Home » GOP candidate pushing term limits seeks unseat vulnerable 41-year Dem incumbent: ‘Our country is in trouble’

GOP candidate pushing term limits seeks unseat vulnerable 41-year Dem incumbent: ‘Our country is in trouble’

by John Jefferson
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A Republican Senate candidate in northwest Ohio is setting his sights on a congressional seat held by a vulnerable Democrat incumbent in a race that he says comes down to a clash between the entrenched establishment class and the voters.

“People locally have encouraged me to run for Congress for years,” Republican Ohio state Rep. Derek Merrin, 38, told Fox News Digital about his decision to run for the seat held by Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur. “I finally decided to pull the trigger. I’m a constitutional conservative. I believe our country is in trouble because the federal government has gone outside the bounds of the Constitution and is doing many things that should be left up to the states and the premise of my campaign is that America is the greatest country in the history of the world, and I’m fighting to preserve the American dream for everyone in northwest Ohio.

Merrin believes his previous electoral victories in northwest Ohio — home to Ohio’s 9th Congressional District that Kaptur has represented since 1983 — put him in a good position to challenge the 41-year Democratic incumbent. He once defeated a three-term incumbent in a race for mayor of Waterville, Ohio, as a 21-year-old.

Generally, about 50% of the vote in Ohio’s 9th District comes from Lucas County, where both Merrin and Kaptur are from. Merrin told Fox News Digital that his ability historically to win votes in that county will be key to his success in November.

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[Kaptur] historically runs up the numbers in Lucas County, and it’s imperative that we have a Republican that can stop her in Lucas County and that’s why it’s important to have someone that lives here and has a proven record of getting elected,” Merrin said.

When it comes to Kaptur’s record in Congress, Merrin told Fox News Digital the “majority of voters”  in his district agree with him on most policy issues, especially when it comes to immigration, spending, taxes, and energy policy.

Marcy Kaptur is completely out of step with our district, and voters are going to see if we have the resources to get our message out, which we will, that they’re more aligned with my positions and with Marcy Kaptur.”

Merrin, leader of the Ohio House Republican Caucus, explained that voters in his district are looking for an “authentic” candidate who will stand up to both parties.

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Marcy Kaptur

The majority of people agree with me on positions. There’s people that don’t but still vote for me because they realize I’m fighting against the establishment and doing what’s best for the people,” Merrin said, pointing to Kaptur’s track record of consistently voting with President Biden. 

Fox News Digital previously reported that Kaptur has introduced just five bills that have ultimately become law, although many bills she co-sponsored have become law.

She’s rarely in the district, she spent more time having brunch overlooking the Potomac River than she has overlooking Lake Erie,” Merrin said. “People really don’t see her.”

Over the next few days before the primary, Merrin told Fox News Digital that his message will be focused on three key issues.

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Number one, we must stop the invasion at the southern border,” Merrin said. “We must secure the border. Number two, we must balance the budget. I believe in a constitutional amendment to put lawmakers in a box and force them to do the right thing and balance the budget. I’ve taken a pledge not to raise taxes. Number three is I say we must take on and combat the political class of this country, and that’s Democrats and Republicans. We need to enact term limits on members of Congress and bring the bad ones and the good ones home.

“Our Founding Fathers never meant our government to have people sitting in Congress for 20 to 30 years, and in Marcy Kaptur’s case, for 41 years. Our government was never designed like this, and these guys need to come home.”

Ohioans will head to the polls on Tuesday, March 19 to vote in the GOP primary and Merrin is facing two other Republican candidates in that race, former state Rep. Craig Riedel, and real estate broker Steve Lankenau.

If Merrin were to advance past Tuesday’s primary, the general election race is expected to be a tight one with Kaptur defending her seat in a district that Trump won by three points in 2020. The Cook Political report ranks the race as a “Lean Democrat” contest that Republicans are targeting as an opportunity to hold and improve on their slim majority in the House.

Fox News Digital reached out to the Kaptur’s team for comment but did not receive a response.

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