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Ohio's 12th District Chooses Between 18 Congressional Candidates

Nick Evans
Teresa Shaw voted on Tuesday morning at the American Legion Hall in Westerville. She had 18 candidates to choose from in the 12th District primary.

It’s sunny and warm at the American Legion Hall in Westerville on Tuesday morning, and a couple of members are outside doing yard work as people drive up and file inside to vote.  

Mark Eucker takes a break from spreading mulch to talk about the crowded primary for Ohio’s 12th Congressional district.

“I’m all for making America great again,” Eucker says. “So I’m looking forward to candidates who are going to back and support the president.”

Eucker cast his vote for Republican Tim Kane, who bills himself as a veteran and conservative economist.

The 12th District race has gained attention inside Ohio and out, because 17 major party candidates are vying to replace Pat Tiberi—a Republican who resigned in January to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable. That means there aretwo boxes to check today: One candidate for the special election filling the rest of Tiberi's term, and one candidate for the general election filling the seat next year.

Mark Eucker.
Credit Nick Evans / WOSU
Mark Eucker works outside the American Legion in Westerville.

The GOP has controlled Tiberi’s seat since 1983, and 10 Republican candidates are running to keep it that way. On the Democratic side, seven people are running to take the seat back, hoping to ride the Democratic wave that has already claimed House and Senate races across the country.

In Westerville, though, several voters were reticent to share who they supported. 

“My mother was a presiding judge and those were things she said never answer,” Ann Litt said. 

Teresa Shaw offered that she’ll miss Kasich in the governor’s mansion but didn’t want to talk about her vote for Congress.

Rick Brown didn’t want to share his decision either, but he’s hoping for a nominee who is willing to compromise. 


Rick Brown.
Credit Nick Evans
Rick Brown.

“With everybody touting conservative credentials, it’s hard to know who is going to be willing to work with other people where compromise is necessary to get things done,” Brown says.

Most voters passing through the American Legion Tuesday morning were Republicans, but not all.  Michelle Schultheis explained with so many options, she didn't have the opportunity to learn enough about any one of the candidates. She just picked a name.

When it comes to governor, though, Schultheis knows where she stands.

"I definitely voted to Richard Cordray," she said. "I felt like that was really necessary to get him into office."

The 12th District will hold a special election on August 7 to fill the rest of Tiberi's term through December. And the November 6 election will determine what representative will serve beginning in January.

Here are the 10 Republican candidates for Ohio's 12th district (all but Adams have filed for both the interim post and the full term):

  • John Adams
  • Kevin Bacon
  • Troy Balderson
  • Lawrence Cohen
  • Jon Halverstadt
  • Tim Kane
  • Melanie Leneghan
  • Pat Manley
  • Carol O’Brien
  • Mick Shoemaker, Jr.

Here are the seven Democrats running (all but Peters have filed for both ballots):

  • Ed Albertson
  • Danny O’Connor
  • Jackie Patton
  • John Peters
  • John Russell
  • Zach Scott
  • Doug Wilson

Green Party candidate Joe Manchik is running unopposed.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.