Democrats have a steep uphill battle to win the congressional seat being vacated by nine-term Central Ohio Republican Pat Tiberi.
His district is an example of the precise gerrymandering done six years ago by the Republican-led legislature, which drew 12 predominately Republican congressional districts, leaving four for the Democrats in Ohio.
None of the 16 seats have changed party hands since the first election with the new maps in 2012, and nearly all the races have been won by landslides.
This includes three easy wins by Tiberi in the 12th congressional district, which extends from Zanesville west to a portion of Columbus and then north to Mansfield.
Tiberi’s closest race with the current maps was in 2012, when he defeated Democratic challenger James Reese by 27 points – 63.5 percent to 36.5 percent. He won re-election last year by 37 points.
Yet if there is a glimmer of hope for the Democrats, it is that the vote between presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton was closer in the district than most GOP-held districts in Ohio, with Trump winning by 53 percent to 42 percent, according to cleveland.com estimates.
Among the 12 Republican congressional districts in Ohio, Trump won by wider margins in all but three others.
Tiberi announced Thursday that he will resign by the end of January to lead the Ohio Business Roundtable, an advocacy group for business leaders.
The 12th congressional district is wealthier, more highly educated and less diverse than Ohio as a whole. Here are the most recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau:
- Median family income, $67,415 in the district vs. $52,334 for all of Ohio.
- Median home value, $204,900 vs. $140,100 for all of Ohio.
- Adults (age 25 and over) with a bachelor’s degree or above: 41 percent vs. 27.5 percent for all of Ohio
- Minority population: 14.7 percent vs. 20.6 percent for all of Ohio.
- Median age: 40,0 vs. 40.7 for all of Ohio.
The districts were designed to result in the 12-4 split in favor of Republicans by packing Democrats into a few heavily Democratic districts, and spreading out Republican majorities among other districts. The seven “tightest” races in the last election were won by Republicans, but none were close.