For the third time, Democratic contender Janet Garrett will attempt to unseat Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) for Ohio’s Fourth Congressional District spot in the U.S. House of Representatives.
In 2014 and 2016, Jordan defeated Garrett by over a two-to-one margin.
The challenger, however, feels backlash over President Donald Trump and Jordan’s stance on health care could be enough to write a different story this time around.
Garrett announced her 2018 candidacy Aug. 3 at the Oberlin Public Library during a meeting held by Lorain County Rising, a local Indivisible group.
“I knew I was going to run as soon as the election was over last year,” said Garrett. “I learned a lot in the first campaign and learned even more on the second one. We’ve got a plan mapped out from here to Election Day. We’re going to raise an army with committees and team leaders in every town. The Democrats are really energized. Every place I go and talk to people, I ask who wasn’t politically active until Trump was elected. There’s always many people who raise their hands.”
Garrett said that during a recent meeting in Maumee, where single-payer health care was discussed with roughly 100 attendees, about a third admitted to being newcomers to the political arena.
“People are really energized and sick of what’s been going on,” she said. “There’s going to be a Democratic tidal wave going through Congress in 2018 and I’m going to ride that wave.”
Gerrymandering has been a subject of increased scrutiny across the country since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in May that Republican-drawn voter districts in North Carolina were designed to limit minority voting.
In Ohio, a June analysis by the Associated Press concluded that Democrats would have at least one more representative in Congress and five more in the Ohio House without the influence of gerrymandered districts, which were created by Republican state legislators after the 2010 census.
A petition created by a group named Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio is now being circulated in an attempt to eliminate partisan gerrymandering, which Democrats have also been accused of in states like Maryland and Massachusetts.
“I have signed the petition and I certainly support their efforts,” said Garrett. “It would be a wonderful thing if the Supreme Court did away with the entire thing. A lot of people really want democracy to work and what we have right now isn’t democracy.”
Garret said skewed districts are responsible for only four Democrats in the Ohio House despite the party garnering more than 40 percent of the vote statewide in 2016.
“These results aren’t proportionate to the voter turnout,” she said. “Part of the problem too has been overall turnout among Democratic voters, but if they all come out, Republicans are going to be in big trouble.”
A clear, progressive agenda free of big money influence is key in turning the tide back toward Democrats in the face of the party’s historic number of losses in state, congressional, and gubernational races since 2010, Garrett said.
“Bernie Sanders, even though he’s been in the Senate for years and years, came out of nowhere onto the national stage,” she said. “He almost knocked off the establishment candidate. On the Republican side, they rejected all of the establishment candidates.
“That tells you the people are looking for new answers. They made a terrible choice as far as president is concerned, but people are just fed up with the establishment. We absolutely have to shift the focus of government away from just supporting the ultra rich.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.