In a major upset, Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH), a fiery conservative voice in the House of Representatives, has lost the Republican primary for her redrawn House seat.
With 99% of precincts reports, Iraq War veteran surgeon and 2009 Cincinnati Mayoral candidate Brad Wenstrup has 49% of the vote, to Schmidt’s 43%, a raw-vote lead of about 5,000 votes. Wenstrup had challenged Schmidt from her right on such issues as the debt ceiling, pitching himself as a Washington outsider.
Carl Weiser of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Schmidt has conceded defeat — she says she called Wenstrup to congratulate him, got his voicemail, and left a message
Schmidt was first elected to the House in a 2005 special election, only narrowly defeating Democratic candidate and Iraq War veteran Paul Hackett in a strongly Republican district.
In November of 2005, she gained fame (and infamy) for her floor remarks attacking Rep. Jack Murtha (D-PA), a Vietnam veteran who had recently called for an orderly U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. On the House floor, she declared in a message to Murtha, “that cowards cut and run, Marines never do.”
The House then broke out in a round of boos from the Democratic minority. After a call for her remarks to be ruled “unparliamentary” and Schmidt to be forbidden from speaking for the rest of the day, Schmidt instead voluntarily withdrew her remarks.
But from that point on, Schmidt has always been a lightning rod for liberals, and something of a hero for conservatives. But in the new round of redistricting, local politics have caught up with her.