Dispatch: Tea party, Democrats aim to unseat pair of GOP congressmen

Good luck. Glad they got their name in the paper today (at least the Tea Party candidates) since in a couple of days they will be old news.

Bill Yarbrough admits to being a long-shot challenger against six-term GOP incumbent Pat Tiberi in Ohio’s reconfigured 12th Congressional District. Yet Yarbrough says he has won a “moral victory” because his better-known opponent has aired radio spots against him.

“If he has to go use my name, we consider that a victory,” Yarbrough said. “Based on the negative ads, he’s probably seen polling that gives him worry.”

That said, the campaigns for the 12th and 15th districts are somewhat like sportswriters’ frequent descriptions of Big Ten football: two top teams, with the rest of the league chasing them.

The top teams here are clearly the Republican incumbents: Tiberi in the 12th District and Rep. Steve Stivers in the 15th.

Tiberi, of Genoa Township, and Stivers, of Upper Arlington, have name recognition, money, party backing and incumbency on their side, making it a big mountain for challengers to climb, despite a recent Gallup Poll showing that just 10 percent of Americans think Congress is doing a good job. Both men are opposed by tea party loyalists who argue that the incumbents are not conservative enough.

At the same time, two Democrats are running for their party’s nomination in each district on Tuesday, vying for the chance to take on the GOP nominees in November.

Tiberi is airing a limited number of radio spots asking why Yarbrough is attacking “our Pat Tiberi.” He also notes that Yarbrough doesn’t live in the district — that’s not a legal requirement. Yarbrough’s New Albany home was cut out of the district last year when Republicans redrew the boundaries.

Yarbrough says the district has become more conservative after shedding Democratic-leaning communities in northeastern Franklin County and picking up territory stretching north to Mansfield and east to Zanesville.

Yarbrough says he’s committed to smaller government and individual liberty, and he thinks Tiberi hasn’t done enough to reduce federal spending and deficits.

With little money for a campaign, Yarbrough said he is speaking to community groups and has bought radio spots. “We’re saying a little prayer, and we’ll see what happens,” he said.

Tiberi says he reflects the views of his district. Campaign manager Kristen Frissora said Tiberi has been a “consistent conservative who has a proven record of getting things done for Ohioans.” She touted his priorities of “cutting the deficit, decreasing spending, reforming the tax code, reducing regulations and getting people back on the job” as evidence of his conservative credentials.

In the 15th, Stivers’ challenger, Charles S. Chope of Upper Arlington, considers himself a “real conservative” in a district that has shifted to the right with its expansion from three counties to 12. It now stretches from western Franklin and Madison counties south to Wilmington and east to McConnelsville.

Read more in the Dispatch article here.

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