Turner faces familiar foe in May primary

Four-time candidate, newcomer on Dem ballot.

Both Democrats and Republicans in Rep. Mike Turner’s 10th Congressional District have contests on the May 6 ballot.

The GOP primary is a repeat from 2012, when Turner beat John D. Anderson of Enon 80 percent to 17 percent.

In the Democratic primary, four-time candidate Bill Conner of Beavercreek and first-time candidate Robert P. Klepinger of Dayton are facing off for the chance to run in November.

Libertarian David Harlow of Dayton has no primary opponent.

All are vying for a job that pays $174,000 annually. The district includes all of Montgomery and Greene counties and the northern half of Fayette County.

Here is a look at the candidates (in alphabetical order):


John D. Anderson

A veteran campaigner, Anderson ran for Congress in 2010 as a Libertarian and in the 2012 Republican primary. He said he is running for Congress because Turner hasn’t “done the job.”

“I think he’s a failure as a congressman,” said Anderson. “I consider this the worst Congress in American history and I consider this the worst president in American history.

“Someone like me is desperately needed to go there and make changes,” Anderson said.

Anderson lives outside of the district, which is allowed by law. He criticized the Ohio Legislature for redrawing the district to put Enon in Rep. John Boehner’s 8th District.

“Only those with limited experience and knowledge and ‘low information’ voters could possibly consider my Enon residence as an ‘issue’ that even deserves comment,” Anderson said.

He is running with a 25-point plan and calls himself an economic libertarian, and a social and constitutional conservative.

If elected, he said he would serve no more than three terms, live in his office and not take a pension. He said he will take a salary but already has a pension as a retired federal civil servant, which he would cut by 20 percent before asking others to take cuts.

Anderson supports a balanced budget amendment, term limits and no restrictions on the right to bear arms. He said he would eliminate all federal controls on energy development, which he said should be left up to the states. He also would turn over control of highways to the states, requiring them to come up with money to fund roadway improvements.

The federal government is “an oligarchy” that needs to be reined in, according to Anderson. He would close the Federal Reserve, shutter military bases in Europe that he said are unneeded and slash government spending across all departments by 4 percent annually.

Anderson favors abolition of the U.S. tax code and replacing income and payroll taxes with a national sales tax, known as the “Fair Tax,” which he said would be enough to cover the government’s operations, Social Security and Medicare. Rebates and subsidies would go to people below the poverty level, he said.

Mike Turner

A former Dayton mayor, Turner is seeking his seventh term in Congress. He serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces.

Turner refused comment for this story. Information about his positions was gathered from previous interviews and his campaign material.

During his tenure Turner has advocated for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and worked for laws strengthening child custody rights of military parents and protecting victims of sexual assault in the military. This month he co-sponsored new legislation to combat military assault, according to his web site.

Turner has pushed for restoration of pension benefits for Delphi salaried non-union retirees whose pensions were reduced and turned over to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. in the wake of the bankruptcies of Delphi and General Motors corporations. Unionized workers pensions were protected under contracts GM honored as part of the federal bailout.

Turner voted against the bank bailout and stimulus bills that were approved as the economy spiraled downward during the Great Recession. He opposed the Affordable Care Act and opposed the automatic budget cuts of sequestration.

In October, after a 16-day federal government shut down, Turner voted against a compromise bill ending the government shutdown and raising the nation’s debt limit. The bill passed, reopening the federal government and allowing the federal government to meet its debt obligations. In February Turner rejected an increase in the nation’s $17.2 trillion debt. The bill was supported by House Speaker John Boehner, R-West Chester Twp., who relied on Democrats to pass it, again preventing the U.S. from defaulting on its obligations.


Bill Conner

Conner said he is running for Congress again because he wants to bring his problem-solving skills to Washington.

“There’s dysfunction and gridlock and our representative (Turner) is in that gridlock,” said Conner. “He voted to keep the government shut down even in the final vote to open it.”

If elected, Conner said he knows he would have to pick his battles if he wants to succeed, and so he would place a premium on finding issues, such as education, that could garner bipartisan support. One idea is the $10-credit-hour college course — a program that would allow students to do home study and take locally proctored, stringent tests for college credit.

He also supports development of comprehensive computer-aided student-paced supplementary instruction for kindergarten through grade 12 and available to schools and home-schooled children. He said costs can be controlled by keeping large software companies out of it and relying on university research and development to come up with the course work.

Conner supports the Affordable Care Act and believes it will recover from a rocky start and what he says are lies told by Republicans. His ultimate goal is a transition to a single-payer system — Medicare for Everyone — which he says remains the best and lowest-cost way to provide health care.

He supports a progressive income tax system with higher rates for those with incomes above $250,000. Conner said taxing the rich will not hurt the economy, and cutting taxes for them will not benefit the economy because “trickle down doesn’t work.” He also supports raising the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

“Basically put the money in the hands of the people and watch the economy grow,” Conner said.

Robert P. Klepinger

A newcomer to politics, Klepinger said he originally filed to run because he didn’t want to see Turner stand unopposed in November.

Klepinger criticized Turner’s votes to keep government shut down and to not raise the national debt limit.

“You can’t do that. We have obligations that we owe people,” Klepinger said. “You have to cooperate to legislate.”

Turner represents the wealthy and is out of touch with the middle class, according to Klepinger, who describes himself as a liberal.

Klepinger said he wants to see higher taxes levied on wealthy people but not businesses. However, he opposes additional tax breaks for businesses because he said the tax savings wouldn’t be used to create jobs promised by conservative supporters of those tax cuts.

“I just hear them repeating the same thing: The tickle down. The supply side. Whatever you want to call it I don’t think it works,” Klepinger said.

Klepinger wants to bring manufacturing plants like the former GM plant back to the Dayton region but admits he’s not exactly sure how to make that happen. He said he would strongly support funding for Wright-Patterson Air Force base if he is elected.

Klepinger believes smaller government is not the answer to the nation’s problems.

“I think we need a strong federal government,” Klepinger said. “I am for federal programs, especially those that involve education.”

He supports the Affordable Care Act and criticized Turner for his multiple votes to repeal it.

Klepinger said he has not raised any money and is relying on free publicity and social networks to get the word out about his campaign.

“I don’t see any way to compete with an incumbent congressman on raising money,” Klepinger said. “I’m not even going to try.”