TROY — Miami County residents had the opportunity to learn more about the three candidates for the 8th Congressional District at the Meet the Candidates event held Thursday night.
Republican candidate Warren Davidson, Democratic candidate Corey Foister, and Green Party candidate James J. Condit Jr. are vying to fill the unexpired term of former congressman John Boehner in the June 7 special election.
The candidates introduced themselves to the voters and discussed their views on a variety of issues that affect district residents and the country.
Davidson emerged from a crowded field of candidates to win the Republican primary in March. The Miami County resident owns several businesses and is a former Concord Twp. trustee. Davidson, a former Army Ranger, pledged to voters Thursday night that he would uphold the U.S. Constitution.
“It’s an honor to be on the ballot as a Republican candidate,” Davidson said. “We need to get out there and share our ideas. Our ideas are the right ideas, they’re the path that’s going to save our country.”
Foister, 26, of Butler County, said that if he is elected, he is uninterested in furthering his own political career, and would instead focus his energy on doing what is best for the people. A childhood cancer survivor, Foister is dedicating his bid for Congress to pediatric cancer awareness.
“In this race, it’s all about conservative versus liberal. But there’s stuff that brings us together, there really is,” he said.
Foister said that arguing about social issues takes too much of the focus away from larger, non-partisan issues — like infrastructure, the environment and cyber security — which deserve more attention.
Condit, of Cincinnati, is running as a Green Party candidate because of restrictions on third-party candidates, he said, and not because he endorses the Green Party platform. His campaign focuses on issues of money and “getting back to the Constitution,” he said.
“I’m probably the only 100 percent pro-life Green Party candidate in history and I’m probably the only one that doesn’t believe in man-made global warming. In fact, I think man-made global warming is a total hoax,” Condit said.
The candidates took questions from local media and the audience.
Candidates were asked how they would work with their colleagues across the aisle if they are elected.
“I would only reach across the aisle to people that agree with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” Condit said. “This idea that we need to work together with the latest Trotskyite Communists … I want to only cooperate, I want to stigmatize those who are against our Constitution and Bill of Rights, drive them out of office.”
Davidson said that cooperation would be dependent on those who are willing to solve problems. He added that he is running because of a dissatisfaction with the current legislature’s ability to get things done.
“I’ll put America before political ideology,” Foister said. “I think we all should run because we care about our country and not just scoring points for a political party. I’ll work with anybody … I think that’s what this country needs.”
When asked if they would consider expanding the war on terror in the Middle East, Davidson said that people need to consider the role of the United States in a post-Cold War world.
“I’m for a targeted approach that is focused on defeating terror networks,” he added.
Foister said that putting more ground troops in the Middle East is “a very bad idea.” He called the conflict a money pit that isn’t worth expanding American involvement in.
“We need to look at the real cause of terror,” Condit said. “Israel and its agents were behind 9/11, though it was blamed on the Muslims.”
On the issue of Citizens United, a Supreme Court decision regarding the regulation of campaign spending by organizations, both Foister and Condit agreed in their opposition to the court’s ruling. Both argued that there is too much big money in American politics.
Davidson disagreed, saying that this Supreme Court ruling is poorly understood and frequently mischaracterized.
When asked if they support Donald Trump’s views on restricting immigration of Muslims and the construction of a wall between the United States and Mexico should he be elected president, the candidates had differing views.
Condit said he would endorse a total ban on immigration and would support the construction of a wall.
Davidson said his support of policies like those would depend on the details, though he is in favor of a strong national security policy.
“Immigration is a national security (issue) first and foremost, so if you don’t have a border that’s enforce, you don’t have control of your country. We clearly don’t have that as of right now, so the wall in and of itself won’t accomplish that,” Davidson said.
Foister said that the wall is a total waste of money that would be better spent on things like fixing national infrastructure or investing in clean energy.
“The whole wall is pointless,” Foister said. “And as for the immigration question, Muslims are people. I believe this country shouldn’t legislate free will of people.”
Ohio’s 8th Congressional District is home to more than 723,000 residents across six counties, including all of Butler, Clark, Darke, Miami, and Preble counties and part of Mercer County.
The candidates will run twice, first on June 7 to fill the unexpired term, and again in the November general election.
The Meet the Candidates event was hosted by the Leadership Troy Alumni, who have been organizing these events since the 1990s.
Reach Cecilia Fox at [email protected] or (937) 552-2205.