The hottest congressional race in southwest Ohio is the one to replace retired House Speaker John Boehner, R-West Chester.
Twenty candidates — including 17 Republicans — submitted nominating petitions f0r the March 15 primary, according to the Butler County Board of Elections. Not all live in the district, which is not required under the U.S. Constitution.
Candidates are not officially on the ballot until county boards of election certify that their nominating petitions are valid and have enough signatures. The deadline for certification is Dec. 28.
Boehner, a West Chester Twp. Republican, battled conservatives within his own party, finally stepping down as speaker and resigning from Congress in October after 25 years. It created the rare vacancy in a congressional seat.
All of the candidates filed both for the special election to fill the remainder of Boehner’s term through 2016 and to be elected to a full two-year term.
Cedarville University political science professor Mark Caleb Smith said the abundance of candidates could be attributed to a number of factors. Special elections have a compressed window for activity, making it “more feasible to jump in quickly and not spend one-to-two years preparing for a race,” he said.
It also is for a job that’s desirable.
“It is powerful, prestigious and is a good springboard to other opportunities — running for higher office, lobbying or re-entering the private sector with a much stronger resume,” said Smith, director of Cedarville’s Center for Political Studies.
The candidates who filed by Wednesday’s deadline include Democrat Corey Foister of Fairfield, Libertarian Robert Coogan of Hamilton and Green Party candidate Jim Condit Jr., of Cincinnati.
The Republicans who filed: Matthew Ashworth of Hamilton; state Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City; Warren Davidson of Troy; state Rep. Tim Derickson, R-Oxford; Donald Feerer of Hamilton; Scott George of Troy; Eric Haemmerle of West Chester Twp.; Terri King of Middletown; Joseph Matvey of West Chester Twp.; Edward Meer of West Chester Twp.; Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds of Middletown; John Robbins of Monroe; Michael Smith of Germantown; James Spurlino of Centerville; Kevin White of New Carlisle; J.D. Winteregg of Troy; and George Wooley of Troy.
The bulk of the district’s population lives in Butler County, but the Republican party there was unable to decide on someone to endorse. The district includes all of Butler, Miami, Clark, Darke and Preble counties and part of Mercer County.
In other Congressional and legislative races:
U.S. House of Representatives
Democrat Robert Klepinger of Dayton wants another chance to unseat U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, who filed for re-election. Klepinger, a school teacher, was a political newcomer when he lost to Turner in 2014.
U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, has filed for a fifth term in the 4th Congressional District, which includes 13 counties and stretches from Champaign County to Lorain County.
Three Democratic challengers have filed for the primary election for a chance to face Jordan, including Oberlin resident Janet Garrett, Plain City resident Daniel Johnson and Norbert G. Dennerll, Jr. of Elyria.
Garrett is a retired kindergarten teacher who ran against Jordan in 2014 as a write-in candidate.
Dennerll, Jr., 86, was previously a Cleveland City Council member.
U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Cincinnati, filed for re-election to his 1st District seat and will face no primary opponent. Three Cincinnati Democrats are bidding to replace him: Jim Berns, Fred Kundrata and Michele Young.
State Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering, is being challenged by Barbara Temple of Vandalia in the Republican primary for the 6th District seat. Longtime Huber Heights councilwoman Lu Dale, a Democrat who was unseated in November, also filed for the seat.
Four people, including state Rep. Robert D. Hackett, R-London, filed to run for the 10th District Senate seat held by Chris Widener, R-Springfield. Widener is term-limited and on Wednesday announced he will not seek another elective office in 2016.
Republican Brian Walton of Beavercreek and Democrats Matthew Kirk of Yellow Springs and Michel Sergio Gilbert of Springfield also filed.
Ohio House of Representatives
In Montgomery County, state Rep. Michael Henne, R-Clayton, is being challenged by Thomas McMasters of Huber Heights in the Republican primary for the 40th District seat. Democrat David Lee Richards also filed for the seat.
State Rep. Jim Butler, R-Oakwood, is unopposed in the primary race for his 41st District seat, which also is sought by Democrat James M. Calhoun of Dayton.
The 42nd District race is shaping up to be rematch between State. Rep. Niraj J. Antani, R-Miamisburg, and West Carrollton councilman Pat Merris, the Democrat Antani beat in 2014.
A Democratic primary is on tap in the 43rd District, with filings by David B. Sparks of Dayton and Trotwood councilman Bruce Kettelle, who was unseated in November. State Rep. Jeff Rezabek, R-Clayton, filed for re-election.
House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn, D-Dayton, faces no opposition in his run for re-election.
At the Greene County Board of Elections, six people filed for the 74th Ohio House seat held by Hackett. Those filing for the 74th include Republicans Brenden P. Shea of London, Joe Russell of London, Bill Dean of Xenia and Chris Wallace of Plain City. Democrats filing for the seat are Barbara Niemeyer of London and Steve Key of Wilberforce.
State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, has no primary opponent in his bid for re-election to the 73rd District seat. Democrat Brian K. Housh of Yellow Springs also filed for the seat.
State Rep. Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City, faces no opposition in his run for re-election to his 80th District seat, according to the Miami County Board of Elections.
In Warren County, four people filed for the 62nd District seat being vacated by state Rep. Ron Maag, R-Salem Twp. They are Republicans Ray Warrick of Maineville, Steve Muterspaw of Lebanon, and Scott Lipps of Franklin, and Democrat Samuel Ronan of Springboro.
State Rep. Paul Zelwanger, R-Mason, filed for re-election to his 54th District seat, which also is being sought by Democrat Rick Smith of Mason.
Staff writers Michael Pitman and Michael Cooper contributed to this report