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Ohio's Marcy Kaptur hangs on for 21st term in the House

The 9th District was one of three competitive House seats on the ballot in Ohio, and Democrats swept all three, according to NBC News projections.
Rep. Marcy Kaptur speaks during a House Rules Committee meeting
Rep. Marcy Kaptur at a Rules Committee meeting in Washington on July 26, 2021.Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images file

Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur has won a tough re-election battle in Ohio, NBC News projects, positioning her to become the longest-serving woman in congressional history when her new term begins.

Kaptur defeated Republican J.R. Majewski, a right-wing candidate whose prospects plummeted after The Associated Press reported that he had misrepresented his military service.

National Republicans had high hopes of picking up the Toledo-area seat after redistricting folded in territory more favorable to the GOP. They targeted Kaptur, first elected in 1982, as a career politician with few accomplishments and an unshakable loyalty to President Joe Biden. 

Kaptur was unapologetic about her admiration for Biden in interviews this year, asserting that her desire “to help Joe as much as I can” factored into her decision to seek a 21st term. But the race with Majewski — who had garnered notice for painting his yard in a likeness of former President Donald Trump and attending the "Stop the Steal" rally that led to the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol — became competitive. And Kaptur began to distance herself from Biden.

“Marcy Kaptur: She doesn’t work for Joe Biden — she works for you,” a narrator said in a Kaptur ad over the summer.

Majewski, an Air Force veteran who has denied entering the Capitol on Jan. 6, scored a shoutout from Trump at a rally before the May primary, in which he bested two experienced state legislators. Trump endorsed him after he secured the nomination. But after The AP, citing military documents obtained through a public records request, reported that Majewski had never been deployed to Afghanistan as he had claimed, the National Republican Congressional Committee canceled nearly $1 million in ad spending.

The 9th District contest was one of three competitive congressional elections on the ballot in Ohio. Democrats swept all three, according to NBC News projections.

In the 1st District, longtime Republican Rep. Steve Chabot faced a challenge from Democrat Greg Landsman, a member of the Cincinnati City Council. NBC News projected Landsman would win, flipping the seat for Democrats.

Meanwhile, in the redrawn 13th District, Democratic state Rep. Emilia Sykes won an open seat over Republican Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, an attorney and former Miss Ohio USA.

Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat who ran for the Senate this year, represents the 13th District as currently configured. But a redistricting process that required Ohio to lose a seat separated much of Ryan’s Youngstown-area base from the Akron-Canton area that Sykes will represent.

Ohio’s new congressional map is expected to change again before the 2024 elections as the state Supreme Court demands boundaries that satisfy a voter-approved constitutional amendment aimed at ending partisan gerrymandering.