Reader poll rebukes arch-right congressman in deep-red corner of district
Norwalk, Ohio – Freedom Caucus founder and Speaker of the House candidate Congressman Jim Jordan is favored by just twenty percent of voters in a Norwalk Reflector reader poll of congressional choices for the November 6 election. The poll, from October 1-8, shows Democrat Janet Garrett garnering seventy-five percent support from responders over the Republican incumbent embroiled in a sexual assault scandal at The Ohio State University.
Janet Garrett is a retired schoolteacher and union president who has attracted national attention for frankly discussing a violent sexual assault at the hands of her ex-husband, and how the authorities’ refusal to act spurred her to speak out. Jim Jordan is under investigation after student-wrestlers accused him of ignoring rampant sexual abuse at the hands of a university doctor. Jordan, who helped recruit some of his accusers, denied the allegations by suggesting the wrestlers were part of a deep-state conspiracy designed to thwart his ambitions for Speaker of the House.
The Reflector reported the results after a week of polling, asking respondents who they favored in the race for U.S. Representative. Reader polls are woefully unscientific – counting votes of anyone who chooses to participate, as opposed to respondents chosen to reflect a specific demographic – but can be of interest when compared with similar surveys. In a September Reflector poll for Governor and Attorney General, Republican Mike DeWine out-polled Democrat Rich Cordray 57-38% and the Republican AG candidate bested the Democrat 61–33%. This is Republican territory. Huron County, the Reflector’s readership base, favored Donald Trump by more than two-to-one over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Clearly, something is going on.
Jim Jordan is very unpopular in his district. He has long been criticized for ignoring constituents, and has zero legislative accomplishments in 12 years in Congress. Last month, the conservative Ohio Farm Bureau made Jordan the only Republican in the state not to receive its “Friend of Farmers” endorsement. Meanwhile, Garrett has been very active throughout the gerrymandered, 14-county district and has garnered national attention with an aggressive Twitter presence and the release of a widely-shared Handmaid’s Tale-inspired video attacking Jordan’s extreme stances on women’s health, birth control and opposing the Violence Against Women Act.
The Garrett campaign challenged Jordan to five debates prior to the start of early voting on October 10, but Jordan refused all five. In addition, he is an expected no-show at the Tuesday, October 16th league of Women Voters Candidates Night in Marion. Jordan agreed to just two joint appearances with Garrett: a closed-to-the-public forum for high school students and an event a week before the election in rural New Bremen, Ohio, where the candidates will receive all questions in advance.
Time will tell if the numbers make Jordan re-think his campaign strategy of avoiding Garrett and his district. He has spent most of the 2018 election outside of Ohio, campaigning for far-right Republicans in Texas, Florida, New Mexico, Virginia and other states in his quest to be elected Speaker of the House.
To be eligible for Speaker, Jordan must first win re-election.
Janet Garrett: @Janet4OH
Jim Jordan: @Jim_Jordan
Mike Larsen: @writemikelarsen