By FRANK LEWIS
PDT Staff Writer
In a stunning upset Tuesday, a Cincinnati area physician, soldier and businessman defeated incumbent 2nd District U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt in the Republican primary.
Brad Wenstrup picked up 49 percent of the vote to Schmidt’s 43 percent, but more telling was Wenstrup’s garnering of 50 percent of the vote in Clermont County, Schmidt’s home county, where Schmidt got no more than 41 percent.
Wenstrup did not respond to an email request for an interview Wednesday, but Schmidt said she made contact with Wenstrup late Tuesday night.
“I called Brad Wenstrup to congratulate him, but couldn’t reach him. I left a message on his voice mail,” Schmidt said. “I said, ‘Congratulations. I wish you the best. God bless.’” However, later on Schmidt made contact, and Wenstrup thanked her for her service.
Schmidt told the Portsmouth Daily Times she wanted to thank everyone who supported her since 2005, when she became the first woman elected to represent southern Ohio in Congress.
“I want to thank them for their friendship. I want to thank them for their faith in me,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt said she plans to keep working through the remainder of her term.
“We are Republicans, and we have to move forward in November,” Schmidt said. “I will continue to work hard through the end of this year to represent the interests and the conservative values of the people of southern Ohio. I will continue to be their strong voice in our nation’s capital.”
In an email statement Wenstrup said, “I’m honored that the voters heard our message of change. Change that includes strong, ethical leadership. Change that also includes reforming government, cutting spending and unleashing small business owners so they can create jobs. This November, we have a unique opportunity to help defeat Barack Obama and bring real and needed change to Washington. I look forward to working with people across Southwestern Ohio on this important endeavor.”
Schmidt carried Scioto County with nearly 61 percent of the vote in a four-person race. Wenstrup finished third with 16.39 percent. In November, Wenstrup will face Democratic nominee William R. Smith, who defeated David Krikorian in that party’s primary.
“Thank you to all of my friends and supporters,” Krikorian said in an email Wednesday. “A bittersweet election last night as it appears I lost a very close race for the Democratic Party nomination. I would like to thank Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke and Clermont County Democratic Party Chairman Dave Lane for supporting my nomination. I would also like to thank the Clermont County Democratic Party and the Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police for their endorsements of my candidacy. Congratulations to Dr. Brad Wenstrup for winning the Republican nomination over Jean Schmidt.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com.