Businessman Warren Davidson of Troy won the Republican nomination to run for the seat vacated by retired House Speaker John Boehner in the 8th Congressional District, according to final, unofficial results from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.
“It did resonate with people that they were looking for different results and a different experience,” Davidson said, adding that he was honored to win the primary and looking forward to the upcoming special and general elections.
Davidson, of Troy, owns several businesses and is a partner in Integral Manufacturing. He is a former Concord Twp. trustee. Davidson presented himself as an outsider and former Army Ranger who would bring a businessman’s acumen to Congress.
His two closest competitors in the 15-person race were State Rep. Tim Derickson, R-Hanover Twp., and State Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City.
Davidson, of Troy, won with nearly 33 percent of the vote in the special primary election to be the nominee for the remainder of Boehner’s term and received 32 percent in the regular primary. Derickson placed second, with 34 percent of the vote in both primaries, and Beagle was third with nearly 20 percent. Businessman Jim Spurlino of Washington Twp. placed fourth with 7 percent.
“Representative Derickson looks forward to uniting our party behind Warren Davidson, who will make fantastic conservative representative for our district,” said Derickson Campaign Manager Colton Henson.
“This was a hard fought election and I am deeply grateful for the tremendous support I received from families, small business owners and community leaders across the 8th Congressional District,” said State Sen. Bill Beagle. “I congratulate Warren Davidson on his victory tonight.”
The Club for Growth Political Action Committee that endorsed Davidson also put news release congratulating him.
“With a strong message of economic freedom, Davidson came out ahead of a field of 15 candidates, including some career politicians,” said David McIntosh, the group’s president.
Democrat Cory Foister, of Fairfield, and Green Party candidate Jim Condit Jr., of Cincinnati, had no primary opponents and will face Davidson in the special and general elections.
The 8th District primary gives voters the rare opportunity to put someone new in Congress. Boehner spent 25 years in Congress before stepping down in the fall in an effort to defuse heated confrontations between tea party-influenced conservatives and his more moderate conservative allies.
The district is so dominated by Republican voters that whichever of Republican candidates wins the primaries has a good chance of ultimately winning the seat.
“I congratulate Warren on his victory and urge my fellow citizens in the 8th District to unify behind his candidacy,” Boehner said in a written statement. “My friends, neighbors and former constituents have chosen someone to be on the ballot in June and November who can be counted on to continue the fight for a smaller, less costly, more accountable federal government.”
The early front-runners in the GOP race appeared to be Derickson and Beagle because of their name recognition. But Davidson rose to greater prominence in the race after gaining endorsements from the conservative Club for Growth and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana.
As of March 9 the three, plus Spurlino, had spent close to $560,000 on the campaign. Another $2 million was spent by outside groups to either support or oppose the three front runners. Political science professor John Forren called it “an extraordinary amount of money for a congressional race.”
The Defending Main Street super PAC ran ads accusing Davidson of sending jobs to China. Davidson’s campaign manager Meredith Griffin-Liedel called the ads “desperate, negative attacks”
Candidates J.D. Winteregg, Scott George and Kevin White signed a joint statement bemoaning the presence of outside money in the race.
Immigration, taxes and gun rights were central themes in the Republican race. As a group, the candidates all said that the economy will improve if taxes and regulations are cut.
The 8th Congressional District covers all of Butler, Clark, Darke, Miami and Preble counties and the southern part of Mercer County.
Tuesday’s winners advance to a special June 7 election to fill the remainder of Boehner’s current term ending Jan. 3.
Each party will send a candidate to the Nov. 8 General Election to compete for a full two-year term that begins on Jan. 3.
Staff writer Michael D. Pitman contributed to this report.