Rep. Pat Tiberi (R)
Ohio 12th District
Columbus is on the verge of becoming a major metropolis. With city limits stretching toward farmland at each point of the compass, the central city of Columbus had 724,000 people in 2007, far more than Cleveland, with 405,000, or Cincinnati, with 332,000. Columbus’s Franklin County passed the one million mark in the 1990s and was at 1.1 million in 2007. Columbus is centrally located, not only in the center of Ohio, but also just a one-day truck drive from more than half of the nation’s population. It was the only one of the 15 largest cities in Ohio to gain population in the 1990s and has the advantages of being the state capital, the home of the Ohio State University, and a major white-collar employment town. It is the home of Nationwide Insurance, Wendy’s International, and Red Roof Inns. The Limited is based at the Easton Town Center, a huge mall built in the 1990s. Columbus likes to brag that its airfreight operations at Port Columbus, the airport, make it the largest in the country dedicated to cargo. The city’s economic base and civic infrastructure have attracted the kind of upscale, enterprising people who have produced much of America’s growth in recent years. Its rapidly growing foreign-born population—Latinos, Asians, Ethiopians, Russian Jews, and Somalis—exceeds that of Cleveland or Detroit. But the city also has suffered from traditional big-city problems as well, which has spurred a migration of students from public to private schools. The politics of Columbus traditionally were Republican. It had few of the Eastern European immigrants and CIO unions that made Cleveland so Democratic. But in 1999, Columbus elected African-American Democrat Michael Coleman as mayor, and in 2000, Franklin County was carried, though just barely, by Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore. In 2004, thanks to out-migration of whites and a vigorous registration and turnout drive by Democrats, John Kerry carried the county 54%-45%. In 2008, Barack Obama carried it 60%-39%.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 12th Congressional District of Ohio is one of two districts dominated by Columbus and Franklin County. It includes 39% of the city, including most of the east side, plus the affluent suburb of Bexley, site of the Governor’s Mansion, and the northeastern suburbs in Franklin County. It also includes Delaware County, directly north of Columbus, which is Ohio’s fastest-growing county; it grew 50% from 2000 to 2008 and was the 21st-fastest-growing county in the nation. The district takes in most of Licking County east of Columbus, including the small industrial town of Newark and the lovely college town of Granville. With big margins in Delaware and Licking Counties, George W. Bush won here 51%-49% in 2004. But Obama’s Ohio victory switched this district to 54%-45% in his favor.
Rep. Pat Tiberi (R)
Elected: 2000, 5th term.
Born: Oct. 21, 1962, Columbus .
Education: OH St. U., B.A. 1985.
Family: Married (Denice); 4 children.
Elected office: OH House of Reps., 1992-2000, Maj. ldr., 1999-2000.
Professional Career: Staff asst., U.S. Rep. John Kasich, 1984-92; Realtor, ReMax Achievers, 1995-2000.
The congressman from the 12th District is Pat Tiberi, a Republican elected in 2000. The son of Italian immigrants, Tiberi (TEE berry) grew up in Columbus and graduated from the Ohio State University. He worked as a real estate agent and then as an assistant to Republican U.S. Rep. John Kasich for eight years. Kasich helped Tiberi win a seat in the state House, where he became majority leader and supported business-friendly legislation and tort-law changes. In 1999, Kasich, then chairman of the Budget Committee, announced his retirement from the House. Tiberi won support to replace his mentor from most of the Republican establishment and from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He faced a noisy but not very effective primary challenge from state Sen. Gene Watts, who sought to rally the conservative base. Tiberi won 73%-21%. The resounding victory gave him a big boost heading into the general election against Maryellen O'Shaughnessy, a Democratic City Council member in Columbus. She had a compelling personal story as the single mother of a 10-year-old son. Tiberi played up his Columbus roots and his membership in the Ohio State marching band and held O’Shaughnessy responsible for negative Democratic Party ads that labeled him a defender of insurance companies on the issue of affordable prescription drugs. This was one of the most-watched House races in the nation. With campaign help from Kasich, Tiberi won 53%-44%.
|Pat Tiberi (R)||197,447||(55%)||($1,714,042)|
|David Robinson (D)||152,234||(42%)||($180,974)|
|Steven Linnabary (Lib)||10,707||(3%)|
|Pat Tiberi (R)||63,450||(90%)|
|David Ryon (R)||6,681||(10%)|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (57%), 2004 (62%), 2002 (64%), 2000 (53%)
In the House, Tiberi’s record has been conservative on economic and cultural issues but occasionally centrist on defense and foreign policy. He has called for scrapping the income-tax code and for creating a national commission to craft a new tax system, and he supports lifting the trade embargo on Cuba. On the Financial Services Committee, he has focused on housing and home-ownership issues, including a bill to require an increase in zero-down-payment mortgages for first-time home buyers. In July 2006, he joined a group of Republican mavericks who urged a vote to increase the minimum wage.
When U.S. Rep. Rob Portman of Ohio resigned from the House in 2005, Tiberi was the Ohio delegation’s choice to fill his seat on the Ways and Means Committee. After a bruising intraparty fight, the seat went to Devin Nunes of California. Then in January 2007, Tiberi finally won a Ways and Means seat, with a boost from Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio. Tiberi had been campaign manager for Boehner in his successful bid for majority leader in early 2006, and he later helped Boehner fix organizational problems at the National Republican Congressional Committee. He typically toes the party line against Democratic proposals on Ways and Means, but he supported their bills to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Despite the district’s narrow partisan balance, Tiberi has easily won re-election. In 2006, he faced an unusual challenge from 79-year-old Bob Shamansky, a lawyer and real-estate investor who held the seat for two years before Kasich defeated him in 1982. Shamansky criticized the Iraq War and the congressional failure to allow the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies in the Medicare prescription-drug program. He also loaned his campaign $1.4 million. Tiberi distanced himself from President George W. Bush on Iraq, and he won 57%-43%. In 2008, he was challenged by businessman and climate-control advocate David Robinson, a political novice who ran on the need for change in Congress. The result was similar to that in 2006. Tiberi lost 51%-46% in Franklin County, which cast 61% of the vote, but won 55%-42% overall, with 69%-28% in Delaware and 67-31% in Licking. The election of Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy in the neighboring 15th District could give Tiberi protection in redistricting if Democrats are shifted to her district to bolster her job security.