Ohio Democrats hope to pick up one or two wins in 12 U.S. House races in which GOP incumbents are seeking re-election. While Democrats face an uphill battle, they are seeking opportunities from any Republican missteps or tea party challenges.
Some races of interest among the 12 Republican House members:
—Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who has more than $2.8 million in his campaign fund, faces three tea party challengers in his bid for a 13th term in Congress. J.D. Winteregg has the endorsement of the Tea Party Leadership Fund. That group is launching a $25,000 ad campaign targeting Boehner’s record, including his vote to raise the debt ceiling and his support for an immigration overhaul. Also running in the GOP primary in the 8th Congressional District are Matthew Ashworth, founder of the United Tea Party Alliance, and businessman Eric Gurr.
Two Democrats are vying to take Boehner’s seat but hold little chance in southwestern Ohio, considered the most Republican district in the state. Miami University professor Tom Poetter says he decided to run because Boehner should have competition in his race and because Boehner puts party interests above the needs of his constituents. Poetter emphasizes education in his campaign and criticizes Boehner for cuts to government programs including food stamps. Also running is restaurant supervisor Matthew Guyette, who supports the health care law and is critical of the tea party. In 2012, Boehner took 84 percent of the vote in the primary and ran unopposed that November.
—In northeast Ohio near Akron, Rep. Jim Renacci is unopposed in his GOP primary in the 16th Congressional District, defeating well-funded Democratic incumbents in two previous contests; in 2012, he won with 52 percent of the vote. With more than $750,000 cash on hand, Renacci awaits the winner of a Democratic primary between former Summit County Councilman Pete Crossland and businessman James Donenwirth.