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Republican House candidate who disparaged Special Olympians says he’s still running

A Republican congressional candidate in Ohio said Wednesday that he would not end his campaign despite backlash over comments he recently made denigrating people with mental disabilities.

“After carefully considering the pressure and attacks by the Washington Establishment Machine, my family and I have decided that there is no mission more important than continuing this race and standing strong for the patriots I committed to fight for,” J.R. Majewski said in a statement.

Politico reported Tuesday that Majewski was considering dropping out of the race, which would have been another twist in his years-long quest to unseat Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio). He had dropped out of the 2024 primary last year, citing his mother’s health, but rejoined it months later.

Early voting for the March 19 primary started a week ago.

Majewski first ran against Kaptur in 2022 with the backing of former president Donald Trump. But his bid collapsed after the Associated Press reported that he had misled voters about his military record.

The latest controversy centers on comments that Majewski made on an episode of a conservative podcast that was released this month. Majewski 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.”

Majewski’s opponents called on him to drop out, and the Lucas County GOP censured him, calling the comments “reprehensible.” He apologized, saying his remarks were “extremely insensitive.”

Republican operatives were already mobilizing against Majewski after watching him lose the competitive northern Ohio district by double digits in 2022. His 2024 primary opponents include former state lawmaker Craig Riedel, who also ran in 2022, and state Rep. Derek Merrin.

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House GOP leadership, has been boosting Merrin on TV in the district.

Trump has not made an endorsement in the 2024 primary despite having loomed large in the 2022 race. Majewski won the primary two years ago after gaining national fame painting a massive pro-Trump graphic in his front yard.

His campaign was derailed in the general election, though, when the AP reported that he had misrepresented himself as an Air Force “combat veteran” who had served in Afghanistan. Public records showed he had never deployed there and instead had spent several months on a base in Qatar, the AP said.

Majewski denied the report and went on to lose to Kaptur by 13 percentage points.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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