2012 Elections preview: Kaptur-Kucinich battle one of several Ohio primary showdowns

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Ohio

March 5, 2012

By Amanda Carey and Tyler Millhouse

COLUMBUS, Ohio: Following 2010 Census reapportionment, Ohio lost two of its 18 US House seats. In 14 of the 16 seats up for election in 2012, at least one primary will be contested. Of the 32 possible major party primaries (2 parties, 16 seats), 19 (60%) will be contested. Of those 19 contested primaries, 10 are Republican and 9 are Democratic.

Although Ohio still saw positive net growth (only Michigan lost population in the past decade), urban areas in the state saw steep population declines. Of Ohio's five largest cities -- Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, and Akron -- only Columbus showed population growth (10.6% since 2000). Of these five, Cleveland suffered the sharpest decline, losing 17.1% its population. These demographic changes forced a number of revisions to the state's congressional boundaries.[1]

Regional concerns aside, critics have attacked the pro-Republican bent of the new plans. The Ohio Democratic Party launched an unsuccessful referendum campaign against the maps. However, the threat of a veto referendum compelled Ohio's Republican majority to adopt a slightly modified compromise plan with a referendum-proof supermajority. The plan won final legislative approval on December 14, 2011.[2]

Members of the U.S. House from Ohio -- Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 5 4
     Republican Party 13 12
Total 18 16

Primary races to watch

Ohio has several primaries in the 2012 election cycle that warrant closer scrutiny. The most notable contests are in Ohio’s 2nd, 9th, 10th, and 11th Congressional Districts. In all four cases, the incumbent is facing a particularly tough primary challenger. In one district - the 9th - two Democratic incumbents have been pitted against each other because redistricting forced the state to give up two congressional seats.

District 2

 Ohio's Congressional Districts 
See also: Ohio's 2nd Congressional District elections, 2012

In the 2nd Congressional District, incumbent Rep. Jean Schmidt (R ) is facing a tough primary in her bid to win a fifth term. Doctor and Army veteran Brad Wenstrup, Air Force veteran and pilot Fred Kundrata, Marine veteran and businessman Tony Brush, and businessman Joe Green have all mounted primary challenges. A former Cincinnati mayoral candidate, Wenstrup was the most well-known of the challengers and, thus, became the frontrunner among those looking to unseat Schmidt. Wenstrup has also received several valuable endorsements from organizations like the Anderson Tea Party, the Clermont Liberty PAC, and the Ohio Liberty Council.

District 9

See also: Ohio's 9th Congressional District elections, 2012

In Ohio’s 9th District, two well-known Democratic incumbents are facing off in a nasty primary fight: Reps. Marcy Kaptur (D), who has represented the 9th District since 1983; and Dennis Kucinich (D), whose District 10 seat was eliminated by redistricting. Businessman Graham Veysey, who is also running in the Democratic primary, presents himself as a fresh alternative to the two incumbents.

District 10

See also: Ohio's 10th Congressional District elections, 2012

Ohio's Cleveland-based 10th District was eliminated by redistricting. The new 10th District was formed in southwest Ohio, combining areas from the old 3rd, 7th and 8th Congressional Districts. The old 10th District incumbent, Dennis Kucinich, was drawn into the 9th District; and incumbent Rep. Mike Turner (R) of the 3rd Congressional District is running in the new 10th. The contest has crowded primary fields in both parties. Businessman David Esrati, businesswoman Olivia Freeman, Pilot Thomas F. McMasters, Attorney Sharen Swartz Neuhardt, L. Mack VanAllen, and Ryan Steele are all running for the Demcoratic nomination. Turner is facing primary challenges from John D. Anderson and Edward Breen.

District 11

See also: Ohio's 11th Congressional District elections, 2012

The incumbent from Ohio's 11th Congressional District, Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (D), is facing a difficult primary challenge from Gerald Carver Henley and Isaac Powell. Fudge is seeking a third term in office. No stranger to congressional campaigns, Powell challenged Fudge in 2008 and 2010.

See also

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