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GOP Unlikely to Land Top Recruit Against Space in Ohio

Ohio state Sen. Jimmy Stewart, Republican’s most sought-after recruit in the race against Rep. Zack Space (D-Ohio), said this week that he is unlikely to run for Congress in 2010. “I don’t anticipate running for Congress next year,— Stewart said, according to a report Thursday in the Athens News. “It’s a difficult decision, but I’m going to leave it up to someone else.—Stewart was viewed as the GOP’s strongest possible candidate in the swing district because his political base is in Athens, which is the most Democratic part of the sprawling district. Both national and local party operatives believed the state Senator would be able to appeal to independent and even some Democratic voters. Stewart had met with National Republican Congressional Committee officials about a potential bid against Space.The 18th district includes portions of eastern and southeast Ohio and is generally conservative territory. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) won 53 percent of the vote there in the 2008 presidential election. Space rode the 2006 Democratic wave to victory and won the seat vacated by disgraced former Rep. Bob Ney (R). Republicans were not able to recruit a strong challenger to run against Space in 2008, but they view him as a juicy target in 2010 in part because he voted for controversial climate change legislation earlier this year.

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