OH-05: Final Tally - Latta (R) By A Nose; Weirauch (D) By A Mile
Final tally from the SOS:
43.73% - 32,036 - Latta (R)
40.12% - 29,387 - Buehrer (R)
6.69% -- 4,901 -- Hollenbaugh (R)
5.75% -- 4,211 -- Pieper (R)
3.71% -- 2,716 -- Smitley (R)
72.12% - 31,744 - Weirauch (D)
27.88% - 12,274 - Mays (D)
So State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) and his legacy squeaked past State Sen. Steve Buehrer (R-Delta) and his conservative PAC support by only 2,649 votes, and as Earl noted the filing deadline for the 2008 primary is coming right up. When this race started I thought Latta was a lock. Those Club for Growth polls showed Buehrer gaining and he did, although not quite enough. Next year's primary campaign will be longer. Latta will celebrate today, but how well will he sleep tonight? Not only does he have the December 11th special election to worry about, there's another nasty primary on the horizon. Brutal.
Despite the ugliness of the GOP primary and the appearance of low voter interest, the total GOP vote count of 73,251 dwarfed the Democratic turnout of 44,018. That's 62.46% to 37.54%, greater than Gillmor's margin of victory over Weirauch in 2006. However, the independents and non-affiliated voters will be a huge factor in the general election. Also, the Democratic voters had little reason to vote in the primary, with Weirauch virtually assured of victory.
Will Club for Growth-inflamed Buehrer voters be motivated to get out and support so-called "liberal" Latta? Hmm.
As Bill Sloat notes today, this race will receive intense national attention, much like the special election in the 2nd Ohio Congressional District in 2005. Although party and PAC support for Weirauch was light in the primary and in past campaigns, look for a much greater level of participation this time due to the national spotlight. As Bill says, it's the only game in town. And, the total Republican vote total in the 2005 special primary (45,682) surpassed the total Democratic vote (13,893) by an enormous margin, which didn't prevent an incredibly close final tally in the special general vote (59,671 to 55,886).
ADDENDUM: Just for the record, in the 2006 primary in the 5th Congressional District, in which neither party's candidate was opposed, 82,541 people voted with Gillmor getting 54,168 votes (66%) and Weirauch getting 28,373 (34%). In the subsequent general election, however, the total of voters was 228,357, or 145,816 greater than in the primary, with Gillmor getting 129,813 (57%) and Weirauch getting 98,544 (43%). The addition of independents bumped up Weirauch nine points.