Latest twist in Ohio's tumultuous congressional primary calms GOP concerns.

Columbus — Establishment Republicans hoping to flip a Democratic seat this fall by beating the longest-serving woman in Congress are relieved by the weekend suspension of a difficult congressional campaign in northwest Ohio.

Saturday, former Republican candidate J.R. Majewski halted his campaign for Ohio's 9th Congressional District three days after claiming he would continue. The shift was the latest in a wild GOP primary for Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur's seat.

After serving in Congress since 1983, Kaptur, 77, is one of the most vulnerable House Democrats this year. She defeated Majewski 13-points two years ago. On X, formerly Twitter, Majewski said, “It’s been a great ride,” leaving the campaign to focus on electing Donald Trump in November.

Majewski said his opponents were preparing to resurrect 2022 military service allegations, which would have added to his pressure over podcast comments criticizing Special Olympics competitors. The Federal Election Commission reported that a new Ohio Truth PAC planned $373,000 in attack commercials against Majewski.

“J.R. Majewski’s decision puts the team first, allowing Republicans to unite and focus on defeating Marcy Kaptur,” said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Mike Marinella. The letter contains Marcy Kaptur's retirement announcement.

Unity isn't quite right now. Republican loyalty is divided between latecomer Derek Merrin, backed by U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, and former state Rep. Craig Riedel, who still has the support of pro-Trump U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan and other prominent local Republicans.

Merrin was hired after Riedel called Trump “arrogant” and warned he may not endorse him. This was devastating in a state that twice strongly supported Trump for president, despite Riedel lately became a Trump supporter. Johnson and Trump addressed the faceoff at Mar-a-Lago in February.

Party leadership considers Merrin and Riedel more feasible than Majewski against Kaptur in a general election. However, Majewski's late withdrawal complicates matters. Ohio has had weeks of early voting in a low-turnout election. Majewski claimed his conservative star power made him a frontrunner. Trump-backed Sen. JD Vance, Gen. Michael Flynn, Rep. Matt Gaetz, and former presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy endorsed him.

According to the Lucas County Board of Elections, Majewski had not yet filed paperwork to withdraw his candidacy as of Monday. He's entered and left the race twice, so this decision may not be final. Riedel, Merrin, and former Mayor Steve Lankenau are running for nomination.

stay turned for development