Ohio Republican politics — and to a degree, the House Republicans — experienced a big jolt Monday afternoon as Republican Rep. Steve Stivers announced he would resign from Congress next month to become CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
Considered a formidable candidate for the U.S. Senate seat relinquished by fellow Republican Rob Portman, Stivers’ decision raises the odds that fellow center-right Rep. Mike Turner will enter the crowded primary to be held next May.
“Mike will replace Steve as the one candidate in the race who doesn’t genuflect before Donald Trump,” said one Buckeye State Republican who is close to both congressmen. “Doug is exploring the race now and his top fund-raiser said they are doing great.”
But six-termer Stivers’ exit will also have an impact on the near-evenly divided U.S. House of Representatives. Currently, the House is split between 218 Democrats, 212 Republicans, and five vacancies (four in Democratic districts and one to replace a Republican House Member).
Stivers’ resignation in May will reduce Republican ranks in the House from 212 to 211—at least for a few months, until the special primary and election to choose his successor in the historically Republican Columbus-based 15th District.
The period in which Stivers’ seat is vacant is sure to cause consternation among House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and other leaders who expect votes on the Biden agenda to go down to the wire.
In the hours since Stivers’ surprise announcement, close to a dozen Republicans in the 15th District have voiced interest in his seat. Given Ohio’s long-standing history of promoting state senators to Congress, the early favorites are State Sens. Stephanie Kunze of Hilliard (considered a moderate) and Bob Peterson of Fayette County (more of a moderate-to-conservative in the mold of Stivers).
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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