The race for Ohio’s 10th Congressional District has shifted from a “solid” to “likely” re-election for U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, according to The Cook Political Report, a leading political newsletter.
The ratings shift comes as Theresa Gasper, a Democratic candidate, announced her campaign raised more than $200,000 in the 11 weeks since she entered the race.
Though her and her opponents’ federally mandated fundraising reports have not yet been made available to the public, Gasper’s campaign said more than 1,000 individual contributions were made to her campaign, “the majority of whom reside in the state of Ohio.”
The Cook Political Report’s new ratings take into account newfound Democratic enthusiasm, according to the newsletter.
The newsletter cites a recent CNN/SSRS survey in which 51 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning individuals said they were “extremely” or “very” enthusiastic about voting in November, compared to 36 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning individuals answering the same question.
The Cook Political Report is an independent, non-partisan newsletter providing analysis of House, Senate, presidential and state gubernatorial elections and campaigns.
By definition, the newsletter still does not see the seat as competitive. The report defines “likely” as seats that “are not considered competitive at this point, but have the potential to become engaged.”
Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a political analysis newsletter from the University of Virginia Center for Politics, shifted a few Ohio districts several weeks ago, but did not change Turner’s “safe” rating. Crystal Ball could make ratings changes after the latest federal campaign finance records are made public in coming days. The publication predicted the federal and gubernatorial 2012 election results with 97 percent accuracy.
Turner has won all of his elections since 2002 with more than 58 percent of the vote. In his last election in 2016, Turner won 64 percent of the vote.
Turner faces John Anderson and John Mitchel in the Republican primary.
Turner, in an interview this week, said he would focus his campaign on “telling the story” of his time in Congress.
“In every campaign, our focus is always telling the story of the work we’ve done and talking about what needs to be done in the future,” Turner said, noting his work with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as an Armed Services Committee member, bringing Fuyao Glass America to General Motors’ former Moraine Assembly, and fighting the opioid crisis through prevention and treatment.
Gasper, in a statement, said she was “proud of the grassroots enthusiasm” of her campaign.
“People are ready for a representative will actually work to raise wages, lower healthcare costs, and create more local good-paying jobs for the Dayton area,” Gasper said in the statement. “We are building toward a sea change in November, and I am humbled to have the incredible support of our community behind me.”
Still, Cook’s analysis notes that this year’s primary elections “have already proven difficult for Democrats to control: some of their most highly touted, widely endorsed candidates are falling flat with actual primary voters.”
Robert Klepinger, one of Gasper’s Democratic opponents, said he “thinks it’s great” Gasper has raised as much as she has.
“Good for her,” he said. “She’s obviously had support at different levels that I’ve never had. I don’t want to actively campaign against another Democrat.”
“Up until this point, everyone thought a race against Turner was unwinnable,” Klepinger said. “I’d love to see a new congressman.”
The other Democrat in the race, Michael Milisits, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
More women are running for Congress than ever before. As of Thursday, a total of 309 women from the two major parties have filed candidacy papers to run for the House, topping the previous record of 298 in 2012, according to The Associated Press.
The 10th district includes all of Montgomery and Greene counties and part of Fayette County.
Ohio’s primary Election Day is May 8. The deadline for voter registration for the primary is Monday.