Republican Congressman Works To Hold Onto 12th District Seat

The race for congress in the 12th district features a three term incumbent with a challenger who wants to return to Capitol Hill after serving in the early 1980′s. The district includes eastern Franklin County, western Licking County and all of Delaware County. And candidates Pat Tiberi, republican incumbent and Bob Shamansky, democratic challenger have been criss-crossing the area during the last month in search of votes.

At several candidate night forums during October, Republican incumbent Pat Tiberi stresses his constituent services and his lifelong roots in the district as he ask voters for another term. Bob Shamansky asks voters to send a message to the Bush administration by returning him to congress. Shamansky held the seat for one term at the start of the 1980s. At the Jewish Community Center on College Avenue in Bexley, the candidates fielded a half-dozen questions ranging from veterans and health care issues to the war in Iraq. at his most animated, Shamansky pulled two credit cards from his pocket to make a point about the federal budget deficit and what he calls the Bush-Tiberi record.

But, Tiberi was quick to dismiss Shamansky’s charge as rhetoric.

The battle for the 12th congressional district is crystallized by two likely voters interviewed on the sidewalks of Sunbury in southeast Delaware County. Sunbury is near the geographic center of the district. Tiberi and Shamansky are seeking the votes of both Larry Edwards, a lifelong resident of Sunbury, and Elizabeth Dages of Westerville. She’s in the Sunbury town square on business. Dages has voted republican all her life and says she favors Tiberi again in next week’s race.

Dages says she’s skeptical of what she calls democratic party tactics, especially the call for “change” in Washington.

In ads, in polls, in interviews of potential voters during the past three months through-out Central Ohio, the war in Iraq bubbles into the conversation. Its the first topic mentioned by Sunbury resident Larry Edwards when asked what issues are important to him in the Shamansky-Tiberi congressional race. Edwards says an over-arching issue for the entire country is quoting here, “what’s being done in our name and with our tax dollars.”

While voters in the district have sent republicans to Capitol Hill every two years since 1983. the Tiberi-Shamansky campaign is considered competitive, in part, because voters like Edwards this year express what he calls “anti-incumbent” sentiments. Edwards uses an analogy to describe his thinking leading up to next Tuesday.

Two years ago, a slim majority of 12th district voters favored republicans.