CINCINNATI (AP) — A political newcomer backed by conservative advocacy groups Tuesday topped the 15-candidate Republican field running to succeed former House Speaker John Boehner in his GOP-leaning western Ohio district.
Army veteran and businessman Warren Davidson defeated two state legislators in both races: for nomination for a June 7 special election to complete Boehner's term and the November general election the next Congress. He had 32 percent of the vote with 98 percent of precincts reporting unofficial returns, to 24 percent for state Rep. Tim Derickson and 20 percent for state Sen. Bill Beagle. Vote totals were roughly the same in the two races.
Construction materials business owner Jim Spurlino, running as a "true conservative outsider," was a distant fourth with 7 percent, while J.D. Winteregg of Troy, who unsuccessfully challenged Boehner in the 2014 primary, had about 4 percent.
Like most of the candidates in the heavily Republican district, Davidson, 46, ran as a conservative non-politician. However, he emerged from the pack after winning the endorsements of Boehner antagonists GOP Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio and the conservative advocacy groups Club for Growth and FreedomWorks.
"I looked at who was getting into the field, and I felt like I had something distinct to offer," Davidson said before the primary. He said he felt a lot of pent-up frustration in the district because of lack of change even with Republican control of Congress.
Boehner had held the seat since ousting a scandal-marred incumbent in the 1990 GOP primary.
The 8th House district spans six counties along the Ohio-Indiana border containing northern Cincinnati suburbs, working-class cities and long rural stretches. Only one Democrat and one Green Party candidate ran.
Open seats have been rare in recent years in Ohio, and aspirants saw opportunity when Boehner decided to resign last year from the House speakership and leave Congress. Other candidates included other business owners, military veterans and everything from a history teacher to grain elevator worker to 77-year-old retiree.
The Democrat is Corey Foister, with Jim Condit Jr. running under the Green Party banner for both the special election and general election.
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