Ohio Primary Roundup - Husted coasts to victory; Fisher trumps Brunner

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May 5, 2010

By Joseph Kastner

COLUMBUS, Ohio: On Tuesday, May 4, 2010, the voters of Ohio went to the polls to decide who (on the Democratic side) would run for the United States Senate as well as who (on the Republican ticket) would compete to be the next Secretary of State.

In the United States Senate race to replace retiring Republican Senator George Victor Voinovich, the focus was on the Democratic primary contest between Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner; Rob Portman, a former Congressman, was the only candidate seeking the Republican nomination in the race and therefore ran unopposed in yesterday's primary. While some polling data had suggested that of the two Democratic candidates, a head-to-head matchup between Portman and Brunner would produce a tighter contest, Fisher had been favored by state Democrats in large part to his ability to raise sufficient campaign funds.[1] Portman, as of this article's publication, has raised nearly $5.2 million in campaign contributions, so whoever would challenge him on the Democratic ticket needed to be able to compete with him financially. Brunner, who a month prior to the May 4th primary election has raised a paltry $600k in contrast to Fisher's $3.3 million, could not be that person.[2][3]

Fisher defeated Brunner in the Democratic primary 55% to 44%, according to the Ohio Secretary of State's website.

2010 Race for United States Senate - Democratic Primary[4]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Lee Fisher (D) 55.6%
Jennifer Brunner (D) 44.4%
Total votes 673,597

In light of her defeat, Secretary of State Brunner has shown that she is neither a humbled loser nor a team player for the state's Democratic Party. She had stated clearly just days prior to the primary that if Fisher won the contest she would not campaign for him in the lead up to the November election.[5]

Ohio State Senator Jon Husted

The race for Ohio Secretary of State pitted State Senator for the 6th Congressional District Jon Husted and former Ashtabula County Auditor Sandy O'Brien in the Republican primary; Franklin County Clerk of Courts Maryellen O'Shaughnessy went unchallenged for the Democratic nomination. Interest in the campaign had primarily focused on the level of criticism State Senator Husted had received from prominent state tea party organizers.[6][7]

In the end, however, Husted crushed O'Brien in the Republican primary 67% to 33%, according to the Ohio Secretary of State's website.

2010 Race for Secretary of State - Republican Primary[8]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Jon Husted (R) 67.3%
Sandy O'Brien (R) 32.7%
Total votes 741,679

While the results of this race, along with the overwhelming approval of the Third Frontier measure led some in the local media to suggest the bark of the state tea party movement was far worse then its bite, others have suggested that "tea party" was never really in the race to begin with.[9] Some argue that the problem was that imperfect candidates rode on the coattails of the anti-big government movement while at the same time "anyone who wasn’t an incumbent Republican county or state central committee member got to claim they truly represented" the tea party activists, despite supports measures and policies adverse to the group's agenda.[10] If the tea party movement is as influential and widespread as conservative activists suggest it is then its effects will extend far beyond a single election or individual egos.

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