An Ohio GOP Representative has announced his resignation, leaving an open seat available in a special election. Rep. Steve Stivers of the 15th Ohio Congressional District is resigning to take a new role as the President and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. Both parties are certain to pounce on the opportunity to either hold on to a Republican seat or flip the district and gain a new Democrat in the House of Representatives.
GOP seat vacant
Stivers has been representing the district since 2011 and won comfortably in 2020. The district has been solidly Republican and voted convincingly for President Trump in both 2016 and 2020.
The seat is likely to stay solidly Republican but the departure of Stivers causes immediate problems for the House GOP, which is losing a member who consistently voted with party leadership.
A special election to replace Rep. Stivers would likely not take place until November, leaving an empty GOP seat in a Congress where neither party can afford more than a handful of desertions on any vote.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi currently controls the House with a thin majority of 218 Democrats opposed to 212 Republicans. Pelosi has been desperate to ease the pressure on that thin majority by picking up new seats.
Democrats have themselves lost one seat in Ohio with the departure of Marcia Fudge, now the secretary of Housing and Urban Development for the Biden Administration.
That seat will continue to be vacant until November, following primaries in August. Four of the five vacancies in the House of Representatives currently were created by departing Democrats.
For the past decade, it has been my honor and privilege to serve the people of Ohio's 15th Congressional District. Throughout my career, I've worked to promote policies that drive our economy forward, get folks to work, and put our fiscal house in order.
— Archive: Steve Stivers (@RepSteveStivers) April 19, 2021
No Senate ambitions for Stivers
Rep. Stivers claims that he is not interested in running for the Senate seat soon to be vacated by the retiring Ohio GOP Senator Rob Portman.
Many other Ohio Republicans have been positioning themselves to run for the seat and, until recently, Stivers appeared to be one of the leading contenders, raising large sums in preparation for a potential run.
Now, however, Stivers has announced that he is only retiring to take the Chamber of Commerce position, saying that his decision is motivated by his desire to promote free enterprise and economic growth in Ohio.
The seat will likely be held by a GOP candidate given the recent voting record of the 15th Congressional District.
Still, as a special election for a seat in a closely contested House, there will be no incentive for the Democrats to give up easily. Resources and attention are likely to be funneled into Ohio in preparation for both of the upcoming special elections.
For now at least, the sudden departure of Stivers, who will be leaving Congress on May 16, gives Pelosi and House Democrats some much needed breathing room in a House where every vote counts.