March 7, 2012
JULIE CARR SMYTH
COLUMBUS — Tuesday’s primary results set up high stakes for fall races for U.S. Senate and a newly drawn U.S. House district along the Lake Erie shoreline.
In a long-expected result, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel claimed the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, foreshadowing an intense and expensive November contest with Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown.
Mandel easily prevailed in a six-way Republican primary, gaining nearly 49 percent of the vote statewide. He has raised some $4 million toward the general election.
Veteran Democratic U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur will face Republican Samuel Wurzelbacher in the fall to represent a district that stretches from Toledo to Cleveland. Wurzelbacher, a Toledo-area plumber, got the nickname “Joe the Plumber” during the 2008 presidential campaign when he expressed concern about taxes.
Kaptur beat fellow U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, bumping the quirky and colorful “boy mayor” of Cleveland from a political post he had held for eight terms. Their faceoff was made necessary by a redrawn map that placed them both in the same district.
Also losing a congressional race Tuesday was U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt, in a Republican primary upset by Iraq war veteran Brad Wenstrup. Schmidt, who is in her fourth term, represents a southern Ohio district that stretches east from Cincinnati into Appalachia. Her entrée into the Congress came in a defeat of another war veteran, Democrat Paul Hackett, in 2005.
A Democratic primary in Schmidt’s district between William Smith and David Krikorian was too close to call.
In a new Columbus district, former state Rep. Joyce Beatty defeated former U.S. Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy in a four-way Democratic primary. Kilroy was making her fourth run since 2006 to represent central Ohio. She won once, in 2008, and served one term.
Beatty had the backing of popular Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman for the district specially designed to help send a black representative to Washington. Beatty is black; Kilroy is white.
The Democratic faceoffs resulted from a revamped congressional map that shrunk the state by two congressional districts, from 18 to 16. Under legislative Republicans who controlled the process, only four of the districts were drawn to favor Democrats.
Republicans avoided their own primary in southwest Ohio, with U.S. Rep. Steve Austria deciding not to run again in a district shared with U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, the former Dayton mayor. Turner joined House Speaker John Boehner among incumbents who won their primaries Tuesday. Others included Pat Tiberi, Steve Stivers, Bob Gibbs, Bill Johnson, Bob Latta, and Marcia Fudge.
Also victorious in his primary was former U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson, who lost his bid for a third term in 2010.