Boehner Seat Won by Low Plurality in Ohio Primary

Posted by Rob Richie on March 17, 2016

Former House speaker John Boehner resigned last year after turning over the gavel to Paul Ryan, triggering a a vacancy election for the 8th congressional district in Ohio. No one has ever served in U.S. House without being elected, showing that for the "people's house," our constitutional framers fully embraced representative democracy -- unlike the many states that allow governors and various political bodies to appoint people to fill U.S. senate vacancies or state legislative vacancies.

Beohner's distrtict is safely Republican, as are most congressional districts in Ohio, making the primary effectively the general election. The winner on Tuesday was businessman Warren Davidson, who won with 32.6% of the vote in a 15-candidate field. Davidson was backed by Jim Jordan, who leads the House Freedom Caucus, and is closely associated with the Tea Party. Two state legislators combined to earn 44 percent of the vote, more than a quarter scattered among trailing candidates.
Davidson also won the regularly scheduled primary taking place at the same time. Assuming he wins the special election in June, he will take office and settle into a safe district -- all with less than a third of the vote. Given how many safe seats there are, it makes sense to ensure the winner of that all-important first primary can at least prove to be representative of the majority party's primary electorate through the use of ranked choice voting.
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