The Evan Feinberg camp is probably giddy by the Tea Party upset of a GOP incumbent near Cincinnati last night, but we're not convinced the race is an exact match with his challenge of PA18 Republican Tim Murphy. The Murphy camp is probably still sweating it, though, as it affirms the rocky seas for anybody in Washington.
But Wenstrup is better known to Cincy voters than Feinberg, a US Senate staffer who moved back home to the Pittsburgh area last year -- Wenstrup ran for mayor of the Republican-friendly city two years ago.
The 2nd district had long been the most closely watched House race in the Cincinnati area, with some political experts seeing Schmidt as vulnerable at a time when there’s strong anti-incumbent sentiment across the country. The race also attracted some outside interest, with a Super PAC called the Campaign for Primary Accountability targeting Schmidt for defeat.
But even with the national attention, Wenstrup’s win was a shocker. A podiatrist and Iraq war veteran from Columbia-Tusculum, he has never held political office. This is his second political campaign, having made an unsuccesful bid for Cincinnati mayor in 2009.
Schmidt, first elected in 2005, had eked out squeaker primary wins before, and many in Cincinnati’s GOP establishment expected her to win against this time. But Wenstrup seized on Schmidt’s ethics troubles in the campaign. And he also secured key conservative support--winning the endorsement of the Anderson Tea Party and the Ohio Liberty Council, a coalition of Ohio Tea Party groups.
Brad Wenstrup photo: Cincinnati Enquirer/Joseph Fuqua II