Wilson, Thomas set to face off in Dem primary

LIMA —Tamie Wilson and Steve Thomas will be the names on the ballot for this March’s Democratic primary.

Whoever wins the nomination will challenge incumbent Representative Jim Jordan (R) for Ohio’s fourth congressional district seat, but Wilson and Thomas, although they both portray themselves as moderates, are in a heated race to differentiate from each other and prove they are the better choice for November.

“Rather than coming out as a progressive Democrat, I’m more of a moderate and the issues I talk about are issues that are important to everybody,” Thomas said. “They cross party lines. I talk about issues like creating economic opportunity and jobs and that’s where I differ from my opponent.”

But Wilson has positioned herself as a moderate who wants to address economic issues that affect voters across party lines, as well.

“What I have found is that I relate to everyone and I’m very well-received by everyone,” she said. “What I’ve been doing is trying to meet as many people as possible and listening to them. Everyone wants to live a good life and some people are living better lives than others so I really want to help even the playing field so we can all live a good life.”

Both Thomas and Wilson have a business background, but Thomas made a career out of running his own software company, while Wilson, a real estate agent, runs her own small business.

While both shy away from the progressive label and have criticized the other for not being as moderate, they have also made appeals to issues including women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and expanding economic opportunity.

“Our (minority and women-owned) businesses are catered toward community development most of the time,” Wilson said. “I think it would enrich our communities more by investing in women and I think it’s important to invest in minority businesses.”

“I think the fourth district has a lot of rural parts,” Thomas said in response to a question about infrastructure. “If you look at it, farming and agriculture is the second biggest employer. What we need to do in terms of infrastructure is to improve roads and bridges and bring broadband to rural areas that do not have broadband.”

Wilson also has voiced support for cutting taxes, while calling for the one percent to pay a fairer share.

“Another thing on my platform would be cutting taxes,” she said. “I’ve spoken with teachers who have to buy their own supplies and when Trump’s tax laws went into play, they took away those write-offs and that really handicapped them and affected their income.”

Both candidates also say they stand for workers’ rights, with Thomas citing his history creating software that helped workers stay aware of heavy machinery.

But they also center one issue above all others: defeating Jim Jordan.

“Jim Jordan goes against the people 97 percent of the time and I want people to know that,” Wilson said. “I am all about helping people and he does not care about that.”

“This is a rural red county and if you look at Democrats, we passed the infrastructure bill, we’re for the farm bill and we’re for keeping money in the school systems,” Thomas said. “These are all things that benefit rural people in rural communities in small towns. Republicans like Jim Jordan have voted against every infrastructure bill and every agriculture bill that benefits his district, but he wins the rural conservative voters because they are values voters and they are more likely to vote against their financial interest to vote for their values.”

Thomas went on to call out Wilson’s and other Democrats’ performances in previous races against Jordan.

“If you look back through the entire time Jim Jordan has been in Congress, during his entire time, with the exception of maybe the first time he ran, when the Democratic nominee lost by 17 or 18 percent, we lost by 22, 35 and then 36 percent,” he said. “And then, when Tamie ran last time, we lost by almost 39 percent. These are abysmal results and to be frank, our messaging and our candidates are wrong for a very rural red district that has been gerrymandered for Jordan.”

Wilson, however, countered by citing her experience with organizations like the Delaware Citizens Police Academy and the NAACP and saying that Thomas’ moderate label goes against his history.

“Steve is a man of means and I feel that I can relate to the people more as someone who has been out in the community and has more experience with a different group of people,” she said. “He is very progressive and I’m very moderate. I’m running to represent all people and I relate to all people more than he does.”

Jordan is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

The spring primary election will be March 19.

The general election will be Nov. 5.

For more information, visit your local board of elections.

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.