Rep. Mike Turner (R)
Elected: 2002, 4th term.
Born: Jan. 11, 1960, Dayton .
Education: OH N. U., B.A. 1982, Case Western Reserve U., J.D. 1985, U. of Dayton, M.B.A. 1992.
Family: Married (Lori); 2 children.
Elected office: Dayton mayor, 1993-2001.
Professional Career: Practicing atty.
The congressman from the 3rd District is Mike Turner, a Republican elected in 2002. Turner grew up in Dayton, where his father worked 42 years for GM. He graduated from Ohio Northern University, Case Western law school and the University of Dayton business school and became a corporate lawyer. In 1993, at age 33, he narrowly defeated a scandal-tainted Democratic incumbent to win the first of two terms as mayor of Dayton. He narrowly lost a bid for re-election in 2001. Ohio and national Republican leaders recruited him to challenge 3rd District Democratic Rep. Tony Hall, who had served 12 terms but was vulnerable after post-2000 census redistricting made his turf considerably more Republican. In early 2002, Turner announced he was running for Congress, the same day the Ohio Legislature passed their redistricting plan. A week later, President Bush nominated Hall as ambassador to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.
|Mike Turner (R)||200,204||(63%)||($1,058,000)|
|Jane Mitakides (D)||115,976||(37%)||($462,075)|
|Mike Turner (R)||Unopposed|
Prior Winning Percentages: 2006 (59%), 2004 (62%), 2002 (59%)
In the Republican primary, Turner had fierce opposition from newspaper publisher Roy Brown, grandson and son of former U.S. Reps. Clarence Brown and Clarence Brown Jr., who had represented the neighboring 7th District from 1938 to 1982. Brown spent $1.3 million of his own money in the primary, largely on ads attacking Turner’s record on taxes and crime and lambasting him for being insufficiently conservative. Brown owned more than 50 newspapers, 10 in the 3rd District. Turner contended that Brown’s campaign guided his newspapers’ coverage of the race. Then, a few days before the primary, the Ohio Election Commission ruled that Brown violated state law with false statements in a televised ad. Voters evidently took the same view. Turner beat Brown 80%-14%. The general election was comparatively sedate. The Democratic nominee was Rick Carne, Hall’s chief of staff. He had little support from the national party but he raised nearly $600,000, with help from a local appearance by Dayton native Martin Sheen, who played President Bartlet on popular The West Wing television series. Turner won 59%-41%.
In the House, Turner got a seat on Armed Services and worked successfully to keep the Wright-Patterson base off the base-closing list and to expand its jobs, including a new center for research on fixed-wing aircraft—solid first steps for a new member of Congress. In October 2007, he worked to pass a bipartisan bill in the House to require the Bush administration to prepare contingency plans to withdraw troops from Iraq. And Turner collaborated with Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., to review the military’s handling of sexual assault charges. Also in 2007, he was successful in getting the Office of the Architect of the Capitol to return the word “God” to the official certificates with flags that are sent to constituents.
Turner formed a caucus of former mayors serving in Congress to focus on urban issues. In 2006, he worked on House-passed legislation to accelerate clean-up of polluted brownfields by making it easier for communities to apply for federal grants for revitalization efforts. He also promoted the kind of public-private partnerships that he used for economic development in Dayton. In March 2009, Turner was one of seven House Republicans to support a bill that would give bankruptcy judges the power to restructure the terms of home mortgages. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, called the bill “just the worst idea in the world.”
Turner seems entrenched in what had been a safe Democratic district. In 2006, three months after veterinarian Stephanie Studebaker won the Democratic nomination to challenge him, both she and her husband were arrested at their home and charged with domestic violence. She withdrew as a candidate. In September, federal prosecutor Richard Chema won a special primary to replace her, but Turner won easily. In 2008, Democratic challenger and investment manager Jane Mitakides ran, criticizing Turner for supporting Bush’s policies. And in August before the election, Ohio Democrats made an issue of the fact that he had not disclosed a five-year business relationship between his wife, Lori Turner, and home builder Tom Peebles, who had contributed to Turner’s campaign. Turner asked for a ruling from the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct and the panel concluded he did not have to disclose the relationship between Peebles and his wife. Turner won 63%-37%.