State lawmakers Peterson, Stewart to run for open Congressional seat

State Sen. Bob Peterson, R-Washington Court House, and state Rep., Brian Stewart, R-Ashville

Two Republican state lawmakers have announced plans to campaign for a congressional seat that will soon be left vacant by the departure of U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers.

Sen. Bob Peterson, R-Washington Court House, and Rep. Brian Stewart, R-Ashville, will both vie for the Republican nomination for Ohio’s 15th Congressional District. Stivers, an Upper Arlington Republican, announced Monday he would soon resign from his seat to lead the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

Peterson represents all or parts of 10 counties in southern Ohio in the state senate’s 17th District. He is a former Fayette County Commissioner who operates a family farm. He was first elected to the Ohio General Assembly in 2010, later serving as president pro tempore of the Ohio Senate between 2016 and 2020.

U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington) is seen during a 2018 news briefing. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“Our country is headed down the wrong path in Washington,” Peterson said in a statement announcing his candidacy. “(U)nsustainable debt and deficits, a national security and humanitarian crisis at our southern border, and a constant assault on our freedoms, which are guaranteed under the United States Constitution. It is time to put an end to these reckless, liberal policies that will cause lasting damage to our state and nation if we don’t enact conservative policies now.”

Stewart is an Army veteran who served as Pickaway County Commissioner before winning his first term to the Ohio General Assembly last November. He represents all or parts of six counties in southern Ohio in the House’s 78th District. 

In a statement, Stewart said he was not planning to run for Congress just months into his state legislative term, but decided to jump in after receiving support from family, constituents and community leaders after Stivers’ announcement.

“I look forward to being a conservative champion for Ohio families in Washington D.C.,” he said.

The current map of Ohio’s 15th Congressional District. The red pins show regional offices.

Both Republicans offered praise of Stivers, who has served in Congress since 2011. 

A date for the special election to replace Stivers has not yet been announced. A separate congressional special election for a Cleveland-area district has a primary scheduled for August and the general election planned for November.

The eventual winner of this 15th District special election will serve through the end of the two-year term ending in 2022.

Besides Stewart and Peterson, a number of other Republicans and Democrats are considering a run for the seat, according to reporting from The Columbus Dispatch and The Athens Messenger.

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