Ohio GOP Candidate Who Used a Slur Drops Out (Again)

In 2022, JR Majewski dropped out for lying about his army combat experience.

Tom E. Puskar/AP

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Ohio Republican JR Majewski dropped out (again) on Saturday, after he used a slur for intellectually disabled people on a podcast last week. Majewski was running for the GOP nomination to fight Democratic incumbent Rep. Marcy Kaptur in November. Kaptur’s seat in Ohio’s Ninth Congressional district is one of just five nationwide where a Democrat has successfully won in a district where Trump carried the vote in 2020. Ohio Republicans are desperate to unseat Kaptur, but Majewski, who has courted controversy his entire political career, which includes losing to Kaptur in 2022, was going to make it particularly difficult. 

Majewski appeared on a podcast released last week in which he said Democrats live in their mother’s basement but “talk shit on the internet.” That, in his estimation, makes Democrats “like being in the Special Olympics. No matter how good you perform, you’re still fucking retarded.”

As Mother Jones’ Julia Métraux explained last week when the controversy first broke, the term “retarded” was once widely accepted, but, while still used, is considered a slur.

The phrase used by Majewski became a medical term in the 19th century to describe people with intellectual disabilities and insinuates they are slow. It is now widely considered to be a slur, but it is still commonly used in state legislation and even popular culture. A 2010 law did require the federal government to update language from “mental retardation” to “intellectual disability” in laws that mention disability.

It’s not clear how Majewski’s departure will affect the race, but House Republican leadership is definitely breathing a sigh of relief—Speaker of the House Mike Johnson and other top House Republicans had actively sought to undermine Majewski’s candidacy, Politico reports. They brought his latest comments to the attention of Donald Trump, who in the past has been a close ally of Majewski. 

Kaptur easily beat Majewski in 2022, despite competing in a district that Trump won by several percentage points in 2020. Kaptur’s 2022 victory was helped by revelations about Majewski’s past—including time spent as a pro-Trump, QAnon-friendly rapper and claims that he was deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11 where he endured grueling conditions (he was not and did not). Despite his drubbing in 2022, Majewski was determined to challenge Kaptur again—though he dropped out briefly last year and then rejoined the race—and picked up strong support from other Ohio Republicans, including an endorsement from Sen. J.D. Vance.

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