OH-15: Stivers (R) to Oppose Kilroy (D) in Battle to Replace Pryce (R)

As reported by Joe Hallett in the Columbus Dispatch and noted on Ohio 15th and Plunderbund this morning, State Sen. Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington) of the 16th Ohio Senate District has changed his mind and will jump into the contest to replace retiring Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Upper Arlington) n the 15th Ohio Congressional District. Stivers is an Iraq War vet and a relatively high-profile adversary for Franklin County Commissioner and well-funded repeat candidate Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus).

The fascinating thing about the announcement is that Stivers, a member of the incumbent's party, is portraying it as a race about change. "I've decided to run for Congress because I think we really need change in Washington," he says, and "the country is ready for change ...and I represent that change." He even goes so far as to portray Kilroy as "almost like" an incumbent in the race: "It will be a very different race than in 2006. The voters know her and they need to get to know me."

On the face of it, that is a difficult argument. Although the Republicans lost control of the House last year, they still hold the White House and the nation is still reeling from the Bush Administration and its policies. Even more telling, the 15th District has been in Republican hands since 1967, when Chalmer Wylie (R) replaced Robert Seacrest (D). Change, indeed.

Stiver's Ohio Senate district is almost entirely within the 15th Congressional District. Word is that State Rep. Jim Hughes (R) is the pick to run for Stiver's Ohio Senate seat.

The 15th Congressional District is in central Ohio in Franklin, Madison, and Union counties. It includes part of Columbus and its northwestern suburbs, including Hilliard, Marysville, as well as rural countryside to the northwest. It is a swing district (Cook PVI R+1) and is thought to be trending blue. Bush won 50% in 2004. Retiring incumbent Deborah Pryce (R) defeated Mary Jo Kilroy (D) by just over 1,000 votes (50% to 50%) in 2006.

Talk about "taking one for the team"

We knew that they had to come up with somebody, eventually. Any similarity between running against Mary Jo Kilroy and re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic is... well.. accurate.

This reminds me of 2004, when the GOP suckered er, I mean "recruited" Larry Kaczala to run against Marcy Kaptur. At the time, Kaczala was the only county wide GOP office holder in Lucas county (except for a certain one term "switcheroo" aberration, who lost that year.) The neo-cons had one funding raising event for Larry at a townhouse in Georgetown owned by the American Trucking Association. The limos rolled up, the lobbyists lined up and they donated just less than a quarter of million dollars. It was the high water mark of his campaign. Let's just say, it didn't turn out well.

Today? The guy's not even a Republican anymore. He's running for a Municipal Court seat as an independent against an endorsed Republican.

"Deja vu all over again."

There's no comparison

There's no comparison between those two races, Earl...

In the 9th District, you had a longtime (and very popular) incumbent Democrat congresswoman running for re-election in a very Democrat district; against a Republican challenger, that quite frankly, had very soft support from his own Party.

Now, in the 15th, you have two incumbent office holders (Republican State Senator & Democrat County Commissioner) running for an open seat in a slightly Republican leaning district (I'll grant you it's very "swing," but still leans R).

Just no comparison!

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