Who's going to fill Pat Tiberi's open congressional seat: A political lifer? A teacher? A Trumper? Eighteen candidates are angling for votes.
In early 2018, Ohio Republican Pat Tiberi left Congress, vacating the 12th District seat he held for 17 years. The political floodgates opened, names were floated, candidates courted, and a curious assortment of 18 contenders emerged.
Herb Asher, a professor emeritus of political science at Ohio State, says it's not often that a congressional seat comes open, rarer still midterm. Hence the horde of hopefuls, which includes seasoned officeholders and fledgling pols—a teacher, an economist, an architect, a nurse, a farmer. It's a deep pool on both sides of the aisle, and Asher expects a competitive race for the Republican stronghold because Democrats are making a serious push for control of the U.S. House.
Front-runners from both parties have fundraising ability and name recognition, Asher says, like Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor, Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O'Brien, former Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott and state Sen. Kevin Bacon. Asher thinks the outsiders will be at a tremendous disadvantage, but he points to a couple of upstarts with a shot: John Russell, a farmer who earned support from former Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy, and Liberty Township trustee Melanie Leneghan, who has the endorsement of conservative Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and is aligning herself with President Donald Trump.
In anticipation of the May 8 primary, we've assembled an overview of the whole field.* Who will remain upright by the end of the race?
Business owner, industrial chemicals
Corporate sales and leadership training
Corporate attorney, accountant
Liberty Township trustee
Business owner, telecommunications
Business owner, architecture
Delaware County prosecutor
Franklin County recorder
Nurse, school district wellness coordinator
Farmer, business owner
Former Franklin County sheriff
Mick Shoemaker Jr.
Semi-retired health care professional
*The candidates listed here are those certified by the Franklin County Board of Elections to appear on the ballot.
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