JR Majewski, the embattled Republican House candidate in Ohio who embellished his military service, said Friday that he was not lying about deploying to Afghanistan, following a bombshell Associated Press report.
“The military orders and records that I have been able to obtain from my personnel files show that all my deployments are listed as classified,” Majewski said During a news conference, after the AP reported Wednesday that the Air Force has no record of MAGA witnessing Republican fighting in Afghanistan, as it has publicly claimed on numerous occasions.
Majewski, who turned a large swath of his lawn into a mural for then-President Donald Trump in 2020, also said he could sue news service reporters and, if elected, seek a law “that would make it a crime to smear veterans.” He also said he has photos of his time in Afghanistan and “was on multiple bases,” but refused. to name any when pressed.
“Marcy Kaptur and The Associated Press are an embarrassment to the veterans who serve this country. I demand a public apology,” Majewski said, referring to his Democratic opponent in the House race. He also called the AP investigation a “success story” by “a liberal journalist.”
The national GOP nearly abandoned Ohio’s District 9 after the revelation, and the House GOP campaign committee canceled nearly $1 million worth of ads for the Toledo market, a sign it is losing confidence in Majewski’s ability. to oust Kaptur, the longest-serving woman in the chamber. .
“Majewski’s misleading claims need to be addressed, and it is up to him to provide honesty and clarity, not evasion and continued diversion,” Kaptur’s campaign said, according to local media 13abc.
Shortly after the research was dropped, election forecasters at the University of Virginia Center for Politics they changed their rating for the district from “Toss-up” to “Leans Democratic.”
Majewski has billed himself as an Air Force veteran who deployed to Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and faced “harsh” conditions such as a lack of running water. But the AP investigation revealed that the military branch only has records of Majewski stationed in Japan and Qatar.
A booster of the QAnon conspiracy movement who once said GOP-leaning states should secede from the country, the Ohio native is among extremist candidates the GOP nominated to run in swing districts this year. However, Majewski recently tried to tone down his rhetoric, saying he regretted being on Capitol Hill during the Jan. 6, 2021, riots and removing against abortion declarations of your website.
Doubling down on his military claims is unlikely to endear Majewski to swing voters in what national Republicans thought would be an easy midterm election. Republican lawmakers had redrawn Kaptur into a conservative-leaning district that Trump won by 3 points in 2020, potentially jeopardizing his re-election prospects.
Still, coupled with the makeup of the district, demographic shifts that have made Ohio a more reliable Republican state mean Majewski’s candidacy isn’t over yet.
“’Lean D’ is not ‘safe D’. If Majewski won, he wouldn’t surprise me as much,” Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball newsletter at the UVA Center for Politics, told HuffPost.
“But I also think that since he has a lot of weaknesses as a candidate to begin with, Kaptur has been around forever, and he had this double whammy of news in the last few days… I think that’s enough to see Kaptur as the favorite. We’ll see how things develop. There is still time for other groups to get involved.”