Ohio: Plenty of GOP Interest in 18th District Race

Posted April 3, 2009 at 5:25pm

Several local Republican lawmakers are considering running against Rep. Zack Space (D) next year, although none is ready to toss his hat into the ring yet.

Space won the conservative 18th district seat in 2006, after then-Rep. Bob Ney (R) was indicted and convicted on corruption charges. Although President Barack Obama only won 45 percent of the vote in the district last November, Space was re-elected with 60 percent of the vote — largely because Republicans failed to recruit a good candidate to run against him.

State Sen. Jimmy Stewart (R) said he is considering running for the seat, especially if Space runs for Senate and it’s an open seat race.

“I’m taking a close look at it either way,— Stewart said.

State Sen. John Carey (R) said he had not ruled out a bid either and would make a decision sometime this summer.

“I guess I’m interested. I just want to see what the political landscape is at that time,— Carey said. “I’ve got other considerations as far as family goes.—

State Rep. Jay Hottinger (R) confirmed in a phone interview that he was looking at challenging Space but called his chances of getting into the race “slim.— What’s more, Ohio is slated to lose one or two Congressional seats in 2011 during reapportionment and redistricting.

“I really don’t have a desire to run and win and then have the seat disappear,— Hottinger said.

Space Ponders Senate, but Bid Still Unlikely

Rep. Zack Space (D) said last week that there is still a “possibility— that he will run for the Buckeye State’s open Senate seat in 2010, but he didn’t sound optimistic that such a campaign would come to fruition.

If Space decides to run for retiring Sen. George Voinovich’s (R) seat, he would join a primary with two statewide Democratic officials who have already announced their candidacies: Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher.

In an interview, Space played coy about his intentions for 2010 but did not rule out running for Voinovich’s seat.

“It’s a possibility. It’s out there,— Space said. “But the honest truth is I’m not really giving it much thought. I’m trying to take care of business here. We’ve got so much to worry about here; it would be doing my constituents a disservice if I were focused on something other than that.—

Whoever wins the Democratic nomination will likely face former Rep. Rob Portman, who national Republicans see as their best candidate to hold Voinovich’s seat.