Controversial GOP candidate in Ohio drops out after insisting he would not

A controversial Republican congressional candidate in Ohio ended his campaign days after insisting he was still running, amid a backlash over comments he made that denigrated people with mental disabilities.

J.R. Majewski said in a statement announcing the decision Saturday that he was confident he would win but that it was “inevitable that the Deep State will do whatever it takes to fight against me.” He added that he would devote his time to helping return former president Donald Trump to the White House this year.

Majewski’s name will remain on the ballot for the March 19 primary in Ohio, where early voting is underway. But his exit is welcome news for his critics in the GOP, who worried he would again jeopardize their chances of capturing the competitive seat held by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D).

Majewski first ran for the seat in northwestern Ohio with Trump’s backing in 2022. His campaign fell apart after the Associated Press reported that he had misrepresented his military service to voters.

Majewski had said Wednesday that he would stay in the race despite bipartisan condemnation for his comments on a recent conservative podcast. He said Democrats arguing with him on the internet was “like being in the Special Olympics.”

“No matter how good you perform,” he said, “you’re still a f—ing retard.”

This is not the first time Majewski has dropped out of the 2024 primary for Ohio’s 9th Congressional District. He did so last year, citing a family health issue, and rejoined the campaign months later.

His latest withdrawal from the primary leaves three Republicans running: former state lawmaker Craig Riedel, state Rep. Derek Merrin and former Napoleon mayor Steve Lankenau.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has endorsed Merrin in the primary.

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