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0000017a-3b40-d913-abfe-bf44a4f90000Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU news team as the politics reporter and columnist in April 2012 , after 30 years of covering local, state and national politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. On this page, you will find his weekly column, Politically Speaking; the Monday morning political chats with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik and other news coverage by Wilkinson. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio gubernatorial race since 1974, as well as 16 presidential nominating conventions. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots, the Lucasville prison riot in 1993, the Air Canada plane crash at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983, and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. And, given his passion for baseball, you might even find some stories about the Cincinnati Reds here from time to time.

Davidson Wins In Crowded GOP Race For Boehner Seat

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Former Army Ranger and Miami County businessman Warren Davidson appears headed for victory in a 15-candidate field for the 8th Ohio Congressional District seat once held by John Boehner.all

With all of the district's 579 precincts reporting, Davidson had 33 percent in the early returns.  State Rep. Tim Derickson of Butler County's Hanover Township was in second with 24 percent, while State Sen. Bill Beagle of Tipp City in Miami County, had 20 percent. 

All of the other candidates finished well under 10 percent. 

Davidson could not be reached for comment. 

Beagle put out a concession statement about 10:15 p.m.

The state senator said he was "deeply grateful for the tremendous support I received from families, small business owners and community leaders across the 8th Congressional District. I congratulate Warren Davidson on his victory tonight." 

There were two races on the ballot – one to become the GOP candidate in the June 7 special general election to fill out Boehner’s term and a second to be the candidate in November for a full two-year term.

The early results were the same in both - Davidson was the winner. 

Boehner, a West Chester Republican, represented the western Ohio district in Congress for nearly a quarter of a century, gathering enough clout to become Speaker of the House – second in line for succession to the presidency – in Jan. 2011.

But it all fell apart for Boehner last fall when he was pushed into resignation by a rebellious House GOP caucus, many of whom thought he was too willing to play ball with a Democrat in the White House.

His resignation set off a firestorm in the six counties that make up the 8th District.

By the Dec. 16 candidate filing deadline, 15 Republicans had filed for the seat.

Boehner never endorsed a candidate in the race; and, frankly, the candidates did nothing to seek his endorsement. In fact, most of them ran as “Washington outsiders,” with some of them emphasizing that they were not professional politicians.

The district includes Butler, Preble, Darke, Miami, Clark and part of Mercer county and is one of the most reliably Republican districts in the state.

The population center is in Butler County.

At least four of the 15 Republicans had enough campaign money to fund radio and TV ads throughout the district.

Jim Spurlino, a first-time candidate who is in the concrete and construction materials business, billed himself as the ‘true conservative outsider” in the race. He said in his radio ads that “like you, I’m angry” at the politicians in Washington.

Davidson had substantial help from two major conservative organizations that routinely pour millions into congressional and presidential campaigns – the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks. Both of those organizations helped fuel the rebellion against Boehner; and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who chaired the House Freedom Caucus which pushed for Boehner’s resignation as speaker, came out for Davidson in the middle of the race.

Derickson had a substantial presence on TV, with a one very striking ad that he used to paint himself as a “Washington outsider.” Derickson, whose family was in the dairy farm business for three generations, was shown shoveling cow manure as he tells viewers he’s tired of Washington.

Beagle ran ads saying that he is not a career politician and will “fix Washington.”

This was not your typical election.

Voters on the Republican side were given ballots with the 15 Republican candidates listed twice – once for the June 7 special general election to fill out the rest of Boehner’s term (which ends Jan. 3, 2017) and again for the general election in November, where 8th district voters will choose a member of Congress to serve a full two-year  term.

In reality 17 candidates were vying for Boehner’s seat Tuesday.

Two of them had no opponents in the primary in the heavily Republican district – Corey Foister of West Chester, a 25-year-old Democrat, and James J. Condit Jr., a Hamilton County resident who is running as a Green Party candidate. Both will be on the ballot in the June 7 special general election and the November election for a two-year term.