Candidates often court endorsements of well known elected officials believing it will help them establish credibility with voters. This doesn’t necessarily translate into a win as Congressional candidates that Jim Jordan found out on Tuesday night.
The Ohio Congressman was looking to pick up some new members of the Freedom Caucus by endorsing candidates in open seats in his home state’s 12th and 16th districts. Although Jordan is well known to Ohio Republicans, his endorsements didn’t allow these two candidates to seal the deal with voters in their districts.
Congressman Jim Renacci’s bid for US Senate has left a vacancy in the 16th District. Jordan put his name on Christina Hagan, a member of the Ohio House of Representatives. Hagan was appointed to the Ohio House while in college. She has held that seat, which her father previously held, yet she constantly railed against career politicians and draining the swamp.
Hagan’s campaign was a mix of hypocrisy, a little bit of xenophobia directed at her Cuban-American opponent, and a whole big dose of religion. All of this plus a promise to join the Freedom Caucus apparently gained Jordan’s approval and endorsement.
However, this wasn’t a winning combination for Republican primary voters in the Northeastern Ohio district. Hagan took a nosedive, losing 53 to 40 to Anthony Gonzalez on Tuesday night.
Jordan’s pick of Melanie Leneghan in OH-12 fared better but had a similar end result. Congressman Pat Tiberi left this seat vacant. Tiberi endorsed Troy Balderson while Jordan went all in on Leneghan In this competition with a crowded field, Tiberi’s pick was the last one standing as Leneghan fell short. Troy Balderson was declared the winner in that special election.
Jim Jordan’s endorsement didn’t have enough of an impact to move the needle to victory for these two candidates seeking to serve alongside him in Congress. Jordan’s backing didn’t mean much to Ohio Congressional voters outside of his district. He won his own primary, but these two candidates Jordan wanted to join the Freedom Caucus didn’t get approval at the ballot box.