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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

OH-02 GOP Phil Heimlich: He Quits The House Race

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Less than a week after losing the Hamilton County GOP endorsement to U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt, Phil Heimlich has folded his campaign for the OH-02 nomination. The former County Commissioner quit today and said the endorsement and State Rep. Tom Brinkman's "late entry" in the contest forced him out.

"Mr. Brinkman's candidacy serves no purpose other than to assure Representative Schmidt's renomination. There is no reason to put the Republican Party through a tough primary when victory isn't possible. To do so would only lead to the ultimate benefit of the Democratic Party and its liberal agenda."

Heimlich was defeated in November 2006 by David Pepper. He briefly partnered with former GOP attorney general Jim Petro as Petro's lieutenant governor running mate in 2006 , but left that spot to run for reelection to the commission. Petro was clobbered by Ken Blackwell. Heimlich is a lawyer and may return to the practice of law. His political career clearly is in shambles. So far, no reaction from Brinkman, a conservative like Heimlich. Brinkman, who is term-limited from the state House, benefits from the withdrawal.


  1. Brinkman has a reaction up on his web site now.

    Go Tom!

  2. Boy, you sure beat all of the other news resources!

  3. Brinkman fan --

    I've got a call in to Tom. I imagine he is quite energized. I'd like to hear how he's going to go after Schmidt now that he can focus on her alone. If he can raise any money, he might have a chance, and if he's got a message that he'll share publicly. He's got some attention today, but will he capitalize on it?

  4. Anon 4:22 pm --

    The Bellwether wasn't first. CincyPAC had something up around 6:30 a.m. Howard Wilkinson about three hours later, then The Bellwether shortly after. I'm not sure that Brinkman can beat Schmidt, he's definitely the underdog. I do think that he will be a much more aggressive candidate that Bob McEwen was in the 2006 OH-02 primary. Brinkman needs money for TV and etc., and if he gets it . . . who knows?

  5. What's really sad is Heimlich could have won this seat in a cakewalk in 2005. He had the support, including from Brinkman, who endorsed Heimlich before Heimlich even announced. Heimlich can't blame anyone but himself for where he is now.

  6. Bill,

    I agree. Tom is going to have to work hard to raise some money, but Jean Schmidt can be beaten and her polling numbers prove it.

    Despite the party endorsement, she is extremely vulnerable in Hamilton County. The endorsees voted when it was a three-way race, and the ballot was not secret. Thus, the winner knows who to punish later...

    With Presidential race turnout numbers in the primary, this race will be different from anything Schmidt has faced since she won the seat.

    Hamilton County will be key - Brinkman must work even harder than he did during the 2005 special.

    Here's hoping he can pull it off.

  7. The open vote cuts both ways. Now Finney's Fanatics and Thugs know who to go after later ... when their boy Tom loses to Jean again.

  8. Well, it will be a pretty easy race for Schmidt to lose. Brinkman has no support outside Hamilton County, and had only a very little in Hamilton County to begin with. He did only get five or six votes from the Party Committee.

    Now, Brinkman's campaign is hopeless. He has no substantive endorsements, and no way to raise substantial capital. I think Heimlich had it right. He wrote,

    "Mr. Brinkman's candidacy serves no purpose other than to assure Representative Schmidt's renomination. There is no reason to put the Republican Party through a tough primary when victory isn't possible. To do so would only lead to the ultimate benefit of the Democratic Party and its liberal agenda."

    Basically, Tom Brinkman is supporting, with his actions, the Democrats. There is no way around it. However, it really doesn't matter, as his career is over...he just doesn't know it yet.

  9. Damn...I can't type. Notice my big typo in the first line in my above comment?

  10. Having just moved from the 2nd. District to Logan in early November and having encountered both Brinkman and, especially Schmidt during my 2004 run for the 66th.-District seat in the Ohio House of Representatives, I find these developments quite interesting.

    It's tough to see how Tom Brinkman can beat Jean Schmidt in the primary.

    Brinkman has always been critical of Schmidt as a "tax and spend" Republican. True or not, Schmidt obviously is a conventional legislator, often touting her ability to secure earmarks for her district. But voters tend to hate earmarks only when earmarked funds don't come to their states or districts. The minute their communities benefit, they like pork barrel spending. This goes to Schmidt's advantage in the primary, I think.

    Much of Schmidt's past vulnerability has to do with her firm support of the war in Iraq. But this isn't likely to be an issue on which Brinkman will challenge Schmidt.

    Brinkman's base of support, though clearly enthusiastic, is rather small and confined to a portion of Hamilton County. And he may pick up some of Phil Heimlich's volunteers and campaign contribitons. But I don't think that they can tilt things Brinkman's way.

    Schmidt will be vulnerable in November whether Brinkman runs or not, I think. But if Schmidt should lose, Brinkman's prospects in 2010 would be much better if no one can accuse him of being the one who so weakened Schmidt that she couldn't pull off a general election win.

    But then, what do I know? I'm just a preacher who lost the only election in which I ever ran.

    Keep up the good work on this site!

    Mark Daniels

  11. Mark --

    An insightful analysis. Brinkman's best hope is some kind of political miracle. They do happen. He has about a month. I would say the odds are about 10-3 that Schmidt wins the GOP primary.
    At the moment she looks pretty organized etc. I don't think she is a popular congresswoman, but I think she has done a lot to lock down her status as an incumbent within the GOP ranks of her district.