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Elections

ENDORSEMENT: Janet Garrett for U.S. House 4th District

  • Janet-Garrett-Headshot-1-jpg-1

    Janet Garrett, candidate for the 4th District U.S. House seat.

    PHOTO PROVIDED

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Jim Jordan's eyes are his most remarkable feature, not his ears.

Janet Garrett of Oberlin, who is challenging Jordan's re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives, is running TV spots featuring a puppet version of Jordan. In one, he wears a wrestler's ear guard, which serves to highlight accusations that he knew of a doctor's sexual abuse of athletes when he coached wrestling at Ohio State University. In another, he plugs his ears with his fingers so as not to hear accusations that he is anti-woman.

More important that those jibes, though, is his blindness. He is so partisan that he can't see any reason to compromise. It is a fatal flaw in a congressman.

Jordan, R-Urbana, is perfectly willing to seize upon any perceived wrongdoing by Democrats, but too often ignores what his fellow Republicans are up to.

For instance, he told us that he's worried about angry rhetoric from Democrats, and he pointed to those who have driven conservatives from restaurants as an example of the dangers posed by the left.

He said he didn't see the same sort of aggressive language coming from Republicans. A few hours after we spoke to Jordan on Thursday, President Donald Trump went on stage at a rally in Montana and praised a congressman for physically assaulting a reporter.

Or take Jordan's views on the 2016 campaign. He is convinced a cabal within federal law enforcement conspired to deprive Trump of the presidency, but he seemed far less concerned with Russian interference.

Were Jordan to turn his oversight guns on Republicans and Democrats in equal measure, he would be the champion of accountability he proclaims himself to be.

Unfortunately, it's a task Jordan has abdicated, but one Garrett, a Democrat, said she was willing to take on.

"Congress has a responsibility and a duty to be a check on the president," the former public school teacher said.

Jordan acknowledged that he might be the most conservative member of Congress. If not, then as a leader of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus he's certainly close.

Jordan hopes to parlay his national stature as a conservative warrior and close ally of Trump (whom he once claimed with a straight face never to have heard lie), into replacing retiring U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, as speaker of the House.

Part of the reason Jordan can afford to be so partisan is the gerrymandered nature of his district, which in Lorain County includes the cities of Amherst, Elyria and Oberlin, the villages of Grafton, Kipton, Sheffield and South Amherst, and the townships of Amherst, Camden, Carlisle, Elyria, Henrietta, New Russia, Pittsfield and Sheffield.

Garrett's campaign is fond of proclaiming that the 4th Congressional District is "Janet Garrett country." That may be true in Lorain County, where she took 56.4 percent of the vote in 2016 and 55.2 percent in 2014, but the county is only one of 14 in a district drawn to strongly favor Republicans.

In 2016, Jordan received a whooping 68 percent of the vote. In 2014, he garnered 67.7 percent.

Garrett does have some things going for her this year beyond her clever commercials (another invoked "The Handmaid's Tale" to attack Jordan's record on women's issues).

She's been on the ballot enough that her name recognition has likely increased, and she outraised Jordan in the last reporting period, raking in $351,000 compared to Jordan's $257,000 haul.

There is also the lingering scandal from Jordan's time at OSU in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Jordan has denied wrongdoing, and he has suggested the athletes who claim he ignored their complaints are part of some sort of conspiracy against him.

"Everyone sees through this story," he told us.

We don't know what Jordan knew or didn't know, but we do know there are people who believe the former wrestlers over Jordan.

Although Jordan talked up the strength of the economy under Trump, he has argued that conservatives should follow through on other campaign promises, including repealing Obamacare, building a border wall, defunding Planned Parenthood, cutting spending and reforming welfare.

Those are Jordan's priorities, although we're not convinced they're the top issues for most Americans, let alone those in the northern part of the district.

Garrett, by contrast, told us she would represent the interests of everyone in the district, including those who voted against her. She said she wanted to help everyone, "not just the special interests and rich" that she contended Jordan has served.

She talked of the importance of ensuring access to health care, reasonable gun control and strategic tariffs (she compared Trump's approach to using a "sledgehammer").

Voters would be better served with Garrett in Washington seeing to their interests. Garrett a better choice than Jordan



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