Kucinich Holds on to Seat; Other Incumbents Win
UPDATE: Rep. Dennis Kucinich has won his Democratic primary, beating opponent Joe Cimperman 50 percent to 35 percent with all precincts reporting. He will now face ex-state Rep. Jim Trakas (R) in November and is highly favored to be re-elected to his 7th term in the House.
ORIGINAL POST 12:21 A.M. EST: Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich will have to wait a little longer before he knows whether he survived a difficult Democratic primary challenge tonight, as bad weather and extended poll hours have delayed the full reporting of results from his Cleveland-based 22nd district. With just 19 percent of precincts reporting, Kucinich led Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman, 53 to 31 percent.
Kucinich had appeared vulnerable in recent months as Cimperman hammered the well-known antiwar liberal for being too focused on his presidential campaign. But Kucinich has campaigned hard back home since dropping out of the White House race.
Other House incumbents facing challenges Tuesday night survived their primaries, with Rep. Jean Schmidt (R) holding on in Ohio and GOP Reps. Ron Paul and Ralph Hall living to fight another day in Texas. Here's a look at the most important Congressional races of the night:
Ohio 2nd: Despite some signs early in the race that she might be in jeopardy, Schmidt easily beat back GOP primary challenger Tim Brinkman in the 2nd district. Theoretically, this seat should be strongly Republican. But Schmidt beat physician Victoria Wulsin (D) by fewer than 3,000 votes in 2006, and Wulsin won the Democratic primary Tuesday night to face Schmidt again.
Ohio 7th: With the backing of retiring Rep. David Hobson (R), Steve Austria easily beat three other candidates to win the GOP nomination. On the Democratic side, attorney Sharon Swartz Neuhardt was leading software developer Bill Conner by four percentage points with 87 percent of precincts reporting. The district is strongly Republican, giving President Bush 57 percent of the vote in 2004.
Ohio 15th: With Rep. Deborah Pryce (R) retiring, State Sen. Steve Stivers beat economist Robert Wagner in the GOP primary to replace her. Stivers will now face Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy, who was unopposed in her primary and came within roughly 1,000 votes of beating Pryce in 2006. This seat is extremely competitive.
Ohio 16th: In the contest to replace retiring GOP Rep. Ralph Regula, state Sen. John Boccieri won a solid victory over ex-state Rep. Mary Cirelli in the Democratic primary. On the Republican side, state Sen. Kirk Schuring -- who was endorsed by Regula -- trailed Ashland County Commissioner Matt Miller by 2 points with 88 percent of the vote reporting. This seat leans Republican only narrowly, and should be competitive in the fall, particularly given the GOP's problems at the statewide level in recent years.
Ohio 18th: Former state Agriculture Director Fred Dailey beat three other contenders for the GOP nomination against freshman Rep. Zachary Space (D). Republicans are hoping to recapture this GOP-leaning seat, which fell into the Democratic column during the fallout from the resignation and guilty plea of ex-Rep. Robert Ney (R). But Space has amassed a decent record so far and will not be easy to beat.
Texas 4th: Hall, a former Democrat, had no trouble dispensing with four challengers in the GOP primary and will likely cruise to re-election in this strongly Republican seat.
Texas 14th: Like Kucinich, Paul faced a primary challenge while he was out on the presidential campaign trail. But the incumbent easily beat Friendswood City Councilman Chris Peden in the GOP contest and should be re-elected easily this November.
Texas 22nd: With Rep. Nick Lampson waiting in November, several Republicans are battling for the right to advance to a two-person April 8 runoff for the party nod. With just 12 percent of the vote reporting, ex-Rep. Shelley Sekula Gibbs and former Senate staffer Pete Olson were leading the field. Sekula Gibbs held this seat for roughly six weeks in 2006 after the resignation of Rep. Tom DeLay. The seat is one of the GOP's top targets this year and should be competitive regardless of who wins the runoff.
Texas 23rd: Bexar County Commissioner Lyle Larson beat attorney Quico Canseco in a contentious GOP primary. Now Larson will face Rep. Ciro Rodriguez in November, hoping to avenge GOP Rep. Henry Bonilla's 2006 loss in a seat that leans narrowly to the Republican side.
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