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Ohio: Battling It Out for Gillmor’s Replacement

Northwest Ohio voters are heading to the polls today for the special election to fill the late Rep. Paul Gillmor’s (R) seat. The district was once considered a Republican stronghold, but the recent flow of cash from the national parties has led many political observers to say the race could be close.

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s independent expenditure had spent $428,000 on the race as of Monday evening — 17 percent of the more than $2.5 million the NRCC has in cash on hand. Its Democratic counterpart had dumped $243,800 into the campaign — a far smaller percentage of its more than $29 million in cash on hand.

Candidates spent the weekend campaigning and canvassing the district in a last-minute push for votes for what is widely expected to be a low-turnout special election.

Robin Weirauch (D), the 2004 and 2006 candidate, was scheduled to be joined Sunday by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) in knocking on doors in the district.

State Rep. Bob Latta (R), who first ran for the seat against Gillmor in 1988, had some help from his primary opponent, state Sen. Steve Buehrer (R), who called on Republican voters to head to the polls. The two Republican officials had a particularly negative primary, which Latta won by 4 points.

— Shira Toeplitz

Schuring Enters GOP Race for Regula’s Seat

State Sen. Kirk Schuring (R) made his official announcement tour Friday, campaigning with the support of Rep. Ralph Regula (R), who is retiring at the end of this term.

Ashland County Commissioner Matt Miller also is running for the Republican nomination.

Schuring said he filed his statement of candidacy earlier this fall in the race for the open seat currently held by Regula.

Ohio’s 16th district voted for President Bush in 2000 and 2004, though recent Democratic advances in the state and changing demographics in the district lead many observers to say the district is competitive.

Democrats have put up state Sen. John Boccieri to run for the open seat.

In response to his official announcement tour, the Ohio Democratic Party resurrected a complaint it had previously filed with the Federal Election Commission against the Schuring campaign last July.

According to a copy of the complaint supplied by the party, Schuring raised more than $136,300 by the end of July, spent a small portion of it, and yet had not filed a statement of candidacy — an act the Democratic Party alleges is in violation of FEC rules.

“By deliberately confusing the voters of the area with his half-truths about his intentions, Kirk Schuring is trying to have it both ways,” Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern said.

Schuring said he has followed all of the FEC guidelines according to his legal counsel and that Democrats are targeting him because they don’t want to run their candidate against him.

“I haven’t gotten out of the primary yet,” Schuring said. “Obviously they don’t want to run against me.”

— S.T.

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