One more Democrat steps down from Ohio Congressional Race, Endorses Republican Competitor

Rather than endorsing the other Democrat, one of the two Democrats running for Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District dropped out on Tuesday and endorsed a Republican.

Joe Wessels, a Loveland resident and Democratic candidate, and Republican congressional candidate Phil Heimlich, of Symmes Township, announced the move in a joint news statement.

Wessels decided not to support the other Democrat in the election, Chillicothe resident Samantha Meadows. A few weeks ago, the Ohio Democratic Party chose Meadows over Wessels.

In the release, Wessels discussed the challenges of winning the seat as a Democrat. The 2nd Congressional District is among the most Republican in the state, with Trump winning by a three-to-one margin in 2020.

“This district is the most red in Ohio, so it’s an uphill battle for any Democrat,” Wessels said in the statement. “I endorse Phil Heimlich’s efforts to safeguard our democracy and save our country. Full stop.”

Heimlich is a political veteran in the region, having previously served on the Cincinnati City Council and the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners. In recent years, he has become an outspoken anti-Trump Republican, launching a longshot primary race in 2022 against Rep. Warren Davidson, a staunch Trump supporter, in the 8th Congressional District. Heimlich lost by 46 percentage points.

“Unlike my opponents, I value the peaceful transfer of power and prosecuting the insurrectionists who tried to overturn the 2020 election, as well as the political leaders who incited them to violence,” Heimlich stated in an e-mail.

Heimlich is one of 11 Republicans running in the primary for the 2nd Congressional District, which encompasses Clermont County to the east of Cincinnati and covers 14 additional counties in southern Ohio.

Rep. Brad Wesntrup, a Republican from Hillsboro, has represented the district since 2013. He declared in November that he would not seek re-election, citing a desire to spend more time with his family.

The primary is on March 19.


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