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Monday, March 12, 2007

OH-02: It Looks Like Term-limited Tom Brinkman Could Force GOP Primary

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Spent some time chatting in a Cincinnati coffee shop recently with State Rep. Tom Brinkman Jr., an ultra-conservative Republican who said he has pretty much made up his mind to run against U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt in the 2008 GOP primary. Brinkman's 34th Ohio House district is on Cincinnati's East Side and includes Anderson Township, a large suburb. He said he is term-limited out of the Ohio General Assembly in 2008, still supports term limits even though they are forcing him out of an office, and more than strongly suggested he has his eye on the House seat Schmidt won in 2005.

Brinkman has a chairmanship in this legislative biennial, which he believes adds meat to his Statehouse resume , which sometimes strayed into cul-de-sacs and what looked like political performance art. Brinkman was a ceaseless critic of former Republican Gov. Bob Taft, whom he refused to support, and he probably will try to use his anti-Taft history as an asset. He said he'll be involved in getting Worker's Comp reforms through the General Assembly this session, which he can point to on the primary trail as a legislative accomplishment. Brinkman ran against Schmidt in the 2005 special primary. She came out on top of the 11-person field and then slipped past Democrat Paul Hackett. Last fall, she edged Democrat Victoria Wulsin.

Brinkman said he was confident he could a make a case across the seven-counties of OH-02 that he would be a stronger candidate against Democrats than Schmidt. He said his political base in Hamilton County is larger than hers in Clermont County. Both Schmidt and Brinkman are pro-life, pro-gun conservatives. Brinkman said he will contend that his anti-tax credentials are stronger.

Another Hamilton County Republican supposedly interested in a primary is Phil Heimlich. His formal intentions are unknown, and some of the buzz about his stature as a political figure of future import died down this winter. Michael Keating, a former bank executive, may be looking into a race. Asked what he's heard, Brinkman said he thinks Keating might run, he's fairly confident Heimlich won't and didn't know much about the plans of a third oft-rumored Schmidt foe: Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters.

Bottomline: Brinkman clearly wants to run against Schmidt and he seems to be gearing up for a race. He said he's already met with pro-gun forces to gauge their support. Can he raise enough money? Schmidt has the power of incumbency. That's always a factor. And do Republicans ever dump sitting officeholders? Not often.


  1. Interesting...though I can't say I'm too surprised. Brinkman despises Schmidt with a passion.

  2. George H. VincentMarch 12, 2007 4:38 PM

    My recollection is that Brinkman surprised a lot of people in the 2005 special with the amount of money he raised.

    He has a near-cult following of die-hard conservatives who wanted him to run again last year when he opted to endorse McEwen instead.

    Brinkman will be a legitimate threat IF several things fall into place:

    1) He has Schmidt one-on-one

    2) He can raise the money

    3) He can get the Hamilton County endorsement.

    He's got a decent shot at #1, a lot of work to do on #2, and I'm hearing #3 is half-way sealed up. That it, at least Hamilton County WON'T be endorsing Schmidt.

    Whether they will go so far as to endorse Brinkman will largely depend on how much money he can raise and how much of a threat he appears to be.

    Schmidt has proven she can't raise the money, so the ball is in Brinkman's court.

  3. This is just absurd, Quixotic thinking on Brinkman's part. NRA will endorse Schmidt, as will the local groups.

    Brinkman won't be able to raise money against her, either.

    The major issue is that Brinkman seems bound and determined to hand over the Ohio Second District to the Democrats. We Republicans barely squeaked by after a bloody primary the last two times, now he wants to further weaken our candidate. I'm truly disgusted. Tom Brinkman should run for County Commission or Auditor, not against Republicans.