Field of candidates challenging Kaptur in 2024 grows

JR Majewski, Kaptur’s 2022 general election opponent, says he hasn’t declared candidacy
Published: Apr. 7, 2023 at 4:06 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Next year’s race for Ohio’s ninth Congressional district is heating up more than a year before the primary election for the contest.

Democratic Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur is pursuing her 22nd term in the U.S. House of Representatives. She’s the longest-serving woman in the history of Congress.

Several northwest Ohio Republican politicians have thrown their hats into the ring recently to challenge Kaptur in 2024, including Craig Riedel, a former state representative from Defiance, Dan Wilczynski, a former mayor of Walbridge and Steve Lankenau, a former mayor of Napoleon.

Riedel lost the 2022 GOP primary election to JR Majewski of Port Clinton. He garnered 43% of the vote in his 2022 general election loss to Kaptur.

Majewski on Friday filed a statement of organization with the Federal Elections Commission to update his campaign information, but said he has not formally declared his candidacy.

Majewski, the Trump-backed conservative, became a controversial candidate in the months leading up to the general election when the Associated Press reported that Majewski had misrepresented his military service.

AP obtained military documents that indicate Majewski never deployed to Afghanistan and instead completed a six-month stint loading planes at an air base in Qatar. Majewski had depicted himself as a combat veteran who deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11. A listing of his postings that his campaign provided to AP did not list Afghanistan.

Majewski denied allegations that he lied about his military service. Majewski said he flew in and out of the region during his time serving overseas. He worked to load planes and landed at other bases to transfer passengers and supplies.

“I flew into combat zones often, specifically in Afghanistan, and I served by country proud,” Majewski said in a press conference last September. “Let me be clear, anyone insinuating that I did not serve in Afghanistan is lying.”

An Air Force spokesperson told the New York Times there’s no way to verify whether he served in Afghanistan.

Majewski has not announced his 2024 campaign on social media or to the news media as of Friday. The website he used for his 2022 campaign is no longer active and efforts to find a new campaign website were unsuccessful.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect Majewski says he has not filed a statement of candidacy