from 1982-1986. As a Badger, Jordan was a two-time Big Ten conference champ, a three-time NCAA All-American and twice an NCAA champion, winning back-to-back titles in 1985 (defeating Oklahoma State's John Smith in the finals, 7-4) and 1986 (beating Iowa's Greg Randall in the title bout, 6-2). Jordan graduated from Wisconsin with a bachelor's degree in economics in 1986.