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Few Congressional Contests in Ohio Prove Competitive

November 7, 2012
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Two first-term congressional Republicans won re-election Tuesday in Ohio, while a heavily favored Democratic candidate captured a new U.S. House seat.

Former Democrat state Rep. Joyce Beatty took the new district in central Ohio, which was added after Democrats sought more representation for African-Americans.

GOP Reps. Bob Gibbs and Steve Stivers had no problem hanging onto to their seats.

Only a handful of Ohio's 16 congressional districts were competitive this year after Republicans redrew the state's political map to reflect population shifts and came up with districts that tilted heavily toward one party or the other. Because of slow population growth, Ohio lost two of its 18 congressional districts.

Republicans outnumber Democrats in Ohio's delegation 13-5. The GOP was all but assured of keeping a majority of the state's seats. Democrats were heavily favored in just four contests.

House Speaker John Boehner won a 12th term, as he ran unopposed in his southwest Ohio district.

Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher, who was thrust into the political spotlight four years ago, was beaten by congressional veteran Marcy Kaptur, the longest-serving Democrat woman in the House.

Wurzelbacher ran as a Republican in Ohio's 9th U.S. House district in his first shot at public office.

In Ohio's two most hotly contested congressional races, outside groups poured millions of dollars into advertising.

Rep. Betty Sutton, a three-term Democrat whose district was eliminated by redistricting, took on first-term Rep. James Renacci in one of the most closely watched and costly races in the country. It was one of only two matchups of House incumbents in the nation.

In Ohio's eastern region, Democrat Charlie Wilson was conducting a rematch against freshman Republican Rep. Bill Johnson.

There will be at least two other new faces in Ohio's congressional delegation.

Iraq war veteran Brad Wenstrup, a Republican, was victorious in a southern Ohio district. He surprised Rep. Jean Schmidt in the GOP primary.

In a GOP-leaning district in the state's northeast corner, Geauga County Prosecutor David Joyce was facing Democrat Dale Virgil Blanchard.

Republicans chose Joyce to run after nine-term Rep. Steven LaTourette, a Republican, announced in July that he wouldn't seek re-election.

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