A whole lotta Latta for the 5th

The third time wasn’t the charm for Robin Weirauch.

The Democratic nominee lost the special congressional election to State Rep. Bob Latta by a 14 percent margin. The Republican nominee earned 56,367 votes while his Democratic rival earned just 42,563 votes in the race to fill the vacant Ohio 5th district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The special election was called in mid-September following the death of the late U.S. Rep. Paul Gillmor.

Latta arrived at his campaign victory party on South Main Street in Bowling Green last night to a crowd of fervent supporters chanting his name at the top of their lungs.

The current state representative from Bowling Green greeted supporters with thanks for all of their “grunt work,” which he said helped him win the race.

“It was a tough campaign,” Latta said. “It was 88 days you don’t want to relive.”

Latta will be following in the footsteps of his father, Del Latta, who served as the 5th district representative for 30 years. Latta previously sought to fill his father’s spot in 1988, but lost the Republican nomination to Gillmor by 27 votes.

“I talked with my dad earlier tonight and he was very happy,” Latta said.

A mile away from Latta’s victory party last night, Weirauch gathered with supporters at her campaign headquarters in downtown Bowling Green.

By 9:45 p.m., Weirauch came out to speak to a packed room and announced she had called Latta to concede defeat.

“I’m disappointed in the loss, but I’m proud of the race,” she said.

This race was Weirauch’s third attempt at the 5th district seat.

Weirauch, the former assistant director of the University’s Center for Regional Development, lost by almost the same 14-percentage point margin that she did in 2006, despite speculation that this year’s special election was her best chance of retaking a district held by Republicans since 1939.

Yesterday’s vote marked the end of an 88-day special election that saw its share of controversy.

Latta won the Republican nomination after a bitter primary race in which Latta and his chief rival for the nomination, State Sen. Steve Buehrer (R-Delta), were both chastised by the Ohio Elections Commission for issuing false campaign statements about one another.

And in recent weeks, the race between Latta and Weirauch turned negative as the national parties poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the special election.

According to The Associated Press, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent $150,000 on ads trying to connect Latta

with past Republican scandals in Ohio. Likewise the Republican National Campaign Committee had $160,000 on ads criticizing Weirauch for her stand on illegal immigration and taxes.

But with the campaign behind him, Latta is prepared to head on to Washington.

“There are a lot of things I want to do for the 5th district of Ohio and the nation and just want to get to work,” he said.