The three-way race for Ohio’s 1st Congressional district is attracting some big money for candidates seeking to represent all of Warren County and most of Hamilton County.
The candidates are U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Cincinnati, Democrat Kate Schroder, 43, of Cincinnati and Libertarian Kevin David Kahn, 51, of Sims Twp. in Hamilton County.
Outside groups have spent $6.2 million, with the bulk of it spent by the Republican and Democratic party congressional campaign committees, according to ProPublica’s Oct. 16 summary of Federal Election Commission data.
As of Sept. 30 Schroder had outraised and outspent Chabot and Kahn, according to ProPublica’s FEC data. Schroder’s campaign raised nearly $3.2 million and spent $2.7 million. Chabot’s campaign raised nearly $2.9 million and spent $2.1 million. Kahn raised $11,353 and spent $6,885.
The job pays $174,000 annually.
U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot
Chabot, 67, said he is a proud conservative with a 96.57 percent lifetime average rating from the American Conservative Union but has found common ground with Democrats on some issues.
A supporter of the bipartisan CARES Act pandemic relief law that Congress passed in March, Chabot said the Paycheck Protection Program was a boon to small businesses and he wants another round of business loans.
New business loan funding was in the two House-passed HEROS Act bills, which were never considered by the U.S. Senate. Chabot said he voted against those two bills because they cost too much money.
Chabot said he supports following scientists' advice on COVID-19, including wearing face masks and social distancing. Asked his opinion of President Donald Trump’s handling of the crisis, Chabot said, "We should always strive to do better. I can’t really answer for the president but we need to defeat this virus. It’s killed far too many Americans.”
In 2017 Chabot voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a Republican bill, which he said covered pre-existing conditions. That GOP bill, which failed in the Senate, would have eliminated ACA caps on what insurers could charge for that coverage, according to the Poynter Institute’s Politifact .
He opposes negotiating lower drug prices for the Medicare program but was one of 47 co-sponsors in 2019 of a bill that he said would have made pricing more transparent and drugs more affordable if it had passed.
Chabot supported the 2017 tax cuts and said he would like to further lower taxes. The lost federal revenue could be offset by cutting Medicare and Medicaid costs through more competition and price transparency, Chabot said.
He says he opposes the Green New Deal, a bill to address climate change that he said would be too costly and allow other countries to beat the U.S. economically. He accuses Schroder of supporting the bill but she says she does not.
In August Chabot filed a civil lawsuit in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court accusing Schroder of defaming him in advertisements that mention an FBI investigation of money missing from his campaign. Chabot said he learned of the missing money about a year ago and is in the midst of a forensic audit of his campaign account. Chabot said he was “a victim of a crime” and that a former campaign employee is under investigation. No one has been charged and FBI spokesman Todd Lindgren declined to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.
“Voters deserve to know about the missing $123,000 from Steve Chabot’s campaign and the FBI investigation looking into it," Schroder said. "Steve Chabot still has a lot of unanswered questions about this issue, and the voters deserve answers.”
On gun policy, Chabot says he does not support additional gun control measures but did support the Stop School Violence Act approved in 2018 to provide funding to harden schools against attacks.
Chabot said he supports improving police-community relations using Cincinnati’s model. He said there are “a few bad cops out there" and he believes disciplinary records should be available to communities looking at hiring officers from another jurisdiction. Chabot opposes eliminating qualified immunity.
He said there is still racism in the U.S and governments must have fair policies.
“Police officers who have done things that are racially motivated should be held accountable," Chabot said. "All lives do matter. Black lives, every life.”
Schroder is a cancer survivor and said she knows first hand the fear of being unable to find affordable health insurance due to her pre-existing condition if the ACA is overturned when the U.S. Supreme Court hears a challenge supported by the Trump Administration.
“I’m running against someone who has voted multiple times to take health care away,” Schroder said of Chabot. "He supports Trump 95 percent of the time. He’s done nothing to stop this lawsuit to take healthcare away.”
Schroder’s background is in health care. She was a consultant doing best practice research for hospitals before joining Clinton Health Access Initiative, Inc., focusing on HIV treatment in Africa and then pediatric medicine in the U.S.
“My career has been focused on using business skills to resolve public health challenges,” she said.
Schroder said the availability of health care is intricately tied to the economy and she slammed the Trump Administration’s response to the pandemic.
“I think it has been terribly mismanaged and we have paid the price for that in loss of lives,” Schroder said.
She said the CARES Act had a huge positive impact in the 1st district. But she said the HEROS Act needs to be passed in the Senate to provide funding to the unemployed and families, help local governments, and pay for more testing and personal protective equipment for first responders and schools.
“People are suffering,” Schroder said.
She said investing in infrastructure, including the deteriorating Brent Spence Bridge in Cincinnati, will help rebuild the economy and put people to work.
Schroder said a “huge contributor" to the deficit was the 2017 tax cut that mostly benefited the wealthiest Americans. She opposes raising taxes on the middle class.
Schroder also supports gun policy reforms, including expanded background checks, red flag laws, limits on military-style weapons and overturning the ban on federal studies of gun violence.
She called for reforms in law enforcement, including banning chokeholds and strangleholds and adopting better policies on de-escalation and use of force. She advocated using Cincinnati’s model to improve police-community relations.
“I have never supported defunding the police. I do support meaningful reform that allows increased fair and impartial policing and increased accountability," Schroder said. “I think we can be pro-public safety and pro-police and at the same time pro-police reform.”
If elected, Schroder said she wants to focus on uniting people.
“I think we’ve been electing people that are divisive, that focus on pulling us apart,” Schroder said. “We are at risk of losing our democracy."
Kahn said he was inspired to run for office when he and his wife, who is from Mongolia, returned to the U.S. with their small child and were challenged to prove she was their child.
He said it was frightening and prompted him to contact the Libertarian Party and become a candidate for Congress.
“I think we need some independent voices in Congress,” Kahn said.
He wants to reform immigration laws to allow more people to come to the country as long as they can pass security checks and get a job. He doesn’t support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people already in the country but says there should be a way for them to be legally permitted to stay.
Kahn says he also wants to reform the way Congress pays for things, saying the national debt is too high.
“I’m the only candidate in this race who says every budget should be balanced otherwise I wouldn’t support it," Kahn said.
He opposes both the CARES Act and the proposed HEROS Act and said the government should instead give every taxpayer a monthly stipend of $1,000 to $2,000 to spend as they see fit.
Kahn opposes limits on guns and said people have the right to be armed “to protect themselves in their homes and against oppression by a tyrannical government.”
He wants to end the war on drugs, eliminate no-knock warrants and civil forfeiture, eliminate qualified immunity and require police officers to have misconduct insurance.
Family: Wife, two children, one grandchild
Education: bachelor’s degree, College of William and Mary; juris doctor, Northern Kentucky University
Current employment: Member of U.S. House of Representatives
Political experience: U.S. House of Representatives, 1995-2009 and 2011-present; Hamilton County Commission, 1990 to 1995; Cincinnati City Council, 1985 to 1990.
Family: Married, two children
Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science, Indiana University; master’s in business administration, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Current employment: Congressional candidate; Clinton Health Access Initiative Inc. 2007-2019.
Political experience: First time candidate; member Cincinnati board of health, 2016 present; legislative correspondent for then-U.S. Senator Evan Bayh, D-Indiana, 1999-2001; chief of staff for then-Cincinnati City Councilmember John Cranley, 2001-2002
Family: Married, two children
Education: Bachelors degree in international politics, Middlebury College; master’s degree in international studies, University of Washington; master’s in business administration, University of Southern California
Current employment: Owner of K2 Industrial Controls of Cincinnati
Political experience: First time candidate
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