Tom Brinkman Tops Incumbent Despite Ohio GOP Smear Campaign

ORP Brinkman hit piece
An excerpt from an Ohio Republican Party hit piece on GOP Ohio House candidate Tom Brinkman

Tom Brinkman has defeated incumbent Peter Stautberg in the Republican primary for the 27th Ohio House District despite being smeared as an ally of Democrats by the Ohio Republican Party (ORP).

Based on unofficial results from the secretary of state, Brinkman netted 54 percent (4,938) of the votes cast while Stautberg received 46 percent (4,279).

“Common Core is the number one issue,” Brinkman told Media Trackers.

Rep. Stautberg beat Brinkman 61 to 39 percent in the 2012 primary before winning that year’s general election 67 to 33 percent over Democrat Nathan Wissman.

ORP’s failed attempt to defend Stautberg — whom Brinkman accuses of doing nothing to fight Common Core or the Obamacare Medicaid expansion — included mailers portraying Brinkman as someone who would vote with Democrats.

Asked whether ORP had contacted him to mend fences over their recent attack ads, Brinkman told Media Trackers, “I do not expect the ORP to reach out.”

A former state representative and the founder of Cincinnati-based Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST), Brinkman was targeted by ORP due to his history of bucking the party line. Stautberg is a party-line vote in a deep red district.

During the pre-primary campaign finance reporting period, Ohio GOP accounts provided in-kind support worth a total of $29,196 to Rep. Stautberg.

By this morning, the Cincinnati Enquirer had found a political science professor to assert that Stautberg lost because voters didn’t realize he “votes the way those primary voters would have wanted him to,” blaming the upset on the fact that Rep. Stautberg didn’t “breathe the fire.”

“Principle trumps party,” Brinkman told the Enquirer. “I’m not going to do something that’s against my principle just because the party does.”

Other primary races yielded much worse results for opponents of Republican incumbents who were dishonestly defended by ORP.

  • In the 27th Ohio Senate District, incumbent Frank LaRose defeated Caleb Davenport 62-38 percent, winning by a margin of over 4,000 votes
  • In the 24th Ohio House District, incumbent Stephanie Kunze defeated Pat Manley 59-41 percent, winning by a margin of roughly 1,500 votes
  • In the 47th Ohio House District, incumbent Barbara Sears defeated Scott Allegrini 60-40 percent, winning by roughly 1,300 votes

In all three of these landslide incumbent victories, ORP’s candidates had the benefit not only of name recognition and the party’s endorsement, but of ORP spending on misleading campaign flyers.

  • The Ohio GOP smeared Davenport as a vote for abortion and higher taxes, spending $53,482 on in-kind support for LaRose during the pre-primary reporting period.
  • The Ohio GOP promoted Kunze, who has made no notable effort to get Common Core out of Ohio schools, as a champion of “local control of our schools.” The party had spent $23,687 on in-kind support for Kunze as of the latest filing deadline.
  • The Ohio GOP promoted Sears, the legislature’s most prominent Republican supporter of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, as a staunch foe of Obamacare.

Ohio 14th District Congressman Dave Joyce beat State Rep. Matt Lynch 55-45 percent in a race where Joyce, one of the least conservative Republicans in Congress, campaigned as a conservative and was boosted by over $500,000 in outside expenditures.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner easily defeated a crowded field of primary challengers in Ohio’s 8th Congressional District.