Two newcomers challenge 4th Congressional district incumbent

This year’s 4th Congressional District race in Ohio features longtime incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, and two political newcomers — Democrat Shannon Freshour, 46, of Marysville, and Libertarian Steve Perkins, 44, of Pataskala.

The 4th district is known for its duck-like shape and expansive reach, stretching from Champaign County up to include all of Shelby, Union, Logan, Auglaize, Allen, Crawford, Seneca and Sandusky counties and parts of Mercer, Marion, Huron, Erie and Lorain counties.

The job pays $174,000 annually.

Jordan raised nearly $9.2 million and spent nearly $6.8 million, according to ProPublica’s Oct. 9 compilation of reports submitted to the Federal Election Commission. Freshour raised $773,579 and spent $650,523. Perkins raised and spent $66,114.

Outside spending in the race totaled $122,288.

Shannon Freshour

Freshour said she is running because the district needs a representative who will focus on constituent services, such as helping district residents with problems they have accessing Social Security or veterans benefits, and advocating for infrastructure grant money.

Freshour said she supports raising the “insanely low” minimum wage, expanding the Affordable Care Act to make health care coverage universal, protecting Social Security and Medicare, and “ensuring Head Start and schools are protected.” She supports expanded unemployment compensation and additional funding for schools, first responders and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She called President Donald Trump’s response to the pandemic “a failure from top to bottom" and said Senate Republicans are hurting Americans by failing to consider the additional pandemic relief funding the Democratic-controlled House approved in May and September. Jordan voted no both times.

“The idea that we are playing politics with people’s lives is unconscionable," Freshour said.

She said Republicans who are now concerned about the deficit should not have supported the 2017 tax cut.

“The tax cuts should be rolled back," Freshour said. “They did not help the middle class.”

Freshour supports gun law reforms, including universal background checks, red flag laws, and banning private ownership of military style guns and high capacity ammunition magazines.

“We definitely need them off the streets," Freshour said. "They are weapons of war specifically to win military battles.”

She also supports police reforms, banning chokeholds, modifying the qualified immunity laws that protect officers from lawsuits and providing police officers with help for the trauma caused by their jobs.

And, said Freshour, “We need to end systemic racism in our country, which absolutely exists.”

She said companies should be held responsible for failing to lend to minorities, and prison sentencing must be reformed to end racial disparities.

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan

In his 14 years in Congress, Jordan has carved out a niche as point man for Republicans grilling witnesses in hearings, including tin the 2019 impeachment of President Donald Trump and in 2015 testimony by former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.

The goal of his vigorous questioning of witnesses is to “get the truth to the American people,” Jordan said.

Jordan himself has faced questions since 2018 about what he knew regarding sexual abuse allegations lodged against Dr. Richard Strauss, who was the Ohio State University wrestling team doctor during Jordan’s tenure as an assistant coach. Some former wrestlers allege Jordan knew Strauss was abusing athletes but did not report it.

Jordan says it is “totally false” that he was aware of the allegations.

“Look I’m not afraid to stand up and fight. I’ve taken on the speaker of the house (John Boehner) from my own party in my own state, I’ve taken on the next speaker of the house from my own party, and that was Mr. (Paul) Ryan. I’ve taken on the IRS, the FBI," Jordan said. "The idea that I wouldn’t stand up for our own athletes if I thought something wrong was happening is completely ridiculous.”

Jordan is a staunch defender of President Donald Trump and said he’s done a good job handling the pandemic. Jordan tested negative for COVID-19 after traveling with Trump on Air Force One days before Trump was diagnosed with the illness on Oct. 2.

Jordan said the best thing to improve the economy is to fully reopen businesses, and he opposes providing additional federal stimulus to help states offset tax revenue that plummeted during the pandemic.

A co-founder of the conservative Freedom Caucus in 2015, Jordan has a 100 percent average lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union.

Jordan opposes additional controls on guns, including red flag laws or expanded background checks.

He said if Republicans take control of the House he wants to make tax cuts permanent, reduce regulations and "make sure the sanctity of life is protected.”

Steve Perkins

Perkins said he has no political experience “other than hating government.”

“I’m running to protect people from government,” Perkins said. “There’s too many people in government that believe they know what is better for people than they do. I’m running for people to choose their own way.”

He supports ending all taxes and said the IRS should be turned into a “giant GoFundMe" that people could voluntarily contribute money to for funding highways, the military or other government functions they may want to pay for.

“If they’re not paid for, they’re not paid for,” Perkins said.

He called the government’s response to the pandemic “a mixed response of terrible and awful" that shut down much of the economy and hurt businesses. He was also critical of the CARES Act relief that he said will cause high inflation later.

Perkins opposes pandemic-related government mandates, such as the closing of businesses this spring or requiring face masks.

“It’s a medical issue and people know better based on their personal risk what they should do,” Perkins said.

He opposes raising the minimum wage and gun law reforms, including red flag laws. He supports abolishing law enforcement’s qualified immunity from lawsuits and ending no-knock warrants.

“A lot of the racial inequality in law enforcement, which definitely does exist, is largely due to our ineffective drug war," Perkins said. "I’d like to congratulate drugs on winning the war.”

Shannon Freshour

Party: Democrat

Age: 46

Family: Single, no children

Education: Bachelor’s degree in political science and art history, Trinity College; Master’s degree in American government, Johns Hopkins University

Current employment: Congressional candidate; previously was a litigation paralegal

Political Experience: First time candidate


Jim Jordan

Party: Republican

Age: 56

Family: Married, four children and three grandchildren

Education: Bachelor’s degree in economics, University of Wisconsin; Master’s degree in education, Ohio State University; law degree, Capital University

Current employment: Member of U.S. House of Representatives

Political experience: Ohio House of Representatives,1995-2000; Ohio Senate, 2001-2007; U.S. House of Representatives, 2007-current


Steve Perkins

Party: Libertarian

Age: 44

Family: Divorced, one child

Education: Bachelor’s degree in industrial technology education, Bowling Green State University

Current employment: Self-employed technical trainer

Political experience: First time candidate


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