Rep. Warren Davidson never intended to enter politics.
In 2016, he had never been a candidate. He had no name recognition, and he remembers laughing when someone suggested he try a vacant Ohio House seat that year.
But the businessman and former Army Ranger came into the national spotlight as the candidate to succeed former House Speaker John Boehner in the district the old-fashioned Republican represented for 25 years.
Six years later, Mr. Davidson redefined the district north of Cincinnati as part of the Trump-era sweeping Republican Party reform. From Mr Davidson’s perspective, the party is finally catching up with its voters.
“People don’t want the status quo,” he told The Washington Times. “You look at an institution with an approval rating of 12-15%, and people want to change that. At least in the room [that message] begins to be received.”
When Mr. Davidson was elected to Congress in 2016, he was the first candidate to be supported by the newly formed House Freedom Caucus.
The influential right-wing group, formed by nine conservative Republicans in 2015, led charges of toppling the party establishment, including ousting Mr Boehner from his position as speaker over his reluctance to accelerate key campaign promises.
Rep. Ohio Republican Jim Jordan and one of the founders of the Freedom Caucus, called Mr. Davidson “one of the brightest members of Congress,” said his victory paved the way for the caucus’s current success.
“There were about 13 people in that race and we loved Warren. We helped Warren and we won the very first race we ever entered,” Jordan said. “That was just good for the Freedom Caucus when we started.”
Mr. Jordan said Mr. Davidson is an example of someone who is conservative and can stay true to their values when they come to Washington, which motivated his support for his colleague.
While in Congress, Mr. Davidson has made fiscal policy his focus by establishing the Sound Money Caucus, which is committed to preserving the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
He voted with former President Donald Trump nearly 90% of the time and Mr Biden about 7% of the time.
mr. Davidson is aiming for a fifth term and is expected to be a shoo-in for the win, according to David Niven, a political science professor at the University of Cincinnati.
“Davidson moves from one safe seat to another,” said Mr. nive. “It’s a district absolutely designed to elect a Republican, and he can safely occupy that seat for as long as he wants.”
In November, he will face Democrat Vanessa Enoch, a policy advisor.
In the past six years, Mr. Davidson, there were challenges to be compared to his predecessor or other colleagues. But over time, he has worked to give the neighborhood a new legacy.
“For a long time people saw it as Speaker Boehner’s district, or people said, ‘Well, you’re like Jim Jordan or not enough like Jim Jordan,’” said Mr. davidson. “I’d just say, ‘Well, I’m not Jim Jordan and I’m not John Boehner. I’m Warren Davidson, nice to meet you, and you do it again.”
Ohio’s 8th District Remodeling by Mr. Davidson, which is made up of suburbs and suburbs of Cincinnati, hints at greater ongoing struggles in the national Republican Party.
Elected the same year as Mr. Trump, the congressman said the party is catching up with its voter base at first glance, but there is still frustration over the GOP’s inability to unite in the same way as the Democrats.
Since leaving office, Mr Boehner has claimed some members of his party’s wing who took credit for his resignation as “legislative terrorists” trying to blow up the system.
More recently, Mr. Davidson endorsed Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to support recently passed bipartisan gun laws that would incentivize states to implement “red flag” laws and improve background checks.
He also mentioned Rep. Liz Cheney, who was kicked out of the GOP leadership last year, as someone who no longer represents the Republican Party agenda.
“Even in her campaign, she’s trying to get the Democrats to vote for her. She knows she’s no longer calling on Republicans,” said Mr. davidson.
Ms. Cheney is one of two vocal anti-Trump Republicans on the House panel investigating the 2021 Capitol riots. She has often criticized her party for becoming cultish around the former president and embracing extremism .
While Democrats have struggled with the power struggle between their liberal activist wing and the party’s more moderate members, few, if any, House Democrats fail to follow the left-wing line.
mr. Davidson said this is an aspect of the Democrats that Republicans should take note of, even bringing that idea to voters at town hall meetings and other events.
“No one has ever said that they think the Republicans were too far reaching or too aggressive in executing their agenda, but they all look at how aggressively the Democrats have implemented theirs,” said Mr. Davidson. “If Democrats are elected, they will do what they campaigned for. Many Republican voters in particular feel very frustrated because of this.”
That frustration was evident in this year’s midterm elections, with Mr. Trump encouraging his grassroots to throw out lawmakers who cast big votes against him.
The former president has targeted the ten House Republicans who voted for his second impeachment procedure after the riots.
Several of those members have announced their retirement, while others have pro-Trump primary challengers.
House candidates running to the right against moderate Republicans have targeted incumbents on their vote to censor Trump, create a Jan. 6 committee, and help the Biden administration approve parts of its agenda, including the bipartisan infrastructure law and arms reforms.
Despite the challenges within the party, Mr. Davidson that there is a chance this year to pick up new voters as the Democratic Party’s appeal leans further to the left.
He cited independents and pro-business Democrats as hopeful recruits for the GOP in a year when the party is optimistic.
“Republicans have appealed to those people, and we are both trying to appeal to… [our] and round up these people who have failed the Democrats,” said Mr. Davidson.