Today is the special election in the 5th Congressional district in Ohio to fill the vacant seat left by the death of Paul Gillmor back in September. It pits Republican Bob Latta against Democrat Robin Weirauch, and the race has drawn a lot of attention outside of Perrysburg, Bowling Green, and the rest of the largely rural district that stretches from the Indiana line in the northwest corner of the state to the heartland of central Ohio.
Turnout is expected to be 20 to 25 percent. A similar special election in Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District in August, 2005, drew about 25 percent.
Although the district’s boundaries have been adjusted over the years, it is considered solidly Republican. President Bush received 61 percent of the district’s vote during his 2004 re-election bid.
Giving Democrats reason for hope, 5th District voters last year went for Democrats Ted Strickland and Sherrod Brown, helping them win as governor and U.S. senator, respectively.
It’s also caused both parties to spend a lot of money.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has spent $243,745 in the effort to pry the seat out of Republican hands; the National Republican Congressional Committee has spent $427,998 to keep it, reports filed yesterday said.
Needless to say, it would be a huge upset if Ms. Weirauch wins, and the GOTV effort will be the key, but as the Toledo Blade noted, “strange things happen in light turnouts.”