Schmidt faces another tough race

Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) just can’t seem to catch a break.

Despite representing a reliably Republican seat in the Cincinnati suburbs, she has struggled to lock down her district – facing credible Democratic opposition in each election.

Next year promises to be no different after Democratic state legislator Todd Book announced he would be challenging Schmidt in next year’s election.

“I am running for Congress because the only way to bring real change to Washington is by sending new people to Washington,” Book said in a statement. “In these tough times, the people of Southwest Ohio deserve a Representative who will be independent, work with both parties to solve problems, and stand up for Ohio values in Washington

Book, an attorney, lives in Scioto County and represents the eastern part of the Second District in the state legislature.

Book won’t have a clear field for the Democratic nomination. David Krikorian, who ran against Schmidt as an Independent last year, is trying again, this time as a Democrat. But Gov. Ted Strickland put his weight behind Book’s candidacy today by offering his endorsement.

Despite a history of facing competitive campaigns, Schmidt is a notable exclusion from the National Republican Congressional Committee’s Patriot List designed to protect vulnerable incumbents. The NRCC added 15 new names to the list today – including many, like Rep, John Fleming (R-La.) in fairly safe seats – but Schmidt wasn’t added.

In a three-way race last year, Schmidt won only 45 percent of the districtwide vote, while John McCain carried the district with 59 percent of the vote last year.

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