A Republican candidate for the U.S. House in Ohio who has promoted the conspiracy theory QAnon and attended the Jan. 6 “Stop The Steal” rally in Washington, D.C., won his primary Tuesday night.
J.R. Majewski, an Air Force veteran and political newcomer, won in a crowded field to advance to a November race against long-time Democratic incumbent Rep. Marcy Kaptur, the longest-serving woman in House history.
Prior to entering electoral politics, Majewski first received the attention of the national media and former President Donald Trump during the summer of 2020, when he painted his lawn to look like a giant Trump reelection banner. He appeared on Fox News to talk about his yard while wearing a QAnon T-shirt, suggesting support for the pro-Trump conspiracy theory based on the unsubstantiated belief that the former president is working to take down a powerful cabal of child-eating pedophiles. Trump praised Majewski and his lawn.
According to Media Matters, a liberal media watchdog group, Majewski has also posted a number of QAnon-affiliated images and hashtags on his instagram, including #WWG1WGA, an abbreviation of the QAnon slogan “where we go one, we go all.” Media Matters also found that Majewski has close ties to RedPill78, a prominent QAnon influencer who has been banned from multiple social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, for promoting the violent conspiracy theory.
Majewski and the person behind the RedPill78 account reportedly traveled to Washington together ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection, though he has said he only attended the “Stop the Steal” rally where Trump spoke ahead of the riots and did not breach the Capitol. A number of Twitter users have publicly thanked him for funding their travel to Washington to protest the certification of President Biden’s electoral victory.
Majewski, who has not previously run for elected office, won with 36% of the vote in the four-person field, two of them elected officials. Ohio State Rep. Craig Riedel finished second, and state Sen. Theresa Gavarone, who faced criticism that she had moved to the district just to run for the seat, finished third with 29%.
Trump did not formally endorse Majewski, but did speak highly of him at a rally last month, saying, “He’s been carving the name Trump on his farm and those planes would pass over that farm. You know who I’m talking about. And he’s a great guy and he’s in there fighting for whatever the hell he’s fighting for. I don’t care. I love him, J.R. Majewski.” Majewski used part of the Trump quote in one of his final campaign ads.
On his YouTube channel, Majewski posted a video endorsement from Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a QAnon hero who has previously posted various phrases and slogans associated with the conspiracy group.
He will face Kaptur, a Democrat who has served in Congress since first winning her seat in 1982. She’s a member of the House Appropriations Committee, serving as the chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development.
Kaptur has won by comfortable margins in recent races in what had been a safely Democratic seat. The district runs along Lake Erie in the state’s north, including sections of both Cleveland and Toledo. But due to the latest round of redistricting, the district now includes the rural northwest section of the state, making it far more competitive in the general election. The final outline of the new district is still in flux as the battle over congressional maps continues, as Republican-drawn maps have been repeatedly rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court.
Kaptur, 75, might have been expected to retire given her lengthy tenure and the likelihood she will now run in a tossup district in what many predict will be a tough year for Democrats. The lawmaker explained her decision to NBC News, citing the “this invention of nontruths” around the 2020 election that led to the Jan. 6 rally attended by Majewski.
“Joe Biden is the first president in my lifetime — and that's one reason I’m running again, because I’m going to help Joe as much as I can — that sort of gets it,” she said. “He's a coastal guy from Delaware. ... But he grew up the son of a man who lost his job. And that matters.”