Ohio: Heimlich Chokes, Drops Bid for Schmidt’s Seat

Posted January 23, 2008 at 6:49pm

Former Franklin County Commissioner Phil Heimlich on Wednesday abruptly dropped out of the Republican primary against controversial Rep. Jean Schmidt and state Rep. Tom Brinkman. Heimlich said in a statement that Brinkman’s recent entrance into the race and the fact that he was not endorsed by the Hamilton County Republican Party triggered his decision.

“Mr. Brinkman’s candidacy serves no purpose other than to assure Rep. Schmidt’s renomination,” Heimlich said. “There is no reason to put the Republican Party through a tough primary battle when victory isn’t possible. To do so would only lead to the ultimate benefit of the Democratic Party and its liberal agenda.”

Brinkman issued a statement calling Heimlich’s withdrawal a positive sign that would bring “more volunteers, more money and more attention” to his campaign.

“The news today doesn’t change the fact that I am still the challenger in this race,” Brinkman said.

Schmidt praised Heimlich and called for Republican unity.

A poll taken earlier this month for Schmidt’s campaign showed the Congresswoman with 52 percent of the vote, compared with Heimlich’s 31 percent and Brinkman’s 9 percent. The Tarrance Group poll surveyed 300 likely registered Republican voters on Jan. 9 and 10 and had a margin of error of 5.8 points.

Heimlich had been in the race since May and even had more in his campaign coffers than Schmidt through the end of September. Brinkman announced his candidacy in December.

Heimlich’s late withdrawal could be potentially problematic because the deadline to remove a candidate’s name from the ballot has passed. According to the Hamilton County Board of Elections, Heimlich’s name will remain on the ballot, but signs will be posted at polling places notifying voters that he is no longer running and his votes will not be counted.

The winner of the GOP race will face either physician and 2006 Democratic nominee Victoria Wulsin or attorney Steve Black. Wulsin is favored to get the Democratic nod in the March 4 primary.

Kilroy Spices Up Her Campaign With Salsa

Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (D) was hoping to dance the cha-cha ching Wednesday night with a low-dollar salsa-dancing fundraiser in Columbus for her Congressional campaign.

According to the invitation, an evening of “Salsa Music and Dancing” was scheduled at the Music Hall, where tickets cost $125 per person to sponsor the event and $50 for regular admission, including salsa lessons afterward.

This is the second time Kilroy has held a salsa-inspired fundraising event, according to her campaign manager. The first was in 2006, when she ran for the seat against Rep. Deborah Pryce (R).

Pryce announced in August that she was retiring, leaving Kilroy to run this time in an open-seat race against state Sen. Steve Stivers (R). The district west of Columbus is considered highly competitive after Pryce won by just 1,000 votes in 2006.

Iraq War Vet Takes Aim at New House Member

Having just finished his first month as a Member of Congress, Rep. Bob Latta already has a Republican challenger in the March 4 primary. According to local news reports, Iraq War veteran Scott Radcliffe has filed for the primary in northwest Ohio.

The (Toledo) Blade reported that Radcliffe was not happy with the nasty special Republican primary between Latta and state Sen. Steve Buehrer last fall.

“It’s not how I remembered my home,” Radcliffe told the paper. “I wanted to better represent my hometown.”

The Democratic candidate in the special election, 2004 and 2006 nominee Robin Weirauch, is not running again and instead has filed to run for a local county commissioner post. 2006 candidate George Mays (D) is running again this cycle.

Latta defeated Weirauch 57 to 43 percent in December’s special contest, which was targeted by both national Democrats and Republicans despite the district’s Republican tradition. The Dec. 11 special election sought to fill the seat made vacant by the September death of Rep. Paul Gillmor (R).
— Shira Toeplitz