Stivers will face Kilroy for Pryce’s seat

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Congresswoman Deborah Pryce was at state Republican Party headquarters in Columbus Monday for the announcement by Steve Stivers. She lauded Stivers’ governmental and business experience and also noted his service in the military.

“He spent 22 years of his life fighting and working for his country in the National Guard and he has a Bronze Star to show for it,” Pryce said.

Stivers, who served a year in the Persian Gulf during the Iraq War, said his military experience would be important to voters.

“That background gives me credibility on the Number 1 issue that people care about: security,” Stivers said. “And to me security includes the war, terrorism; and it includes defending our borders from illegal immigration.”

Only months ago, Stivers said he would run for reelection to the Ohio Senate. But he said he’d discussed a Congressional bid with his fianc e and they’d reached a decision just a few days ago. Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Ohio State University, Herb Asher, says Republicans believe Stivers can be a very strong candidate in what’s sure to be a hotly contested campaign.

“As a state senator he already represents a district that has 330,000 people in it,” Asher says. “He’s a social moderate; fiscally conservative; and fits the mold of other Republicans who’ve been successful in Franklin County.”

Asher describes Republican Stivers and Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy, a Franklin County Commissioner, as “two very good public servants.” In last year’s election, Kilroy lost her bid to unseat Deborah Pryce by less than a thousand votes. Again, Herb Asher.

“We’re going to see lots of involvement by their respective national party committees,” Asher says. “Lots of people offering advice to Senator Stivers and Commissioner Kilroy about how to win the contest.”

Commissioner Kilroy says it makes no difference who her opponent is. She says the reasons she’s in the race have not changed.

“People are concerned about their jobs. They’re concerned about health care. They’re concerned about the abuse of predatory lending; whether they are going to have retirement security,” Kilroy said. “I am the candidate that has stood up and fought for central Ohio families on all of those issues.”

In a question-and-answer session following Stivers’ announcement, the state senator disagreed with a reporter’s assessment that he is a strong supporter of President Bush’s. With regard to the war, Stivers said he believes lots of mistakes have been made.

“I have agreed and disagreed with President Bush on social issues and the war in Iraq so I don’t think it’s fair to call me a strong supporter of everything that he’s done,” Stivers said. “There are things I support and things that we differ on.”

One thing is sure; Ohio’s 15th Congressional seat could easily tip in one direction or the other; helping Republicans regain control of the House or widening the Democratic majority. It’s a race that, according to Herb Asher:

“…guarantees that the Congressional race in the 15th district will be one that’s closely watched not simply here in Ohio but throughout the nation.

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