Alumni vie for Gillmor’s seat

Tim Sampson and Tim Sampson

Two University alumni have their eyes on the U.S. Capitol.

Republican State Sen. Steve Buehrer and two-time Democratic congressional nominee Robin Weirauch both announced their candidacy in the 5th congressional special election Thursday. Both are vying to replace the late U.S. Representative Paul Gillmor, R-Tiffin, who died last month.

Buehrer, who graduated from the University with an education degree in 1988, spent eight years in the Ohio House of Representatives before being elected to the State Senate in 2006.

A conservative, Buehrer has a 100 percent anti-abortion voting record in the general assembly and was endorsed with an A+ grade by the National Rifle Association during his 2006 Senate campaign. The United Conservatives of Ohio named him Conservative Legislator of the Year in 2006.

Buehrer said his record reflects the views of northwest Ohio’s voters.

‘I believe this is a conservative district with conservative values,’ he said Friday while picking up his candidacy petition from the Wood County Board of Elections.

Buehrer said his top priority in Congress would be to bring more jobs to the 5th District by lowering taxes, which he says stifle small businesses.

The senator said his vote against former Gov. Bob Taft’s 2003 tax increase prove him to be more of a fiscal conservative than his rival for the Republican nomination, State Rep. Bob Latta [R-Bowling Green].

In the U.S. House, Buehrer said his main goals would be to secure America’s borders through tougher immigration laws. He also said he would work toward pulling troops out of Iraq, but added that it was not the job of Congress to play ‘Monday-morning quarterback’ to the president.

On the other side of the political fence, Weirauch launched her third campaign for the 5th District seat on the video-sharing Web site YouTube in an effort to reach the entire district.

After earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University, Weirauch spent eight years as the assistant director of the Center for Regional Development at BGSU, during which time she aimed to enhance the economic development of small communities throughout 27 counties in northern Ohio.

‘I have an understanding of how small communities work,’ she said. ‘I know how to advocate for them.’

Weirauch said she is in tune with voters who are looking for change and said her top priorities in Congress would be to strengthen Ohio’s economy and to end the Iraq War.

She faces tough odds, though. Republicans have held the 5th District for nearly 70 years.

But Weirauch, so far the only Democrat to enter the race, points toward a 21 percent gain in votes between her 2004 and 2006 congressional bids as a positive sign. She lost to Gillmor by just less than 13 percent in her most recent campaign.

She also said the success of Democrats at the state level during last year’s midterm elections are promising.

‘[The voters] sent a strong message in 2006 saying that they want change,’ Weirauch said.

Primaries in the special election will be held Nov. 6. The general election will be held Dec. 11.