WEST CHESTER, Ohio (AP) — Voters in six western Ohio counties will decide Tuesday who will move into the congressional seat left vacant by former House Speaker John Boehner after nearly 25 years.
Republican Warren Davidson won his party’s nomination in the GOP-dominated 8th House District by topping a 15-candidate primary field. Democrat Corey Foister was unopposed, and Jim Condit Jr. was nominated under the Green Party banner.
Tuesday’s winner will complete Boehner’s term and be in a strong position to win the general election for a full term in the next Congress.
Open seats have been rare in Ohio, which has very incumbent-friendly House districts.
Low turnout is expected for the special election, with no other races on the ballot. The secretary of state’s office said Monday that about 4,200 absentee ballots were requested and nearly 3,600 ballots had been cast early.
Davidson, an Army veteran and businessman in Miami County, has never won elective office. He won the dual March primary for the special and general election nominations with about 32 percent of the vote in each. He ran as a conservative outsider, defeating two incumbent state legislators in the field.
Davidson got key support from some former Boehner antagonists, such as Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and the conservative advocacy groups Club for Growth and FreedomWorks. Davidson has said people in the district considered it “an honor” to have the speaker from their home area, but that they are ready to have “our own representative” in Washington.
Boehner defeated a scandal-marred Republican incumbent in the 1990 primary, and then won re-election, often with wide margins, every two years after his first election.
Davidson and low-key Democrat Corey Foister, 26, a childhood cancer survivor who says he can do something about issues facing the nation’s youth such as the high cost of education, offered contrasts during a recent forum at Miami University’s Hamilton event center.
Davidson spoke out strongly against abortion and new restrictions on gun ownership. Foister said he’s “pro-choice” and that more needs to be done to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
Condit is a frequent candidate running this year under the Green Party banner although Green Party members in Ohio have disavowed him. Green Party activists aren’t sure whether they will get a candidate onto the November ballot, but Condit would have to run as a write-in because election officials disqualified him from running in the general election for the Green Party after voting in the Republican primary in March.
Condit blames 9/11 on a conspiracy involving Israel to keep the United States involved in the Middle East and to take Americans’ freedoms away in the name of national security. He also has voiced suspicions about the 2014 accidental death of James Traficant, an Ohio Democrat expelled from Congress after being convicted of taking bribes and kickbacks.
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