Democrat Marcy Kaptur, the longest-serving woman in U.S. House history, won another term Tuesday, defeating Republican J.R. Majewski after his campaign was derailed by reports that he had misrepresented his military service.
Kaptur, facing her toughest challenge since first being elected in 1982, beat Majewski, a political newcomer backed by former President Donald Trump, in a congressional district redrawn this year and considered a political toss-up.
Majewski was forced to defend himself in September after The Associated Press reported that he had misrepresented key elements of his Air Force service, including his story of being a combat veteran who served a tour of duty under “tough” circumstances in Afghanistan.
He denied lying about his record and said he proudly served his country. But the National Republican Campaign Committee canceled TV ads it had booked to support his campaign.
Kaptur, a popular Democrat in her hometown of Toledo, seized on that and other questions about Majewski’s resume. She branded him as a past devotee of QAnon conspiracy theories who passed by police barricades during last year’s deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
“I don’t believe there’s a time that I served in public life when I have seen the country divided as it is today,” she said. “This victory today in this particular district shows that the people, regardless if they’re Democrat, Republican, independent, can come together. They can come together if we give them good government, if we stay close to them and we don’t allow certain evil forces to impact their lives.”
Kaptur distanced herself from President Joe Biden during the campaign, releasing an ad that said she didn’t work for him. Majewski’s campaign sought to link Kaptur to the president’s sinking approval ratings and inflation at every turn while also highlighting his backing from Trump.
Trump’s influence was front and center in a handful of Ohio’s congressional elections.
GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, a fiery conservative who’s one of Trump’s closest allies in Congress, won a ninth term Tuesday.
Other incumbents reelected were Republicans Warren Davidson, Mike Turner, Brad Wenstrup, Bob Latta, Bill Johnson, Troy Balderson and David Joyce. Democrats Joyce Beatty and Shontel Brown also won.
While Republicans are almost guaranteed of retaining the majority of Ohio’s congressional seats, Democrats are hoping to pick off at least one GOP incumbent.
They’re targeting longtime Republican Rep. Steve Chabot, who is seeking a 14th term in Congress despite facing a steady stream of legitimate challengers in past elections.
Chabot is up against Cincinnati City Council member Greg Landsman in a district that was one of 14 U.S. House seats nationwide held by Republicans, but that President Joe Biden would have won under new congressional maps. Democrats were looking to take at least a handful of those Republican-held seats that voted for Biden to negate losses elsewhere around the country.
Former Trump administration official Max Miller won a U.S. House seat in Ohio, a victory bolstered by the ex-president’s endorsement and the exits of two Republican congressmen.
Miller, who defeated Democrat Matthew Diemer, was a clear favorite after his victory in the GOP primary, a win that was set up after U.S. Reps. Bob Gibbs and Anthony Gonzalez abruptly retired.
Conservative commentator Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, who worked on Trump’s 2016 inauguration committee and helped lead Women for Trump during his reelection bid, is up against state Rep. Emilia Sykes, a former Ohio House Democratic leader and the daughter of a powerful political family in northeast Ohio.
They’re vying for a seat left vacant when Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan decided to run for U.S. Senate this year.