Turner to seek senior GOP seat on House Armed Services Committee

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. FILE PHOTO
U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. FILE PHOTO

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, announced his bid Tuesday for the top Republican seat on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, a position he maintains would give him more clout in advocating for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The position is selected by a standing committee of the GOP caucus. The lead Democrat is similarly chosen by that party’s caucus. The chair and ranking member committee positions matter because as lead Republican, Turner said he would have a voice on all aspects of legislation concerning national security.

“I would be able to be a stronger voice to advocate both for Wright-Patt to the leadership at the Pentagon, and to the leadership in the national security industry,” Turner said.

Turner faces GOP opposition for the position, but those members have not publicly announced their candidacies, Turner said.

But first Turner would have to win his seat on Nov. 3 as the House committee leaders won’t be chosen until after the general election.

Turner’s opponent in the general election is Democrat Desiree Tims.

“Mike Turner’s only trying to get a promotion to continue profiting off his position," Tims' campaign said in a statement Tuesday. "Voters can’t trust him to do anything but continue to try and use his perch to fund lavish dinners across the globe with big donors' contributions.”

In response, Mason Di Palma, campaign manager for Citizens for Turner, said: “Clearly, Desiree Tims doesn’t have an understanding of the importance of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to the Miami Valley and our national security. Having Congressman Turner as the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee would be a huge win for our district.”

Tims' campaign and a national Democratic organization recently criticized Turner for spending about $90,000 on travel and meals since 2017. Turner said all of the spending consists of “valid, legal and publicly reported expenses.”

Turner previously chaired or served as ranking member of two subcommittees relevant to Wright-Patterson ― Ohio’s largest single-site employer with 30,000 employees —the Air and Land Subcommittee and the Strategic Forces Subcommittee.

The current ranking member, U.S. Rep. William “Mac” Thornberry, R-Texas, is being term-limited out of the leadership position.

The House Armed Services Committee is responsible for the policy that guides the Air Force and Wright-Patterson, and the committee’s top members have enormous influence over defense decisions, the Dayton Development Coalition said in a statement Tuesday.

“In the 100-year history of Wright-Patterson and its predecessors, the Dayton region has never been represented by a House member with so much clout on the committee,” said Jeff Hoagland, coalition president and chief executive. “Being represented by a top leader of this committee would be an extraordinary boost for Wright-Patterson and economic development in the Dayton region.”