Brian Walsh

In Ohio’s 16th Congressional Democrat, freshman Democrat John Boccieri is locked in a tough race with Republican small businessman Jim Renacci.  Ranked as “Toss Up/Tilt Republican” by non-partisan political handicapper Stu Rothenberg, this seat is a prime pick up opportunity for the GOP on November 2nd.

Polling has consistently shown Renacci with an edge over Boccieri, a strong signal that Ohioans have grown tired of his lockstep support of the Pelosi/Obama agenda.  Perhaps most damaging, Boccieri’s willingness to burden his constituents with new, job-killing energy taxes as a result of his support of Cap-and-Trade was the last straw in the Northwest Ohio district.  Despite the large sums of money spent in OH-16 by national Democrats and unions to reward the incumbent for his loyal support, Renacci’s plans to focus on fiscal responsibility and limited government as his approach to address the issues affecting voters.

As a reminder, Election Day is just six days away.  For breaking news on races across the country as they’re called, be sure to follow the NRCC on Twitter.

Original Post (06/10/2010):

This year, Republicans are doing what it takes to win back a seat in a traditional Republican stronghold.  After nearly sixty years of supporting Republicans in Northeast Ohio, the 16th District sent Democrat John Boccieri to Congress in the Democratic wave of 2008. Boccieri, who ran as a so-called “conservative” Democrat in 2008, has become a reliable vote for his liberal leadership and now faces a top-flight Republican challenger in businessman Jim Renacci.

Boccieri is best known for being part of the “Flip Flop Five,” an undistinguished group of Democrats who voted against the Democrats’ healthcare takeover the first time around but caved to their party leadership and supported the final product as the outcome of the vote was still in doubt, and as one of the few coal country Democrats who supported for the job killing National Energy Tax. In fact, days before he cast one of the deciding votes for Speaker Pelosi’s government healthcare takeover, a poll found that a majority of the district’s likely voters opposed the unpopular legislation.

As one of the most loyal Republican strongholds in recent history, the GOP represented Ohio’s 16th district from 1951 to 2009. Former Congressman Ralph Regula—who represented the district for 36 years—is the second-longest-serving Republican in the U.S. House. Sitting slightly south of Cleveland in Northeastern Ohio, this R+4 district is based largely in Stark County and the Canton Area. It includes the cities and towns of Canton, Medina, and Ashland. In 2008, John McCain carried the 16th 50% to 48% but Boccieri claimed 54% in the open-seat race to replace the retiring Regula. The area’s strong Republican history, the hard-charging Renacci campaign, and the strength of the Rob Portman’s U.S. Senate and John Kasich’s gubernatorial campaigns should provide a major challenge for Boccieri this November.

In contrast, Republican businessman Jim Renacci’s work demonstrates his commitment to core Republican values. His record as a job creator and his dedication to Ohio workers during this economic downturn demonstrates that he knows what it takes to run a business during difficult times and how to make the most of a difficult situation. While Boccieri has earned notoriety for his role in turning our country’s healthcare system upside down, Renacci actually has firsthand experience in the healthcare industry, which gives him an understanding of how to better approach healthcare reform instead of putting it in the hands of Washington politicians and bureaucrats.

Renacci also served as mayor of Wadsworth, Ohio, from 2004-2008. During his term as mayor, Renacci turned the city’s multi-million dollar deficit into a surplus by focusing on fiscal discipline and responsible government—two key values he plans on bringing to Washington, D.C. Renacci is a dedicated member of his community, and brings a valuable and needed voice to the debate on how to revive the national economy.

Boccieri has been identified by the National Republican Congressional Committee as a top target for congressional election this fall, and the NRCC has named Renacci as a “Young Gun” – the top level of the committee’s candidate recruitment and development program. This November, Ohio voters have a prime opportunity to take this seat back – and take another vote away from Nancy Pelosi. 

I hope you will visit Jim’s website, and Facebook and Twitter pages to learn more about this outstanding candidate and all that he can bring to Congress as the next Representative for Ohio’s 16th District.


Brian Walsh

Brian Walsh is the Political Director of the National Republican Congressional Committee.