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State Legislator Launches Bid Against Schmidt

Ohio state Rep. Todd Book (D) announced Thursday he will challenge Rep. Jean Schmidt (R) in the southwestern Ohio 2nd district next year.“I am running for Congress because the only way to bring real change to Washington is by sending new people to Washington,— Book said in a statement. Book also announced he has the backing of Gov. Ted Strickland (D), who in a statement called him “an exceptionally talented hard-working young man.—Although voters have elected Republicans by wide margins in the 2nd district, Democrats continue to target Schmidt because they see her as a weak candidate. Schmidt has had several well-publicized gaffes in her first years in office that have made her a lightning rod for Democrats in the 2006 and 2008 cycles.Nonetheless, Physician Vic Wulsin (D) lost to Schmidt twice in the past two cycles. Schmidt defeated Wulsin by a small margin of about 2,600 votes in 2006, then by 7 points in 2008 — when the Congresswoman received only 45 percent of the vote because of a third-party candidate. Book still likely faces an uphill battle to win the seat. He will run on a ballot that will include former Rep. Rob Portman (R), who held the seat before Schmidt. Portman is running for Senate next year and remains popular in southwestern Ohio.

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