Looking Ahead to the Ohio Special Election


The Arizona special election is behind us and former Arizona state senator and Republican Debbie Lesko fended off an energetic Democratic challenge to win last Tuesday. It was a narrow victory with a single digit margin. While the media and other political prognosticators continue to spin theories as to why this is a negative for the GOP, AVHF looks ahead to the Ohio special election starting in May 2018.

Both parties have had their eye on the race for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District for months, according to multiple Republican and Democratic outlets, and both agree that there is a good chance that the contest ends up being as tight, if not tighter, than Arizona’s special election.

The area, which has been represented by a Republican for 35 years, is more conservative than districts that include larger parts of Columbus. But one key reason for concern among Republicans is that the Ohio district is far less conservative than the one where Republican Debbie Lesko won. Where Trump won the Arizona district by 21 points in 2016, he only won the Ohio district by 11 points. That 10-point difference is an early indicator of why the GOP needs to shore up resources and gain early momentum heading into the election. It’s safe to assume that there will be a lot off attention placed on this race by the GOP.

A Crowded Field of Candidates

The Ohio vacancy, which was opened when Rep. Patrick Tiberi resigned to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable, has also created a wild and wide-open primary, where at least 17 candidates are running for the Democratic and Republican nominations in next May’s primary. Among the none GOP candidates we have former state senators Troy Balderson and Kevin Bacon, Melanie Leneghan a Liberty Township trustee, Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien.

Of particular note to AVHF are two veteran standouts. The first is John Adams (no relation to the founding father), who served as a radar repairman in the United States Air Force from 1963 to 1967. John worked at Empire Detroit Steel Mill in New Boston, Ohio, from 1967 to 1969 before establishing his own industrial manufacturing company in 1977, which he still owns and maintains today. The second is Columbus native Tim Kane, a conservative economist and national security expert.Tim is a veteran US Air Force officer who served two tours of duty overseas. Tim graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a degree in economics. He served as an intelligence officer and was stationed in Korea as a combat interrogator. He worked with the CIA and NSA with a top secret / codeword clearance. Different than Mr Adams who owns and operates his own manufacturing company, Tim is a Ph.D. economist, famous for research on job creation by entrepreneurs.

A Call for Ohio Veterans to Participate

The stakes are high and participation is not optional. The Republican primary will likely go to a winner that carries less than 10% of the vote. The Republican establishment and outgoing congressman Tiberi has backed Troy Balderson. But Balderson faces stiff competition from Leneghan, who is running as an outsider who has said she will wholeheartedly back Trump’s agenda in Washington. But that doesn’t  mean that our veteran candidates can’t gain traction in the coming days. Historically vet candidates have outperformed in districts like the one in Ohio. What’s critical is activating our veteran base. It’s no surprise that we have enormous hurdles facing our veterans and numerous policy debates lie ahead. If you’re a veteran reading this post, we ask that you seek information on these candidates so you can make a choice and support the one that will help our family of veterans at the highest levels of government.

Remember every vote counts. Please come out on May 8th.

AVHF Note on the 

Republican incumbent Jim Trakas and Democratic challenger David Pomerantz are running for another contested seat in Ohio. AVHF strongly supports innovator and incumbent Jim Trakas. Jim has a proven track record in the House and led the charge for Northeast Ohio, which is comprised of 12 counties, to be designated as an “Opportunity Zone” by the Federal government. An initiative that would open up many new doors for Ohio which would be eligible for federal funding similar to that in Appalachia, a hard hit region of our country. Check out Jim’s campaign site here.

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