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Ohio: Democrats Win Last Undecided House Race

Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (D) defeated state Sen. Steve Stivers (R) in the 15th district, bringing an end to the last undecided House race in the country.

Kilroy beat Stivers 45.91 percent to 45.15 percent, which is just outside the half percent margin that would trigger an automatic recount in the open-seat race. Stivers lost the race by 2,311 votes, but he was leading Kilroy by a few hundred votes until election officials added totals from about 23,000 provisional ballots on Sunday. (To read an online profile of Kilroy, click here.)

As part of his failed bid, Stivers will not let taxpayers foot the bill for his trip to New Member Orientation on Capitol Hill last month. According to Stivers spokesman Mike Hartley, the campaign paid for the Republican’s flight and hotel with the understanding that Congress would pay it back if he won the election.

Stivers, who gave up his state Senate seat to run for Congress, is said to be seriously considering a second bid for the Columbus-area seat. According to GOP sources in Ohio, state Republican leaders and operatives are already calling him and asking him to run against Kilroy in 2010.

But Hartley demurred about a second Stivers bid and what his paying his own travel bill might indicate, saying that reimbursing taxpayers is consistent with his political beliefs.

“That has nothing to do with 2010. That is just the way he is,” Hartley said. “As far as 2010, he’s going to take some time and think about things and talk to people.”

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