Ohio Democratic congresswoman Marcy Kaptur says she's fed up with "people in Washington" who "care only about the coasts." She's been in Congress since 1983 and votes in lockstep with her party's coastal leaders.
In her first ad of the general election cycle, titled "Feeling Squeezed," Kaptur claims "too many of us" are hurting economically because "the people in Washington only care about the coasts." The Democrat should know—she's served in Congress for nearly four decades and votes with President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) 100 percent and 99 percent of the time, respectively. Kaptur also routinely touts her vote in favor of the American Rescue Plan, Biden's $2 trillion stimulus package. Prominent liberal economists say that bill drove the nation's inflation surge.
This is hardly the first time Kaptur has attempted to distance herself from her record as a career politician as she navigates a competitive reelection campaign for the first time in decades. With record-high gas prices seen under Biden driving voters away from Democrats, Kaptur is blaming BP and other "big oil" companies for "gouging consumers." But Kaptur has taken thousands of dollars in campaign cash from major oil and gas companies since 2013, including $12,000 from BP. And when Biden similarly blamed oil and gas companies for "pad[ding] their profits at the expense of hardworking Americans," energy experts debunked the claim.
Bernie Moreno, Ohio chair of the nonpartisan group U.S. Term Limits, said Kaptur's ad proves the Democrat is "desperate" with the midterm elections looming.
"Democrats are desperate for shifting narratives, so they pretend they're something they're not. Because the polling and the public sentiment is crystal clear—people don't want career politicians, so the only way they think they can win is by pretending none of that exists," Moreno told the Washington Free Beacon. "It's unbelievable to see them try to morph into something they're not. For example, Marcy Kaptur, she's been there for 40 years. All the problems she's talking about, well, why didn't you solve those while you were there for four decades?"
Kaptur's campaign did not return a request for comment. Her attempt to distance herself from Washington, D.C., Democrats is particularly bizarre given her unwavering support for Biden. When Biden visited Kaptur's district in February, Kaptur called him the best president she's "walked alongside as a member of Congress." "President Biden, your report card is outstanding for your first year as president," Kaptur added. Just 27 percent of Ohioans approve of Biden, while 62 percent disapprove, according to Civiqs.
Kaptur's February speech explicitly touted Biden's American Rescue Plan, which the Ohio Democrat said would lead to "the modernization of our nation." Instead, former Obama administration economic adviser Larry Summers says the legislation led to inflation. Buckeye Institute research fellow Greg Lawson agrees—he told the Free Beacon Kaptur was "sticking her head in the sand" if she believed Biden's $2 trillion stimulus package wouldn't be inflationary.
"It's a massive amount of money that really wasn't essential and has now created all kinds of reverberation effects," Lawson said. "So at the end of the day, it was a bad deal. And now we're paying for it quite a bit."
Over her nearly 40-year career, Kaptur has won all but three of her reelection bids by at least 20 points. That will almost certainly change in November—Ohio's redistricting process made her district considerably more red, meaning Kaptur will likely face the toughest reelection bid of her career in November. The Democrat is set to face Air Force veteran J.R. Majewski, who won his primary contest by 5 points in May. Roughly two months earlier, Majewski signed a U.S. Term Limits pledge to limit terms for elected officials. Kaptur, meanwhile, said in 1995 that term limits would cause "upheaval" and lead to a "bunch of juvenile congressmen."