Once House Speaker John A. Boehner resigns, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is required to set a special election to fill the vacancy. GOP operatives in Ohio predict the special election primary will be held concurrent with the already scheduled primary in March.
The special election primary in the 8th District — located along the state’s border with Indiana — is akin to the general election in this deeply conservative seat. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried it by a 26-point margin in 2012.
Ohio Republican strategists say the primary will likely be crowded, and that there is no single candidate who could clear the field.
Potential candidates include:
Ohio Senate President Keith Faber, who is termed out of the state legislature in 2016. Faber had been talked about as a potential attorney general candidate in the Buckeye State, but the unexpectedly open House seat could be an attractive option for him.
Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones, who is from the southern part of the district near Cincinnati. Jones has made a name for himself by being vehemently anti-illegal immigration.
State Sen. Bill Coley, who is also from the southern part of the district near Cincinnati.
State Sen. Chris Widener, who is from the central part of the district.
State Sen. Bill Beagle, first elected in 2010. Beagle is from the Dayton area, which the central part of the 8th District wraps around.
Former state Sen. Gary Cates, who was termed out of his seat in 2011. Cates is also from the southern part of the district.
Republican operatives also speculate that Boehner’s exit could lead to an exodus of his allies in the House — who won’t want to stick around without Boehner leading the ship.
“You’re going to see a lot of the older, Boehner lieutenants start to consider retirement,” said Bob Kish, an Ohio-based GOP ad maker. “Guys who are buddies with Boehner are going to say, ‘Screw this. If he’s not in charge, I’m not staying in the insane asylum.”