Meet Democrat Janet Garrett, the retired teacher and former union leader who is trying for the third time to unseat Rep. Jim Jordan, the conservative lawmaker who continues to fight allegations that he turned a blind eye to rampant sexual abuse at Ohio State in the 1990s.
Garrett lost to Jordan in Ohio’s Fourth Congressional District by 35 points in 2014. She lost by 36 points in 2016, when the district went for Donald Trump by a wide margin. Garrett is running an uphill battle; projection models expect her to lose and the district is rated “safely Republican.”
But she says everything has changed in 2018; Trump’s win was a call for new faces in Washington, and Democrats have found success this year in places where Trump won by wide margins less than two years ago. Garrett has raised just shy of $200,000 in campaign contributions, according to her campaign manager Zachary Stepp, and already has had several offers to hold fundraisers in California, which she says she’s considering doing. She came short of reaching six-figures in fundraising in 2016 and didn’t even come close in 2014.
A Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee aide told Vox that the official campaign arm for House Democrats is monitoring the district closely, and always looking for opportunities to make more races competitive — like when a Republican is scandal-plagued.
The money started pouring in after Jordan made headlines attacking Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in a House committee hearing on the FBI’s Russia investigations. Then Jordan’s alleged connection to the Ohio State investigation into a former athletic doctor, Richard Strauss, who allegedly groped student-athletes across 14 sports, gave donors more reason to fill Garrett’s coffers.
Though Garrett has already called the allegations “serious” and demanded a thorough investigation, she is otherwise steering her campaign clear of the drama. She’s following the same playbook Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) played in Alabama when faced with Republican Roy Moore’s alleged sexual misconduct with minors: Let the scandal play out and stick to the message….
Image…Courtesy of Janet Garrett for Congress