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Jim Jordan is in the Wisconsin Sports Hall of Fame

Now vying to be House Speaker, the hardline Republican and fierce Trump ally won two national titles wrestling for the Wisconsin Badgers.


The next Speaker of the House may be a Wisconsin Badger.

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, is vying for the top job in the U.S. House of Representatives as the Republican majority struggles to elect a leader.

Before he joined the House in 2007, Jordan competed for the UW-Madison wrestling team, winning two national championships and being named All-American three times. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics in 1986, UW-Madison spokesman John Lucas said.

Jordan still holds the school records for single-season and all-time wrestling wins, according to the athletic department, with 49 wins in the 1985-86 season and 156 wins in his career from 1983-1986.

These records are unlikely to be broken anytime soon, said UW Athletics spokesperson Jessica Burda Leslie, as the amount of tournaments wrestlers compete in currently is not as high as past years.

Jordan was inducted into the UW Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005.

His ascent to at least close to the Speakership is a wild turn in his House tenure, one reflective of how the Republican Party has changed in that time, experts say.

A founder of the far-right “Freedom Caucus,” Jordan had been a controversial figure before becoming a “significant player,” in the words of the January 6th Committee, in former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. When he was Speaker, former Rep. John Boehner, a fellow Republican, called Jordan a “legislative terrorist.” Jordan helped force Boehner out of the top job.

Jordan’s critics frequently point to his minimal legislative record, noting that he has never gotten a bill signed into law in his 16 years in the House.

And when he was a former assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University, Jordan is accused by former wrestlers of turning a blind eye to the sexual abuse of a team doctor.

He now chairs the powerful House Judiciary Committee, which oversees the federal courts, federal administrative agencies, and federal law enforcement entities. He has led investigations against Democrats including Hillary Clinton, when she was a presidential candidate, and President Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

As of Wednesday, Jordan had lost two votes to become Speaker, and his chances of securing the seat looked tenuous, experts said.

The Badger Project is a nonpartisan, citizen-supported journalism nonprofit in Wisconsin.

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