WASHINGTON, D.C – During Donald Trump’s presidency, Champaign County GOP Rep. Jim Jordan has become a prominent presence in the nation’s capital, vigorously defending the chief executive on everything from impeachment to the coronavirus, while rising to a high profile post as the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. He’s a regular guest on Fox News, where he boosts Trump and bashes Democrats.
“Democrat governors, Democrat mayors have said, you can’t go to church, you can’t go to work, you can’t go to school, but you can protest, riot, and loot,” has been one of his favorite soundbites, along with denouncing calls to “defund the police,” and criticizing “cancel culture.”
The candidates running against Jordan – Democrat Shannon Freshour, a Marysville paralegal, and Libertarian Steve Perkins, an educator who lives outside the district in Pataskala – hope Jordan’s attack dog performances will bite him at the ballot box, but Jordan believes that voters approve.
Jordan’s high visibility has helped him raise an eye-popping $16 million dollars during the current election cycle. As of Oct. 14, he had $4.3 million in the bank. Calculations performed by PoliticalMoneyLine indicate 16 percent of his contributions came from people in Ohio. During the 2018 election cycle, Jordan raised less than $1.3 million, with more than half his money coming from within the state.
The former high school and college wrestling champion says constituents in his strongly Republican and predominantly rural 4th Congressional District “appreciate someone who comes here and fights for their values, their concerns, their business, their community,” and who does what they say they’ll do, words that apply to both himself and Trump.
“I think we make the job of an elected official way too complicated,” Jordan likes to say. “It’s pretty basic. What did you tell the folks you were going to do when you ran for the job? If they give you the privilege to serve in the U.S. Congress, do what you said. I have done that, and I’ll tell you who else has: the President of the United States.”
Jordan says his votes to repeal programs like the Affordable Care Act and reduce the numbers of people who participate in programs like food stamps are responsible efforts to reduce government spending, promote fiscal accountability and eliminate redundancy in government agencies. His legislative priorities are to cut taxes, reduce regulations and uncover excessive government waste. During congressional committee hearings, he says he strives to expose waste, fraud and abuse.
“It’s about fighting to protect the principles, institutions and values that make America the greatest country ever,” Jordan says. “It’s about fighting for the families and taxpayers of the fourth district, protecting their First Amendment liberties, their free speech rights, their Second Amendment rights, protecting their communities.”
The turf Jordan represents encompasses Allen, Auglaize, Shelby, Logan, Champaign, Union, Crawford, Seneca and Sandusky counties, and parts of Huron, Erie, Lorain, Mercer and Marion counties. In 2018, the seven-term incumbent who founded the conservative House Freedom Caucus was re-elected with more than 65 percent of the vote.
Freshour says Jordan “just wants to please the president to the detriment of our district” and argues she’d be a better fit for the job because she’d comport herself in a manner that constituents could be proud of and would fight to protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, programs she said would be cut back under Republican budget proposals.
Freshour also criticizes Jordan over claims from former Ohio State University wrestlers that Jordan knew that a former team doctor was sexually abusing wrestlers while Jordan was the team’s assistant coach from 1987 to 1995. Jordan says he did not know his charges were being abused, and says claims to the contrary are false.
She argues Ohio is “in a very very bad place, financially and fiscally” because of the coronavirus pandemic and the lost jobs and ruined businesses it has caused, and says those problems can’t be solved by people who are playing partisan games. She criticizes Jordan for condemning closures that have occurred during the pandemic, arguing that opening up prematurely would kill “thousands and thousands of extra people.”
“We need people who are willing to work across the aisle and get things done,” says Freshour.
She says her priorities would also include strengthening and expanding the Affordable Care Act and the public school system, keeping college and technical students from being crippled by student loan debts, and establishing universal pre-K programs. She says she got a lifelong love of learning from her long-ago participation in the Head Start program, as the daughter of a hardworking single mom who often worked multiple jobs to make ends meet.
“We are in a crisis now and we need people who are going to be serious, who aren’t going to sit up here and talk about conspiracy theories and how they can fight to protect the president,” Freshour said. “That doesn’t make your life better. It doesn’t save your life and it doesn’t help your children get a better education. It doesn’t help you get a better job and it doesn’t help people hold onto their house if a crisis, or a pandemic hits. This is what the representative of 4th district needs to focus on and this is what I will focus on.”
She says Jordan doesn’t talk about fighting for health care, improving schools and making sure the economy is the best one possible because “he doesn’t care about those things.”
Her campaign has raised more than $1.3 million, and had $300,000 in the bank on Oct. 14. Around 16 percent of her campaign donations came from Ohio
Perkins argues that small government Republicanism “needs to be put on a milk carton” because it hasn’t been seen recently, and says Republicans didn’t make good on their promises to repeal the Affordable Care Act when they had full control of government. He accuses both sides of failing to act on “wedge issues” they identify, like the drug war and funding Planned Parenthood, because they will no longer be able to use them to motivate voters.
“I am running to protect the people of Ohio’s fourth from people like Mr. Jordan and all the Democrats in Congress that want to tell you that they know how to live your life better than you do, which is not true,” says Perkins, who hasn’t raised enough campaign cash to file reports at the Federal Election Commission.
Perkins says both the major political parties are engaged in a constant game of “heroes and villains” where each side demonizes the other. He supports term limits and pledges he’d serve no more than 8 years if he’s elected.
“It’s time for something different,” says Perkins. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and wondering why you get the same results.”
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