LIMA — While the national media has lambasted U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan due to allegedly overlooking sexual abuses by Dr. Richard Strauss during Jordan’s time as an assistant wrestling coach at The Ohio State University, his local support among the 4th Congressional has not wavered considerably.
“The vast majority of the calls are out of district, frankly. And the rate picks up whenever Jim does a media appearance, but as far as the allegation stuff goes, they’ve all been out of district,” Jordan’s District Director Cameron Warner said.
“I think people see it, and they just don’t believe it,” Jordan said.
Jordan’s national spotlight has grown brighter since making some highly visible moves in the House of Representatives. The Freedom Caucus’s initiative to sink the first iteration of the House’s Farm Bill and Jordan’s attempts at impeachment of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein are two of the latest that received national coverage.
And with recent news of a court case filed against Jordan and other university staff who were allegedly looking the other way about Strauss’s conduct, Jordan’s time in the spotlight as a target of controversy doesn’t seem to be on the wane.
“When we do a tweet, it’s like, we’ve done a few more in the last week, but the latest got like 50,000 people commenting on the tweet … It’s crazy,” Jordan said.
If that will affect anything come November remains to be seen. Jordan’s last two run against his competitor and former school teacher Janet Garett resulted in 36-point lead. This time around, he currently has a hefty $1.4 million in his war chest to throw around. And his local support remains strong.
“The response in the district has been tremendous. The amount of people that walk up and say ‘keep fighting, we know what’s going on here.’ I gave a speech on July 4 up in Fremont and the line of people afterwards, it was funny because the CNN camera had to wait and wait and wait because there was a line of people coming up that were all positive. I’ve been very pleased by that,” Jordan said.
Jordan maintains he did not do anything wrong during his time at OSU. Because he is now involved in a lawsuit surrounding Strauss’s time at the university, the Congressman said he could not speak on record about what he talked about with lawyers this past weekend — a similar reason given by Peter Strozk when he defended himself against Jordan’s allegations during a House Oversight Committee Hearing.
“We’re not supposed to talk about what was said in those. I mean, look, I’ve said this so many times — never heard of, never saw, had anything reported to me. If there had been I would have dealt with it. Every single coach, all kinds of athletes have all said the same thing I have, and they’ve all said the same thing I’ve said because its the truth. And there’s really not a whole lot more to be said,” Jordan said.
As for Garett, although Jordan’s contender has recently filed some of her best numbers — $86,754 in campaign contributions in the second quarter — and attracted the attention of campaign strategist Joe Trippi, Jordan hasn’t seen a groundswell against his candidacy from his home turf.
“Not at all, same old, same old. We’ve seen increased stuff from out of the district. [Like] the billboard out here on 75, which I think is hilarious whenever I drive by it,” Jordan said.
The billboard set up this past February by an outside political group depicts Jordan staring menacingly down onto the highway and asks the question: “Is Putin paying Rep. Jim Jordan to stop FBI’s Russia investigation?”
The question is part of a narrative that Jordan and many of his constituents don’t even entertain. When asked about President Donald Trump’s performance in Helsinki this past Monday when Trump cast doubt on his intelligence community’s findings about Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election, Jordan pivoted to a oft-repeated phrase.
“It’s been an amazing year and a half. By anyone’s definition, what the first year and half this administration has been able to achieve.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.