Heimlich Maneuvers to Oust Schmidt in Primary

Posted May 15, 2007 at 10:54am

Phil Heimlich last week became the first Republican to announce that he will challenge Rep. Jean Schmidt in the GOP primary — but he is unlikely to be the last.

Schmidt has not solidified her base since winning 31 percent of the Republican vote to earn the right to square off against Iraq War veteran Paul Hackett in the August 2005 special election held to replace former Rep. Rob Portman (R). Portman vacated the 2nd district seat to become the U.S. trade representative.

Schmidt did not reach 50 percent in last year’s primary and beat Democrat Victoria Wulsin by only 1 point.

Given her weak general election performances in an otherwise reliable Republican district, she has become a target within her party.

State Rep. Tom Brinkman Jr., Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, failed 2006 gubernatorial nominee Ken Blackwell and Iraq War veteran Brad Wenstrup all are mulling the GOP nod.

Heimlich, a former Hamilton County commissioner, surprised other Republicans with his decision to run. If any other Republican insists on going forward, Schmidt could survive to face Wulsin again.

Jeff Sinnard, who lost to Wulsin last year, is seeking a rematch in the Democratic primary, but Wulsin is heavily favored.
— Nicole Duran