Even Many Republicans Didn’t Want Heimlich
To paraphrase Richard Nixon, voters won’t have Phil Heimlich to kick around anymore. Until next time, that is.
Just as many people wrote the political obituary for Nixon after his defeat to John Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election only to be proven wrong later, dismissing Heimlich’s prospects also might prove to be premature.
As Heimlich, a Republican, prepares to leave his seat on the Hamilton County Commission after his defeat this week to Democrat David Pepper, it will mark the first time in 13 years that Heimlich hasn’t held a political office. But residents shouldn’t expect his exile to last long. Regardless of who wins this year in the tight race for Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District seat, Heimlich probably will make a bid for the office in two years, political insiders say.
Republican incumbent Jean Schmidt and Democratic challenger Dr. Victoria Wulsin are battling it out for the seat now. Initial counts put Schmidt ahead by less than 3,000 votes, with provisional ballots yet to be tallied. But Heimlich has long eyed that office, and Schmidt is vehemently opposed by the same conservative Republican cabal that supports Heimlich, mostly the anti-tax, anti-abortion faction led by activist Christopher Finney and State Rep. Tom Brinkman Jr.
Meanwhile, Heimlich has tried to couch his defeat Tuesday night with an argument that cold, hard facts don’t bear out.
Heimlich blamed his defeat on the anti-Republican mood that has swept the nation, primarily as a backlash against President Bush and the Iraq War. Statistics, however, show that voters in Hamilton County overall defied the national trend and remained true to the GOP.
Hamilton County voters, after all, still provided more votes to state attorney general candidate Betty Montgomery, state auditor candidate Mary Taylor, secretary of state candidate Greg Hartmann, U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine and U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot than they did to their Democratic challengers. In fact, the only statewide Democratic candidate to receive a majority of the county’s votes was state treasurer candidate Richard Cordray.
As one political observer noted about the results, “Even those people said they don’t like Phil Heimlich.” A closer analysis reveals that Pepper got more votes in the county commission race than fellow Democrat John Cranley received in his race against Chabot in heavily Republican areas like Anderson and Green townships — meaning some GOP voters made a conscious decision to snub Heimlich.
To end with another paraphrase: The fault, dear Phil, lies not in the party but in yourself.
— Kevin Osborne