Trump-Endorsed Candidate Challenges 40-Year US House Member in Ohio

In Ohio’s redrawn 9th Congressional District, some residents will be in for a shock when the calendar turns to January 2023.

Whether longtime Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur keeps her seat, or if Republican U.S. Air Force veteran and nuclear energy executive J.R. Majewski prevails, a segment of the population in northwest Ohio will have a representative whose platform is drastically different from what they are accustomed to.

Kaptur is 76 and is closely aligned with President Joe Biden. She has a lifetime rating of 11.85 by the American Conservative Union. Biden was given a 12.57 rating during his tenure in the U.S. Senate.

She was first elected to the U.S. House in 1982 when President Ronald Reagan was midway through his first term.

The 42-year-old Majewski was deployed to Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom, built a career managing nuclear power plants, and gained national acclaim when he painted a Trump 2020 sign in the yard of his Port Clinton home near the Lake Erie shoreline.

For a decade leading to the current election cycle, the 9th District covered 140 miles of Lake Erie’s coastline, including the Democratic strongholds of Toledo in northwest Ohio and Cleveland in the state’s northeast corner.

Kaptur breezed to election victories, consistently securing more than 60 percent of the vote.

Now, after the most recent redistricting process, the 9th District includes Ohio’s rural northwestern corner, which Kaptur has never represented. Voters there are more conservative. Cleveland is no longer in the district.

With Biden’s approval rating at 36 percent, and inflation at 9.1 percent, Republicans are confident that they will regain control of the House in November. The party needs a net gain of five seats to accomplish that goal.

Political forecasters give Republicans a slight edge in winning the district.

Kaptur was added to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Frontline” program for vulnerable House members.

Majewski was named one of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Young Guns,” which identifies the party’s top U.S. House recruits for 2022.

Epoch Times Photo

The NRCC said it will spend around $1 million in the Toledo media market, which includes the 9th District.

On June 5, Majewski was endorsed by Trump.

“In Congress, J.R. will always promote American energy, secure the border, support our farmers, protect life, defend the Second Amendment, fight for election integrity, and provide our veterans with the care they deserve,” the former president said in a statement.

In 2020, Majewski received national media attention, and subsequent scrutiny, when he turned his 19,000-square-foot triangular front lawn into a banner for Trump.

A year before, he painted a large American flag in his yard to support military veterans.

Last September, he painted Trump in the style of a stencil portrait with a red, white, and blue background as an “S.O.S.” to the former president after Biden’s handling of the U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“I’m sending an S.O.S to [former] president Trump because the United States of America needs leadership now more than ever,” Majewski said in a statement at the time.

In her 40th year as a congresswoman, Kaptur is s senior member of the House Appropriations Committee and the longest-serving female House representative.

Though fellow Ohio Democrats—including U.S. Senate candidate and current Rep. Tim Ryan, and former Dayton mayor and gubernatorial candidate Nan Whaley—have distanced themselves from Biden during recent visits to the state, Kaptur continues to praise the man who was first elected to the Senate in 1972.

“Joe Biden is the first president in my lifetime—and that’s one reason I’m running again because I’m going to help Joe as much as I can—that sort of gets it,” Kaptur recently told reporters.

“He’s a coastal guy from Delaware. But he grew up the son of a man who lost his job. And that matters.”

Last week, Biden appeared in Cleveland to promote a federal initiative created under his American Rescue Plan that will prevent pension cuts for two to three million workers and retirees.

Many economists say the American Rescue Plan is partly responsible for the escalating inflation rate, but Kaptur told audience members awaiting Biden’s speech that the plan is part of the “American dream” and that it “promises a retirement that is stable and secure.”

“I hope he’s listening in the back room,” Kaptur said. “President Biden, welcome back to Ohio. Welcome back!”

Kaptur applauded as Biden took the stage.

“God love you, Marcy,” Biden said. “You are the best. She does it all—unions and foreign policy.”

In 2021, Kaptur supported the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Plan and said its passage is “an enormous win for the American people.”

The University of Pennsylvania Penn Wharton Budget Model projects that the Build Back Better Act will lead to a $2.1 trillion spending increase over 10 years.

Last month, Kaptur told Fox News Digital that she would support Biden if he decides to seek another term in 2024.

“A lot can happen in two years, but if President Biden is the nominee I will support him,” she said. “He is the individual who passed a huge infrastructure bill that helped a whole lot of people in my part of the country.

Majewski admits that he faces a challenge unseating a 40-year House member, but he believes that voters in the redrawn district are ready for new representation.

“Marcy Kaptur is out of touch with everyday Americans who are struggling to fill their gas tanks, buy groceries and support their families,” Majewski said.

Majewski announced he was running for the 9th District Republican nomination before the map was redrawn. The first-time candidate faced long odds running against state representative Craig Riedel and state senator Theresa Gavarone, who had more money and name recognition.

Yet, when results were announced in the May 3 Republican primary, Majewski earned the nomination with 35.7 percent of the vote compared to Riedel’s 31 percent and Gavarone’s 28.5 percent.

Riedel and Gavarone peppered northwest Ohio airwaves with ads, but Majewski attributes his win to “hustle and hard work” by attending events, knocking on doors, making phone calls, and taking the time to listen to voters.

“I was considered a longshot candidate by some people, but folks who thought that were people who don’t understand how many Republican voters feel about today’s political environment,” Majewski told The Epoch Times.

“I self-funded my campaign leading to the primary and spent hours covering the entire district so people could meet me in person. I never considered myself a longshot.”

“Establishment Republicans and political pundits firmly believe you have to be a politician to win a congressional office. That’s not the case,” Majewski added.

Majewski still hears critics say he is “just a guy who painted a Trump banner in his yard,” but he points out that he is a military veteran and has led million-dollar projects in the nuclear energy industry.

A poll released by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research in June showed that 40 percent of respondents think the increase in gas prices is the nation’s top concern, an increase of 26 percent since December 2021.

The survey also found that 33 percent of respondents think that gas and energy prices are the No. 1 issue.

Gun issues were the highest concern for 30 percent of the poll’s respondents while 16 percent listed abortion as the most prominent issue.

Jeff Louderback

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Jeff Louderback is a national reporter for The Epoch Times who is based in Ohio and covers U.S. Senate, U.S. House and gubernatorial races in Ohio and surrounding states.

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