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December 12, 2007
Big Wins for GOP in House Election
Two special elections to fill the House seats of deceased members were held in Ohio and Virginia yesterday and, despite stiff challenges from Democrats, both Republicans emerged as big winners:
Republicans retained two House seats in special elections Tuesday, including a hotly contested Ohio race that the two parties spent nearly $700,000 trying to win. ... (HT: Ed Morrissey)
State legislator Bob Latta decisively defeated Democrat Robin Weirauch in Ohio’s 5th District, leading by 56 to 43 percent with 90 percent of the vote in. The special election was held to replace the late Rep. Paul Gillmor (R).
In Virginia’s 1st District, GOP state Del. Rob Wittman won a landslide victory over Iraq war veteran Phil Forgit (D) in the race to succeed the late Rep. Jo Ann Davis (R). With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Wittman had 61 percent of the vote, while Forgit had only tallied 37 percent.
The Democrats poured $700,000 into the Ohio race and believed they had a good shot at an upset. The Ohio GOP is in shambles as a result of scandals and a disasterous 2006. But the party rallied behind Latta and the race ended up not even being close. AT Political Correspondent Rich Baehr:
The Ohio race was expected to be very close, and both parties poured money in from national committees. GOP candidate Bob Latta in Ohio 5 won by same margin as the late Congressman Gillmor had in 2006. In Virginia, GOP candidate Bob Wittman won easily as well, by about the same margin achieved by the late Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis in 2006. Both states are regarded as in play in the 2008 Presidential race, though won by the GOP in 2000 and 2004, and are essential for a GOP victory in the Electoral College. But the GOP is hardly out of the woods. The party has virtually disappeared in New England and the northeast and has been considerably weakened in the upper south and Midwest. A strong presidential candidate may indeed right the ship. But a strong candidate at the top of the ticket is no substitute for good fundraising and recruiting good challengers to run against Democrats who wrested seats held by the GOP until 2006.