Ohio Republican J.R. Majewski, who was one of his party's very worst nominees for any office in 2022 even before the Associated Press reported that he’d lied about serving in Afghanistan, announced Wednesday he’d seek a rematch against Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur. Former state Rep. Craig Riedel, who is also trying again following his upset primary loss to the QAnon ally, greeted the entry of his once and future foe by alluding to his 57-43 landslide loss to the congresswoman, declaring, “This primary is going to be a clear choice between someone who can't win and a principled conservative that can.”
The GOP contest to take on Kaptur, a 21-term incumbent who is one of just five House Democrats who represent a district carried by Donald Trump, also features two other candidates, both of whom once served as mayors of small communities: Steve Lankenau of Napoleon and Dan Wilczynski of Walbridge. The current version of the 9th District, which is based in the Toledo area and northwestern Ohio, backed Trump 51-48, but the GOP will have the chance to gerrymander the map all over again.
Buckeye State Republicans last cycle thought they had Kaptur on the ropes after they utterly transformed her formerly safe seat, but all that changed after Majewski unexpectedly beat Riedel 36-31 in the primary. Kaptur and her allies, as we recently detailed, soon launched a series of commercials highlighting the nominee’s presence at the Jan. 6 Trump rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol (Majewski claims he never actually entered the Capitol building) to argue he was a danger to law enforcement. Democrats also utilized ran ads highlighting Majewski's ties to QAnon, his pro-secession comments, and him rapping in a video titled "Let's Go Brandon Save America.”
National Republicans still stuck with the badly funded Majewski until September, when the AP reported that military documents showed that their nominee, an Air Force veteran who had previously said he "lost my grandmother when I was in Afghanistan," had never been stationed in the country. The NRCC quickly canceled its planned TV spending and left the self-described "combat veteran," who was beset by more unflattering stories about his actual military career, to fend for himself.
Majewski continued to insist that he’d been honest about being in Afghanistan despite all available evidence to the contrary, and he was hardly deterred by his double-digit loss in November. “Last cycle we started a movement,” he stubbornly declared Wednesday, adding, “This cycle we win.”