If the election for the state’s 8th Congressional District were held tomorrow, voters would have two names to choose from: J.D. Winteregg and Scott George.
On Monday, the Butler County Board of Elections certified the two Republicans from Miami County for the March 15 regular primary for the congressional district race. They are two of more than a dozen people interested in the race to succeed Speaker of the House John Boehner, who announced he would resign on Oct. 30 though that date appears to be a moving target since Congress is having trouble finding a new House speaker.
Most of the names of people who have pulled petitions for the race on the Butler County Board of Elections list are from Butler County — which has the district’s largest population — but the most high-profile name on the list Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City. He pulled petitions this past Friday.
Not on the list are Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds and Rep. Tim Derickson, R-Hanover Twp. Petitions don’t have to be filed until mid-December, and petitions can be downloaded anonymously online. Reynolds and Derickson both told the Journal-News they intend to file, but not yet. Reynolds said he’d file after Boehner resigns and Derickson said it’s likely to be after the November 2015 election.
Winteregg said he had been running for the seat “before it was the easy, politically expedient thing to do.”
He was the first to declare his candidacy for the congressional seat, well before Boehner announced his intentions to resign, and the first to file his petitions for the office. Winteregg lost to Boehner in the 2014 primary.
“It’s time to end this cycle of campaign conservatives and career politicians, and it’s time to put the interests of the district before the interests of the representative,” Winteregg said.
He said he wants to bring “true conservative, principled representation back to the district.”
George filed his petitions for the congressional office a day after Winteregg. Having his petitions for the office certified on the March 15 ballot “definitely starts to sink in that you are definitely in this game.”
George, 48, who was intending to start his own business venture, started the process of a congressional bid this past August. He thought a handful of people would run for office, but it’s nearly as crowded as the race for the GOP nomination for president.
He said his campaign is about trying to get organized and putting his years of business experience to work.
“We’ll be starting a really heavy ground game after the November (2015) election,” George said. “People would start to get confused if you go to then before that.”
And Butler County will be an important part of his campaign. Butler County is not only the largest county in the district in terms of population, but also in terms of voters.
“It’s a place I have to go down and secure some votes,” George said.
And to compete with the other campaigns that may have more financial support, he said, “I’m going to have to wear out four pairs of shoes.”
Winteregg said his campaign “has been quite active.”
“We’ve had volunteers from all counties supporting us in parades, festivals and meetings across the district,” Winteregg said, adding that “it’s the excitement and enthusiasm of my volunteers” that has helped his campaign grow.