MAGA House candidate JR Majewski's disparagement of Special Olympics athletes is reverberating in the high-stakes Ohio Senate race

MAGA House candidate JR Majewski's disparagement of Special Olympics athletes is reverberating in the high-stakes Ohio Senate race
Businessman Bernie Moreno (left) and OH Secretary of State Frank LaRose (right) both endorsed JR Majewski (center) in December.Reuters/Gaelen Morse; Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images; Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
  • Ohio GOP Senate candidates Bernie Moreno and Frank LaRose have endorsed JR Majewski.
  • The GOP House candidate faces backlash after calling Special Olympics athletes "fucking retarded."

Two high-profile GOP Senate candidates in Ohio won't say whether they still back House candidate JR Majewski after he made a joke referring to Special Olympics athletes as "fucking retarded."

The MAGA House candidate was censured on Sunday by the Lucas County GOP — the largest party organization in the Toledo-area House district where Majewski's running — and has faced calls to drop out from members of his own party.

Republicans have fretted that Majewski could once again cost the party a winnable House seat. As the GOP nominee in 2022, he handily lost Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur.

Spokespeople for Secretary of State Frank LaRose and businessman Bernie Moreno did not respond to BI's inquiry as to whether their endorsements of Majewski still stand, or what they think about his comments.

Neither did a spokesperson for Sen. JD Vance, who said he was "proud" to endorse Majewski in December.


But State Sen. Matt Dolan, another Senate GOP candidate, told Business Insider in a statement that he agrees with the Lucas County GOP's condemnation of Majewski's "reprehensible remarks."

And he called on his two opponents to rescind their support for the embattled House candidate.

"I find it shameful that Bernie Moreno and Frank LaRose are so blinded by ambition that they would support JR Majewski instead of people with disabilities," said Dolan. "They should rescind their endorsements not only because we have to defeat Marcy Kaptur, but because every Special Olympian in Ohio and across America is a hero."

LaRose and Moreno were among the Ohio Republicans who moved to endorse Majewski after one of his opponents, former state Rep. Craig Riedel, was caught on tape criticizing former President Donald Trump.

MAGA House candidate JR Majewski's disparagement of Special Olympics athletes is reverberating in the high-stakes Ohio Senate race
State Sen. Matt Dolan, seen here in May 2022, is calling on his GOP Senate primary opponents to drop their support for Majewski.Nic Antaya/Getty Images

LaRose said in December that he was "proud" to endorse his "fellow veteran" Majewski, who was famously caught lying about serving in Afghanistan when he ran for Congress in 2022.


Moreno personally cut a $3,300 check to Majewski's campaign in December, FEC records show.

LaRose, Moreno, and Dolan are locked in a competitive three-way contest to take on Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, with the primary election slated for March 19. The Senate race in Ohio, along with Montana, is likely to determine whether Democrats retain control of the Senate in 2024.

As Business Insider first reported earlier this month, Majewski made the disparaging remarks during an appearance on a conservative podcast as he talked about "Democrats living in Mom's basement."

"You know, no matter how hard you try, arguing on the Internet, it's like being in the Special Olympics," he said. "No matter how good you perform, you still have… you're still fucking retarded at the end of the day."

Majewski later apologized, but he has defiantly refused to quit the race.


In addition to lying about his military service, Majewski has also supported the "QAnon" conspiracy theory and brought a busload of people to Washington, DC on January 6 — though he says he didn't enter the Capitol.

"There was a quick second where it's like: do I go in, do I not go in," Majewski told BI in 2022. "But at the end of the day, I made the responsible decision. I kept my faculties and I didn't go in."

In an effort to avoid a repeat of 2022, national Republicans have recruited state Rep. Derrick Merrin to run for the seat. But Riedel has stayed in the race as well, raising the possibility that Majewski will win the three-win primary with a mere plurality of the vote.