Desiree Tims will announce her candidacy for Ohio’s 10th Congressional District Wednesday. CONTRIBUTED

Dunbar grad is first Dem candidate seeking party’s nod vs. Turner

The first announced Democratic candidate seeking her party’s nod to run against U.S. Rep Mike Turner plans to publicly declare her candidacy today at Third Perk Coffeehouse in downtown Dayton.

Desiree Tims, 31, says she is a daughter of Dayton who offers 10th District voters a new perspective and a fresh take.

More than six months before the primary, her campaign has quietly taken shape, with a new campaign web site (timsforcongress.com) and a social media presence already launched.

Turner, R-Dayton, has never been seriously threatened by a congressional opponent. He has served in the House of Representatives since 2003, after serving two terms as mayor of Dayton in the 1990s. (Then-state Sen. Rhine McLin beat Turner in 2001 as he ran for a third mayoral term. Turner made his first run for Congress the next year.)

Democrat Theresa Gasper and David Harlow, a Libertarian, ran against Turner in the November 2018 election. Turner won easily, securing nearly 56 percent of the vote against Gasper’s 42 percent. Harlow finished with less than two percent.

The Ohio primary is scheduled for March 17, 2020. The general election is Nov 3, 2020.

Tims, a Xavier University and Georgetown law graduate, intends to stake out positions on health care, jobs, infrastructure and other areas, but in the wake of the Aug. 4 Oregon District mass shooting, she questioned Turner’s newly announced stance on gun control.

Police shot and killed a Bellbrook man on East Fifth Street early on Aug. 4 after he killed nine people and wounded more than 20 others in an attack with an AR-style pistol modified to function as a rifle.

Turner, whose daughter had been close to the shooting scene that evening, last week said he backs limits on sales of “military-style” guns and magazines and “red flag” legislation that could take firearms from people identified as dangerous, a new position for him.

“I think it’s great, if he comes on our side and sees that we have to stop these military-style weapons that belong on a battlefield that are now in our back yard,” Tims said in an interview Tuesday. “If he supports keeping these out of our backyard, that’s great.”

But Tims added that she knows a “lot of mothers and a lot of friends” who have been harmed by guns while Turner held to his earlier stances.

“What’s about everybody else’s daughters?” Tims said.

This is Tims’ first run for elective office. A 2006 Dunbar High School graduate, she has interned for the White House during the Obama administration and worked for Sen. Sherrod Brown. She has served as a law clerk for law firm Dinsmore & Shohl, as director of judiciary programs for the League of Conservation Voters and was a senior advisor for Child Care Aware of America.

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In her work for the League of Conservation Voters, Tims was registered as a lobbyist, according to the ProPublica database. Lobbyists are required to register with Congress when working for a client.

Pursuing her party’s nomination will be her full-time job, she said.

A message seeking comment was sent to a Turner representative.

Lee Hannah, a Wright State political science professor, agreed that a new candidate taking on an incumbent — if Tims wins the Democratic nomination — is one of the toughest challenges in politics.

“If the Democrats have a really strong and popular presidential candidate, one who can specially appeal to Ohioans, that can certainly open a window for the candidate,” Hannah said. “We call that ‘coattails.’”

Turner’s stance on gun control may hurt him with some members of his base, Hannah said. But he also feels Turner will have a strong war chest and name recognition for the 2020 race.

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