John Boehner’s last two serious challengers for his Ohio eighth district congressional seat both got fired during their campaigns — and one of them was told explicitly that he was getting canned for running against Boehner.
The Daily Caller exclusively reported Monday that Boehner’s tea party primary challenger J.D. Winteregg was fired from his job as an adjunct professor at Ohio’s Cedarville University for running an anti-Boehner campaign ad accusing the speaker of “Electile Dysfunction.” Winteregg is challenging Boehner in the district’s May 6 Republican primary.
“I would say the raciness of it, sure,” was the reason the Christian college fired Winteregg, Cedarville University spokesman Mark Weinstein told TheDC, referring to the sexual innuendo in Winteregg’s ad. Weinstein also told FoxNews.com that “(At Cedarville) we don’t get into politics.”
But Cedarville University chancellor Dr. William Brown participated in a press conference Monday in Ohio calling for Boehner, his congressman, to pass immigration reform. Brown participated in the event one day before joining a group of pastors in flying to Washington, D.C. to meet with their representatives to discuss the issue. Cedarville University has featured an internship in Boehner’s congressional office as an official discipline-related experience for students.
Winteregg is not the first Boehner challenger to lose his employment while on the campaign trail.
Justin Coussoule, a West Point graduate and former army captain working as a purchasing manager for Cincinnati-based consumer products manufacturer Procter & Gamble in Ohio when he ran against Boehner as a Democrat in 2010, was fired from his job for taking on the veteran lawmaker.
“In Justin’s case he was faced with resignation or termination from Procter & Gamble. They were surprised that anyone would want to run against John Boehner because he had been, as they said, so good for their business,” Alliea Phipps, Coussoule’s 2010 campaign manager, told TheDC.
A vice president of government relations at Procter & Gamble took Coussoule out for coffee after he first decided to run against Boehner, and pressured him not to do it.
“The exact phrase was, ‘Why would you want to run against John Boehner? He’s been so good for our business,” Phipps said. But Coussoule decided to run anyway, taking out a loan on his house and signing up campaign staff to work for free.
Boehner reportedly owns between $15,0001 and $50,000 in Procter & Gamble stock, which he reported on his 2012 financial disclosure. Boehner held only between $1,001 to $15,000 in the company’s stock, according to his 2009 disclosure, which he filed before the race against Coussoule. His 2010 disclosure shows him holding between $15,001 and $50,000 in the company’s stock. Procter & Gamble contributed $5,000 to Boehner’s 2010 campaign.
In April 2010, shortly before Coussoule became the Democratic nominee in the race in May, a Procter & Gamble official told him that he needed to resign or be terminated, specifically because he was running for Congress in the eighth district, according to Phipps.
The company specified that its policy forbidding him from keeping his job if he won the primary only applied to him. Coussoule chose to be terminated. Coussoule’s wife, who also worked at the company, was transferred out of state several weeks before the election. Coussoule, who had two small children, decided to move with her after the election, and now no longer lives in Ohio.
“They have a policy of giving their employees a hiatus to run for office. Justin had filed for that before the primary. They had another employee who was an elected official and another employee who was running for [local] office in 2010,” Phipps said. “He followed all of their procedures and their processes to the letter. He had done everything procedurally that he should have done.”
Boehner defeated Coussoule 66 to 34 percent in the November 2010 election. Phipps noted that “[Boehner] actually had to come home and campaign. It was the first time ever.”
Boehner has been forced to mount a campaign in his district this year to hold off Winteregg, paying people to go door-to-door for him and sending out mailings touting his campaign slogan, “One of Us.”
“So a Democrat is trying to help fabricate some kind of ridiculous conspiracy theory? This just shows the Obama political machine will do whatever it takes to try and weaken the Speaker’s campaign to cut spending, repeal ObamaCare and create jobs,” Cory Fritz, spokesman for Boehner’s political office, told TheDC.
Procter & Gamble did not return a request for comment.