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Pat Tiberi Confident Ohio's 12th District Will Remain Republican

Former Congressman Pat Tiberi at his Ohio Business Roundtable office.
Nick Evans
Former Congressman Pat Tiberi at his Ohio Business Roundtable office.

The candidates for Ohio’s 12th Congressional District race are set, and many analysts believe this is the best shot Democrats have had in years to turn the longtime Republican seat blue. But Pat Tiberi, the last lawmaker to hold the post, is confident the GOP will keep the district.

Race watchers at the Cook Political Reportdowngraded Ohio’s 12th District from "likely Republican" to "leans Republican" after Tiberi left Congress early this year. Tiberi now works for the private Ohio Business Roundtable.

"I remember hearing the same darn thing in 2000, when John Kasich retired and I was running to replace him." Tiberi says.

But now that his handpicked successor, state Sen. Troy Balderson, won the GOP primary, Tiberi feels good about his party’s chances.

“At the end of the day, you know, whether it’s in Alabama, or whether it’s in Arizona, or whether it’s in Pennsylvania or whether it’s in Ohio’s 12—candidates matter,” Tiberi says. “And I am not concerned because we have a really good candidate on the Republican side to replace me.”

Balderson narrowly won Tuesday's primary in a 10-candidate contest. Balderson’s closest competitor was Liberty Township trustee Melanie Leneghan, who received the support from Freedom Caucus founder Jim Jordan.

Balderson will will face Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor in two elections: Once on August 7, in a special election to fill the rest of Tiberi's unexpired term, and once on November 6, the general election for next term.

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.