Crystal Ball Outlook: Likely R
Democratic candidate: Paula Brooks, President of Frank County Board of Commissioners.
Republican candidate: Patrick Tiberi, Incumbent
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Rep. Pat Tiberi played trumpet in The Ohio State University Marching Band as an undergraduate, and since his first run for Congress in 2000, he has marched to five resounding electoral victories in the Ohio 12th Congressional District, most recently in 2008 with his winning reelection with 55 percent of the vote against Democrat David Robinson. Tiberi has found success, not by mindlessly trumpeting the Republican Party line, but by supporting district issues, both conservative and moderate, such as revising the tax code and increasing the minimum wage.
The Ohio 12th encompasses a large portion of Columbus and neighboring areas, and, given that it is centered on a major metropolis, the district is an amalgam of different demographics and concerns. The district is 72 percent white and 22 percent African-American, with 2 percent each of Hispanic and Asian populations. The district went for George Bush in 2000 and 2004, with 53 percent and 51 percent of the vote, respectively, but the district went for Barack Obama with 54 percent of the vote in 2008. Republicans, however, have controlled the district’s congressional seat for all but two years since 1940, making the district reliably Republican at the congressional level. Since the district has 68 percent white-collar employment, major issues include tax policy and business enterprise. Consequently, Tiberi has sought to institute a simpler tax code, and he has garnered high ratings from the United States Chamber of Commerce, indicating pro-business policies and voting.
The only declared Democratic challenger to Tiberi in 2010 is Paula Brooks, current President of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners. Brooks is popular in Franklin County, which makes up much of the Ohio 12th District, and she has the support of Ohio Governor Ted Strickland (D) and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman (D). She has declared that she intends to make “jobs, health care, and our military families and security” major campaign issues.
While Tiberi looks to have fairly strong competition from Paula Brooks in 2010, Tiberi’s convincing past wins, his representation of district issues, the Republican dominance of the district’s congressional seat since 1940, and Tiberi’s current $778,000 fundraising edge all point to continued Republican dominance in 2010. Ohio’s 12th is Likely Republican.