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State Senator Bill Beagle to run for Boehner’s seat in Congress

State Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, is jumping into what is expected to be a crowded race to replace U.S. Rep. John Boehner in Ohio’s 8th Congressional district.

Beagle announced his candidacy on Tuesday, saying Washington needs to work to solve real problems.

“I’m running because, let’s see, you know governing is about good decisions. Governing is about wisdom and it’s about working together. And I use that in my daily family life, I use that in my daily business life and you know a few years ago I wanted to take that attitude to the General Assembly and now I want to take it to Congress,” Beagle said.

If elected, Beagle said he will work on economic development and job training — issues that have been his focus in the Ohio Senate.

Also in the race is Republican J.D. Winteregg, who pulled petitions for both the special election and the 2016 race for a full term. Winteregg, 33, is a marketing manager for a grain elevator company and a former high school French teacher. He ran a spirited campaign against Boehner in 2014 where he put out a creative parody ad that accused Boehner of “electile dysfunction” for having been in Washington too long. The video has nearly 435,000 views on YouTube and helped Winteregg boost his name identification but led Cedarville University to not renew his teaching contract, Winteregg said.

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Winteregg, who is a tea party favorite, said he hopes voters will recognize him as a candidate of conviction.

Could be a crowded field

Beagle is betting on a path to victory that involves multiple candidates from Butler County splitting the vote in the southern end of the district where most of the voters live, allowing him to capture a plurality elsewhere.

Beagle, 50, is a former Tipp City city councilman who runs a small business. He won a second term in the Ohio Senate in November 2014 when he beat Democrat Dee Gillis, a former Tipp City mayor. That campaign was notable for the gloves-off negative ads, including pro-Beagle ads that falsely claimed Gillis had voted to give herself a raise on Tipp City Council, and pro-Gillis ads portraying Beagle as anti-woman and an enemy of the middle class.

Beagle came out on top, winning 57 percent of the vote, but outspending Gillis four to one.

The 8th Congressional district stretches from the shores of Grand Lake St. Mary’s on the north to the edge of Interstate 270 ringing Cincinnati on the south to nearly London on the east. It encompasses all of Butler, Clark, Darke, Miami and Preble counties and a piece of Mercer County. More than 50 percent of the registered voters in the district are in Butler County alone.

Candidates and members of Congress are not required to live in their districts. As a result, former U.S. Congressman Steve Austria of Beavercreek and Ohio Senate President Keith Faber of Celina — who don’t live in the 8th district — could run. Other names mentioned as possible Republican candidates: state Sen. Bill Coley, former state senator Gary Cates, Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones, West Chester Twp. Trustee George Lang, former state lawmaker Ross McGregor of Springfield, state Sen. Chris Widener of Springfield, and state Rep. Tim Derickson.

The winner will serve the remainder of Boehner’s term through the end of 2016 and will have to run for re-election in November 2016 for the next two-year term.

The special election date has yet to be picked by Gov. John Kasich. It is too late to schedule it to coincide with the Nov. 3 general election.

The district is the most Republican leaning in Ohio, according to Cook’s Partisan Voting Index. Boehner has held the district since first being elected to Congress in 1990.

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