Kaptur: This year we flew into the eye of the stormWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Incumbent Democrat Marcy Kaptur clinched her 15th term in the U.S. House of Representatives Nov. 2, successfully navigating a contentious race that attracted national media attention to defeat Republican Rich Iott with about 60 percent of the vote.
A crowd of about 100 Democratic supporters and campaign workers gathered at the United Auto Workers Local 12 building in Toledo to watch election results. Around 11 p.m., Kaptur arrived and addressed the cheering crowd, saying “We did it!”
“This year we flew into the eye of the storm and we never yielded,” Kaptur told the crowd. “All across our country the American people sent a message that Washington better focus on jobs, on our economy, on the future of the middle class. People were trying to send a message. They have sent a message, we better listen.”
Iott – perhaps the toughest competitor Kaptur had faced in years – came out as a strong contender, but his campaign was hurt in October when photographs surfaced of Iott dressed as a Nazi soldier during a reenactment event. The images attracted national media attention.
Kaptur has represented the 9th Congressional District in northern Ohio since 1983. Already the senior-most woman in the House, Kaptur will now likely be the second most senior member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee.
“To make an economy grow doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen in one Congress,” Kaptur told Toledo Free Press. “It means for someone like myself I have additional responsibility in a new Congress as a senior member to really try to move the institution to help create jobs and to help the middle class push forward and out of the recession that we’ve been experiencing. So it’s really a call to listen to what the people have said and to translate that into action that will help them not hurt them more.”
Kaptur said the shift from a Democratically controlled House to a Republican one means bipartisan action will be needed to keep the economy on an even keel.
“I don’t think the public is in the mood for any shenanigans on either side of the aisle. I think they expect cooperation and they expect us to do a good job on their behalf.”
Kaptur said her main focus going forward will continue to be jobs and the economy.
“For me, the primary focus has always been jobs and the economy. It’s why I first ran for office and it’s why I still run for office. And fighting some of the forces that prevent us from creating more jobs in this country and not having them sucked away to other places. The American people want results on the job front and we have to deliver that.”
Kaptur said she couldn’t speak to how much difference the Nazi photo controversy may have made in the race, but said she felt campaign spending was a more important factor.
“We were outspent four to one in this race and if that kind of spending had not been part of the equation I think that we may have been able to pick up some additional percentage points, but it was a huge amount of money that (Iott) was able to self-fund and it’s an example of, I think, overspending in the race,” Kaptur said. “We need campaign finance reform across this country. Any members that went down, went down in areas where they were outspent five and 10 to one. That shouldn’t be what a democratic republic is all about and so I think the money factor was the most important factor.”
Campaign manager Josh Thurston said Kaptur spent the afternoon visiting polling places and volunteer centers in the eastern portions of her district, including Erie, Lorain and Ottawa counties.
As of 1 a.m. Nov. 3, with 93 percent of precincts reporting, Kaptur had received 110,542 votes (59 percent) to Iott’s 78,150 (41 percent).
Only once since 1984 has Kaptur received less than 70 percent of the vote – in 2004 against Larry Kaczala.