U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, the long-tenured Republican who represents Ohio's 1st Congressional District, recently got two potential Democratic challengers ahead of the 2020 election. And one of them has come out of the gate with some strong words for Chabot's partymate President Donald Trump.
Nikki Foster, a Mason resident and an Air Force veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, last week launched her campaign in the Democratic Party primary for the chance to challenge Chabot.
She's squaring off against Clifton's Kate Schroder, most recently vice president of the Clinton Health Access Initiative. Schroder, a cancer survivor, will likely make health care a key part of her campaign. She is formally launching her campaign today.
Foster, who last year ran unsuccessfully to represent the 54th District in the Ohio House of Representatives, is stressing her military service so far in her bid — and her opposition to Trump.
In a video she tweeted yesterday, Foster said that Congress needs to get moving on impeachment proceedings against the president.
"When there is evidence that the president committed crimes, we must begin impeachment proceedings to uncover the truth, because no one is above the law," Foster said.
Just a week into the race, this is already the second time Foster's bid has drawn attention. The first came after the National Republican Congressional Committee, which raises funds for Republican candidates, called Foster a "socialist loser" in a statement. The epithet — an odd fit for the generally pro-military moderate Democrat — drew rebuke from some political watchers.
Foster's call for impeachment proceedings is a political risk, however. Congressional Democrats themselves aren't unified on the idea, though it has gained some steam after special counsel Robert Mueller emphasized that his investigation into Russian interference with the 2016 election didn't preclude the possibility that Trump obstructed justice in the case. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has remained unconvinced of the merits of impeaching Trump.
Last month, polling showed that a small majority of Americans wanted some further action to determine whether Trump broke the law. But only 22 percent thought impeachment proceedings were the right path to take. Twenty-five percent, meanwhile, wanted further investigation and five percent wanted Congress to censure the president — a less-serious rebuke than impeachment.
Chabot is in his 12th term in the 1st District, which was redrawn in 2010 to include staunchly-conservative Warren County. That came after Democrat Steve Driehaus ousted Chabot for a single term in 2008. Since the redistricting, however, Chabot has had an easy time keeping his seat. He bested Democrat Aftab Pureval 52 percent to 46 percent after a particularly heated election battle last year.
Democrats looked like they might get a better chance to take back the seat earlier this year when a federal court ruled that Ohio's congressional districts are unconstitutional. In its ruling, the court specifically mentioned the 1st District's jagged lines drawn to encompass deeply Republican Warren County. Pureval easily beat Chabot in Hamilton County 54 percent to 45 percent, but lost by a 2-1 margin in Warren County.
However, the U.S. Supreme Court last month ruled that federal courts have no business intervening in congressional districting fights, meaning Ohio's districts will stay put until 2022.
It isn't clear how well Foster's stance on impeachment will play in the divided district.
Foster's primary opponent Schroder has taken a more cautious approach to the impeachment question, saying the House should keep investigating Trump but stopping short of calling for impeachment at this time.