Chabot vs. Schroder: Tight race for the contested congressional seat

Updated: Oct. 28, 2020 at 7:12 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Less than a week to go before election day and the race between Republican Steve Chabot and Democrat Kate Schroder is gaining national interest.

Federal Elections Commission records show both candidates have raised millions of dollar to fill mailboxes and TV time with their political ads.

Right now the Democrats control the House of Representatives by a total of 214 seats to 182. There are 39 seats up for grabs, meaning every race is important.

“This is the biggest congressional race in Ohio. It’s one of the biggest in the nation,” University of Cincinnati political science professor David Niven said. “There just aren’t that many races where nobody knows what’s going to happen.”

Niven continued: "Think about this, since the current map that we have for Congressional districts was drawn in 2012, not a single seat has changed hands. The map is undefeated. It’s 144-and-0. This could be the first race in a decade in Ohio to change party hands.”

FOX 19 NOW interviewed both candidates Wednesday.

During this final week of campaigning, what is the message you want voters to hear?

Kate Schroder: “I want voters to hear that it’s time for a change that we have so many real and pressing problems in our country right now. And that we’re not going to solve them with the status quo, that for too long, we have had politicians that focus on dividing us. And we need leaders that bring us together and get things done. We’re in a pandemic, we have an economy that’s ground to a halt. And we need leaders that bring us together, and I’ve spent my career. We’re bringing business skills to public health, I have an MBA, I’ve led large projects that reduce drug prices, expanded treatment services, and I’m somebody who’s from this community. You know, I’ve been here, my family’s been here five generations, I care about this community, and I care about having leaders that are laser-focused on getting results for us.”

Steve Chabot: “Well, we’d like to continue to deliver the services to the people of our district that we’ve been doing. For example, when this pandemic hit, I happen to be the lead Republican on the house small business committee. And our district through the PPP, the Paycheck Protection Program has received more money, almost $3 billion more small businesses got loans over 17,000. And most importantly, more jobs were saved over a quarter of a million jobs than any other congressional district in Ohio. So I’d like the hard work and the experience that we have to continue working for the people here in this district.”

What is the most important thing voters are telling you that needs to happen if you win this seat?

Steve Chabot: “We need to defeat COVID. We need to get a vaccine as soon as possible. And we need to make sure that this economy continues to grow so that we can continue to have jobs for people we need to get all the schools to reopen to, do it safely. But we want to get back to normal life as soon as possible. But obviously, with safety being a priority.”

Kate Schroder: “They need relief, right now, the number one thing is, we need relief from a public health standpoint, to combat this pandemic. And we need economic relief, we need support to our small businesses, we need to support our schools and our local and state governments to be able to fully and safely reopen the economy. And one of the things I hear a lot from voters is, we’re trying to pit this public health response against an economic response and that these are interrelated, that we have to have a strong public health response to be able to fully and safely reopen the economy. And so we need leaders that bring those together and do both.”

What wins this campaign?

Kate Schroder: "What wins this campaign is somebody who’s going to deliver for voters, and I believe on that person, I have a track record of doing it. You know, we’ve had a congressman that’s been in there for 24 years, and our bridge hasn’t been fixed. And we give a lot more in federal tax dollars. And we get back in return and I will be a tireless fighter for this district.”

Steve Chabot: “I think ultimately, the people will look at where we stand on the issues. And I’ve consistently been for lower taxes, for jobs for people, for safe neighborhoods. My opponent has basically for the Green New Deal, which is higher taxes 70% high taxes. She’s basically been with radical protesters out in the streets when it comes to the police. She wants to eliminate cash bond. She wants to eliminate qualified immunity. So police officers can be sued. And she wants to defund the police. She was with the folks that thought that reducing from 36% down to 25% of the budget. The police were the way to go. I think she’s just wrong on all those things. And I think ultimately, people make the right decision.”

How has the campaign been?

Steve Chabot: “I think overall, it’s going well, I have to say the ads, at least from the other side have been particularly sleazy and slimy. I can’t describe it any other way. I’ve never seen anything like this. I was the victim of a crime. The FBI confirmed it. Even the Cincinnati Enquirer said always a victim. Yet her whole campaign has been based on a lie. And I think that people will see through that.”

Kate Schroder: “It’s going well, I mean, it’s hard in a pandemic, I miss, I missed the human connection, I miss not being able to hug people and having that power of community when we’re together. So that’s been the hardest part. And it’s hard because I have little kids that are in a virtual school, now three days a week, and used to be five. That’s hard, but the actual connecting with voters and having that energy and that momentum like that has been going really well.”

Why do you believe there is so much national attention to this race?

Kate Schroder: "Yeah, it’s important because this is one of the districts that is it’s in the middle, you know, it’s a district that can go Democrat or can go Republican, it really depends who turns out. And so there is a lot of attention on this district because of how competitive it is. It’s drawn to be it’s gerrymandered. I have a necklace that shows our gerrymander district here. Because it’s half of Hamilton County and all of Warren County. And so it’s drawn to be five points Republican, but based on the demographic changes in this district, we’re seeing it, it’s neck and neck right now. And so that is what’s drawing a lot of attention to it.”

Steve Chabot: “Well, everyone’s important, but this has always been considered a swing district. A lot of money spent here. They came after me heavily. Last time, Nancy Pelosi has always had her eye on this seat, and Kate Schroeder would vote for her. And she’d be the fifth member of the squad. She’d fit right in with those radicals because that’s where she’s out on the issues. So unfortunate, because I don’t think that people in this district would want to be represented by a person like that. But ultimately, I don’t think they will be.”

What other issues to you want the share with the voters?

Steve Chabot: “Well, the economy is the I think the overriding important thing here and there are a lot of things that relate to the economy. COVID obviously is one we need to defeat it. We need to continue to push for therapeutics and vaccines as soon as possible. And I think we’re very close to a vaccine and the impact that can have on our lives. It’s not just a health thing. There are health implications when an economy is shut down like the economy was and that’s why the PPP program was so important and that’s why the experience that I have and I’m able to put it into use for the people. This district is really so important.”

Kate Schroder: "It’s about health care. It’s about the economy. It’s about having somebody that works tirelessly for this district to deliver results.”

What will you do over the next six days?

Kate Schroder: “I’m gonna campaign my heart out. I want to keep working and keep talking to voters and listening and understanding and hearing what the issues are. We’ve got early voting going on. So we are lucky in Ohio, we have a month of no-fault early vote. So I’ve been spending a lot of time out the at the boards of elections in Warren County, and here in Hamilton County. It’s great. We’re seeing record turnout. We have 45% of voters in this district have already voted either by mail or in person. I really care about this race in this community, and I believe that we deserve better leadership. I believe, you know, we’ve given 12 chances to my opponent, I’m just asking for one. I would love a chance to be a tireless champion for this community.”

Steve Chabot: “Meet as many people in the district as possible, and I still have official things that I’m doing? We’re continuing to play, take supplies around to food banks, and buy lunch for our police and firefighters to thank them our first responders. So we’re going to continue to do the official things and then also campaign in my other time, so there’s not a lot of spare time involved here.”

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