Democrat Marcy Kaptur Fends Off Challenge From Republican J.R. Majewski

Her win paves the way for Kaptur to become the longest-serving woman ever in Congress next year.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) is projected to fend off a challenge from J.R. Majewski, a MAGA Republican who had been caught embellishing his military record, in a highly competitive race.

Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, the longest-serving woman in the U.S. House, won another term Tuesday.
Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, the longest-serving woman in the U.S. House, won another term Tuesday.
Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

Kaptur, who became the most tenured woman in House history four years ago, survived one of the fiercest challenges of her almost 40-year career on Tuesday. Her win clears the way for her to become the longest-serving woman from either chamber next year.

The 76-year-old Democrat was drawn into a new Republican-leaning seat this election, giving the GOP a rare opportunity to oust a longtime incumbent. And they ran with it, labeling Kaptur a rubber stamp for an unpopular president in an election year that is expected to be challenging for Democrats.

But Republicans nominated a flawed candidate to run against Kaptur.

Majewski, a consultant in the nuclear energy sector with no previous political experience, rode Donald Trump’s endorsement to victory in the GOP primary against two state legislators. In September, an Associated Press investigation revealed that he had embellished aspects of his Air Force background. Majewski had claimed he served in Afghanistan after 9/11, but the AP’s investigation uncovered that his primary duty in the Middle East was unloading cargo in Qatar. He also misrepresented the circumstances surrounding his demotion in the Air Force, according to the AP.

Majewski characterized the report as a political hit job and said he was unable to release details of his military record because they are classified.

Northwest Ohio’s 9th Congressional District, hugging Lake Erie and the Michigan border, is a quintessential slice of the industrial Midwest, anchored in Toledo. While Democrats mostly control the city itself, its suburbs are full of swing voters who migrated to the Republican Party in support of Donald Trump.

The district was safely Democratic until the most recent round of congressional redistricting. Kaptur has called the new district an illegal gerrymander since the Ohio Supreme Court ruled the state’s new congressional map unconstitutional. “The courts have declared that, and yet the Ohio Legislature has chosen not to do anything. They’re a criminal class,” Kaptur told HuffPost in September.

Both candidates moderated their positions to the political center — Kaptur by criticizing Biden over his plan to cancel some student loan debt and Majewski by distancing himself from his earlier ties to the QAnon conspiracy movement and the rally that preceded the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Kaptur, however, has bucked Democratic presidents in the past, opposing Bill Clinton on the North American Free Trade Agreement, which she argued harmed domestic manufacturing.

She is perhaps best known for spearheading the legislation that created the World War II veterans memorial in Washington. She has never sought statewide office. In 1996, presidential candidate Ross Perot approached her to run as vice president on his Reform Party ticket. She declined.

Kaptur is set to surpass the record of Sen. Barbara Ann Mikulski (D-Md.), who served 10 years in the House and 20 in the Senate.

“It sounds like a lot of time until you’ve done it,” Kaptur told the AP in 2018 when she became the longest-serving woman in the House, “and then it seems like a wink.”

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