WEST CHESTER, Ohio (AP) – Much of the crowded field wanting to succeed John Boehner in his western Ohio district will take part in two forums Monday.
Organizers said most of the 17 candidates plan to be at sessions at two Miami University centers in Butler County. There are 15 Republicans running in the March 15 primary, when voters will choose nominees both for a June 7 special election to fill Boehner’s term and for the general election race for the next Congress.
Jason Kershner, vice president of government affairs for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber that’s among the organizers of Monday’s first forum, said there’s a lot of interest and excitement about the 8th district race and the wide choice of candidates.
Open House seats have been rare in recent years in Ohio, and he said the race takes on extra significance after the region lost the clout of being represented by the U.S. House speaker.
“This election comes at really a critical time of importance for this region and the country,” Kershner said. He said the region’s businesspeople want to hear the candidates’ plans on tax reform, transportation and other economic development issues.
Among the Republicans running are state Sen. Bill Beagle, of Tipp City, and state Rep. Tim Derickson, of Hanover Township, near Hamilton. Army veteran and businessman Warren Davidson has picked up some conservative endorsements including backing from the Club for Growth. Teacher J.D. Winteregg, who challenged Boehner last election, is running again.
The first forum will be at Miami’s learning center in suburban West Chester, followed by a Monday evening forum at Miami’s downtown Hamilton center.
Boehner, a Butler County resident, first won the seat in 1990 after ousting a scandal-tainted incumbent in the GOP primary. He retired from Congress last year as he stepped aside as House speaker.
The 8th District reaches across six countie