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Split Decision in Congressional Races

Driehaus unseats Chabot, Schmidt hangs on

By Kevin Osborne · November 5th, 2008 · News
Ohio might have turned Democratic blue Tuesday night, but Hamilton County and the southwestern part of the state sent mixed signals about whether it embraced the tides of change.

U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Miami Township) claimed victory in Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District early Wednesday morning, even though some of the ballots in Hamilton County hadn’t been counted yet due to computer problems.

Still, with a sizeable margin in parts of the 2nd District located in surrounding counties, Schmidt won a second full term in the House. She got 45 percent of the vote, while Democratic challenger Victoria Wulsin got 37 percent and independent David Krikorian got 18 percent, according to results from the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office.

The 2nd District spans seven counties in southwestern Ohio, most of them along the Ohio River. It includes eastern parts of Cincinnati such as Madisonville as well as Sharonville, Blue Ash, Deer Park, Lebanon, Loveland, Madeira, Montgomery, Newtown, Terrace Park and Indian Hill and all or parts of Anderson, Sycamore and Symmes townships.

A computer glitch shut down the counting of ballots for more than an hour around midnight at the Hamilton County Board of Elections, leaving just more than 50 percent of the county’s votes tabulated.

As of 1:25 a.m., counting had resumed and 99.5 percent of the county’s ballots had been tabulated.

Wulsin appeared to have prevailed in Hamilton County in an exceedingly tight race — by just 415 votes — but not by a margin large enough to let her claim victory districtwide.

Wulsin got 41.44 percent to Schmidt’s 41.10 percent, with Krikorian receiving 17.44 percent.

Ironically, Krikorian ran because of his intense dislike of Schmidt’s policies and personal style. He might have cut into Wulsin’s vote total, although it’s possible that some of Krikorian’s supporters would’ve backed Schmidt if he hadn’t run.

U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, the Republican incumbent in Ohio’s 1st Congressional District, lost his bid for an eighth term in Washington.

Preliminary results districtwide show Democratic challenger Steve Driehaus capturing 51.6 percent of the vote to 48.3 percent for Chabot, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office. Two independent write-in candidates, Eric Wilson and Rich Stevenson, each got 0.01 percent.

In the Hamilton County portion of the district, Driehaus got a late surge in votes in Democratic-leaning neighborhoods that appeared to provide him with the margin of victory.

The 1st District spans roughly from Vine Street downtown westward to the Indiana state line and northward into Butler County. It includes such communities as Evendale, Norwood, Reading, Springdale, White Oak, Woodlawn, Colerain Township and Delhi Township.

It was unclear early Wednesday morning if Driehaus could claim victory. Speaking at a campaign party at Sully’s Tavern downtown around midnight, he remained optimistic.

“It’s a great night for the country,” Driehaus said. “I’m obviously a little disappointed the system is broken down here in Hamilton County. I think I will come out on top. When you look at some of the neighborhoods still out, they’re part of the Democratic base.”

Asked if he would stay up all night until the race was settled, Driehaus replied, “I’m like Harry Truman. I’m going to bed and hoping for the best.”

Appearing at his own campaign party at Champs Sports Bar a few blocks away at about 12:30 a.m., Chabot said he wasn’t ready to declare victory or concede defeat. If he did prevail, though, Chabot said he was willing to work with President-elect Barack Obama, a Democrat. �


 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
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