Despite some polls suggesting otherwise, incumbent Republican Rep. Steve Chabot was able to fight off a challenge from Democrat Kate Schroder Tuesday night with an amount that was larger than polls projected but smaller than the last time Chabot faced a tough competitor in 2018.
Chabot took 51% of the vote to Schroder's 45%, with a vast majority of the votes counted.
"I appreciate the voters of the district - those who voted for me and those who didn't," Chabot said during an 11:30 p.m. press conference Tuesday night. "I commend my opponent for running a very spirited race and I wish her nothing but the best in the future. ... It's my commitment to do everything I possibly can to work for the people of this congressional district."
Schroder – a first time candidate for anything – was the only local Democrat willing to take on Chabot in Ohio's 1st Congressional District. He has held the seat for 24 of the past 26 years and has been running for one office or another since the late 1970s.
Better known Democrats took a pass on the First District this year, knowing that, in 2022, it might look like an entirely different district.
Under the new rules for drawing Ohio congressional districts, the 1st is likely to lose heavily Republican Warren County and be an almost entirely Hamilton County district – which should turn it into a safe seat for Democrats.
Schroder, though, was willing to roll the dice on the 1st District, but, ultimately, fell short.
"I am, of course, disappointed that our efforts fell short," Schroder said in a concession statement. "But despite our disappointment, it is important to remember that this campaign has never been about me - it has been about our shared values and vision for this community, especially protecting healthcare for everyone."
Four years ago, Donald Trump won the district with 51% to Hillary Clinton's 46%. It was the narrowest margin of victory for Trump in any congressional district he won in Ohio, which he carried by 8 percentage points.
Chabot, in a TV ad campaign and several head-to-head debates, went after Schroder with the claim that she supports the Green New Deal, which she denied. He also lambasted her for "supporting raising your taxes" because she favored a Queen City Metro sales tax increase which passed by a small margin on the 2020 primary ballot.
In a TV ad, Chabot accused Schroder of lying to the people of the First District while he has been working to help them.
"While Kate Schroder has based her entire campaign on blatant lies, Steve Chabot has been fighting tirelessly to deliver results for the hardworking people of the First District," said Chabot for Congress spokesman Jon Conradi on the Chabot campaign website. "While Schroder was lying, Steve Chabot was working, helping to craft the Paycheck Protection Program and then delivering more small business relief for the First District than was secured by any other district in Ohio."