March 2, 2024
A top Ohio Democrat is breaking with President Joe Biden in a new campaign advertisement, hammering the president over his trade policy as she seeks reelection in a district newly redrawn to favor Republicans.

A top Ohio Democrat is breaking with President Joe Biden in a new campaign advertisement, hammering the president over his trade policy as she seeks reelection in a district newly redrawn to favor Republicans.

In the spot, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) criticizes Biden for “letting Ohio solar manufacturers be undercut by China.”

But Kaptur has been “fighting back” against the president while “working with Republican Rob Portman” to protect the state’s jobs.

The message is a 180-degree turn from Kaptur, who has typically offered Biden her emphatic praise.

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Just a few weeks ago, Kaptur welcomed Biden as he stepped off of Air Force One at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport for his sixth visit to the state since taking office, beaming in one photograph as the president held her hand to his mouth and kissed it.

In an interview with NBC before Biden’s arrival, the congresswoman declared, “I mean, this man is going to go down in history as a great president.”

However, some prominent Ohio Democrats were out of sight during the visit, including Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), who, in his quest to flip a Republican Senate seat, has been sharply critical of Biden.

And long before Kaptur, Ryan zeroed in on a populist message about trade with China hurting jobs in the United States.

“China. It’s definitely China,” Ryan said in his first campaign ad. “One word: China. It is us versus China.”

The Democratic president, who has come under fire for his handling of Trump-era tariffs on solar energy imports, has not yet revealed his decision on whether to lift former President Donald Trump’s stiff China tariffs.

Trump twice carried the state, though Kaptur’s district bordering Lake Erie has long leaned Democrat.

That changed with a remapping set to take effect in the next election, with Kaptur’s district moving from one that Biden won by 19 percentage points in the last presidential election to one Trump would have carried.

After taking office in 1983, the congresswoman now confronts newly challenging odds to hold the seat. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report has categorized the race as a Democratic toss-up, moving to an R+3 rating from D+9 one year ago.

The White House has been celebrating a string of recent legislative wins that Biden’s top advisers believe can propel Democrats forward in the midterm elections. Part of the White House’s strategy for the midterm elections is selling the administration’s policies to voters on the road.

Yet the new ad suggests Biden’s victories may do little to help Democrats in challenging races.

Kaptur is facing off against J.R. Majewski, an Air Force veteran who painted a giant Trump campaign logo on his lawn in 2020, whom she called an “extremist” in the ad. Trump in June endorsed Majewski.

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Kaptur’s effort to distance herself from Biden in the countdown to Election Day might be too late.

Despite the claim that she is “fighting back” against Biden, Kaptur has voted with Biden 100% of the time, according to FiveThirtyEight’s tally.

Republicans on Friday began circulating a video of Kaptur on the 2020 campaign trail promising to work for Biden if he was elected.

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