JR Majewski, the GOP House candidate in Ohio who embellished his military service, said Friday he didn’t lie about deploying to Afghanistan, following a bombshell report from the Associated Press.
“The orders and military records I have been able to obtain from my personal files show that all of my deployments are classified.” Majewski said during a news conference, after the AP reported Wednesday that the Air Force has no records of Republican MAGA combat in Afghanistan, as it has publicly stated numerous times.
Majewski, who turned a large portion of his lawn into a mural for then-President Donald Trump in 2020, also said he may sue the reporters for the phone service and, if elected, would pursue legislation “that would make in a felony defilement. veterans.” He also said he has photos from his time in Afghanistan and that he “was on several bases,” but declined to name any when pressed.
“Marcy Kaptur and The Associated Press, you 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 “hit piece” by “a liberal journalist.”
The national GOP all but abandoned Ohio’s 9th District after the revelation, and the House Republican Campaign Committee canceled nearly $1 million in ads for the Toledo market, a sign it’s losing confidence in Majewski’s ability to oust Kaptur, the most incumbent woman in the chamber. .
“Majewski’s misleading claims … must be addressed, and it is up to him to provide honesty and clarity, not continued evasion and deflection,” Kaptur’s campaign said, according to local channel 13abc.
Shortly after the investigation dropped, election forecasters at the University of Virginia Center for Politics changed their rating of the district from “Toss-up” to “Leans Democratic.”
Majewski has introduced himself as an Air Force veteran who deployed to Afghanistan after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, facing “harsh” conditions such as a lack of running water. But the AP’s investigation revealed that the military branch only has records of Majewski stationed in Japan and Qatar.
A pusher of the QAnon conspiracy movement that once said Republican-leaning states should secede from the country, Ohio is among the extremist candidates the GOP nominated to compete in swing districts this year. However, Majewski has recently tried to moderate his rhetoric, saying he regretted being in the Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot and removing anti-abortion statements from his 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 pickup. GOP lawmakers had made Kaptur a conservative-leaning district that Trump won by 3 points in 2020, potentially jeopardizing his re-election prospects.
Still, along with the makeup of the district, demographic changes that have made Ohio a more reliably Republican state mean Majewski’s bid is far from over.
“‘Lean D’ is not ‘safe D.’ If Majewski won, I wouldn’t be that surprised,” Kyle Kondik, editor-in-chief of Sabato’s Crystal Ball newsletter at the UVA Policy Center, told HuffPost.
“But I also think that given that 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 the last few days… I think that’s enough to see Kaptur as the favorite. We’ll see how things evolve. There’s still time for other groups to get involved.”