Ohio GOP House Primary A Hot Mess

The second film of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise features an extended comical sword fight involving three pirate combatants dueling with each other in bizarre fashion. The 2024 GOP primary for the Ohio District Nine House of Representatives seat is a similar hot mess.

The story of this critical swing district began in 2022 when Pro-Trump candidate J.R. Majewski was slandered by a false story peddled by his Democrat opponent Marcy Kaptur. The piece alleged that Majewski lied about his military service in Afghanistan, but the truth is that he is listed as having served in a classified location in 2001, and as such the Air Force could not verify that location.

Nevertheless, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) one day later canceled an ad buy of nearly one million dollars that would have supported his candidacy. Having been jettisoned by the GOP, Majewski lost the race by 13 points. Trump won the same district by 3 points in 2020.

Majewski is running again in 2024 in hopes of unseating Kaptur, who is viewed as vulnerable. However, the GOP gatekeepers do not view him as a viable candidate, so former Ohio state legislator Craig Riedel was recruited to oppose Majewski in a primary.

Unfortunately, Riedel was recorded in a phone call with a donor stating his opposition to Donald Trump. He said: “I think he is arrogant. I don’t like the way he calls people names. I just don’t think that’s very becoming of a president”. He has made other statements that strongly identify him as a “never Trumper”. This caused Riedel to fall out of favor with the Republican party.

In a story that reads like Game of Thrones meets King Henry VIII’s wives, a third candidate was dug up from the Ohio House of Representatives in December 2023. That contender is Derek Merrin, who is term-limited and cannot rerun for his Ohio seat in 2024.

But in the latest twist, Merrin appears to have had a not-so-secret adulterous gay relationship with another Ohio state legislator Wes Goodman. Indeed a picture of the two sharing a day at a water park exists.

So there are three GOP candidates vying in the primary for a very important U.S. House district, as neither Riedel nor Majewski have dropped out. In a recent candidate forum, the only candidate who stated support for Trump was the war veteran Majewski. When asked with whom they would align in Congress, Reidel answered “Jim Jordan,” while Merrin said, “The Constitution.” Majewski answered “Trump”.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, who is mistrusted by many conservative Republicans, has endorsed Merrin. This marks Merrin as an “establishment” candidate for many.

Majewski still has endorsements from key House members such as Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), and Rep. Cory Mills (R-FL). Also, Trump Intelligence appointees Kash Patel and Ric Grenell support Majewski.

The NRCC was viewed by many as having turned its back too soon on the veteran and strong Trump supporter.