Local voters will decide several legislative races Nov. 2, but none figures to be as hotly contested as the race to represent Ohio's 15th Congressional District.

Local voters will decide several legislative races Nov. 2, but none figures to be as hotly contested as the race to represent Ohio's 15th Congressional District.

Incumbent Mary Jo Kilroy and challenger Steve Stivers will face off for the 15th District seat in a rematch of the 2008 election.

Kilroy, a Democrat, won the district two years ago by 2,311 votes. But Stivers, a Republican, could have momentum on his side, as recent national polls suggest the GOP and independents are fired up about sending a message to Washington over spending and jobs.

The two have been locked in a fierce battle in recent months, labeling each other as out of step with district voters.

Kilroy, 61, cast votes in favor of health-care reform, cap-and-trade legislation and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, all measures that have proved controversial. The former Franklin County commissioner has said that Stivers, a former bank lobbyist, would be a strong ally of Wall Street in Washington.

Stivers, 45, has held to his message of creating jobs and cutting government spending. He has painted Kilroy as an old-fashioned liberal who has walked in lockstep with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's agenda. Stivers, who has spent the last 25 years in the Ohio Army National Guard, said he shut down his private business, Restructure Consultants, to focus on his campaign.

The 15th District is often considered a swing district, and recent races have been close, as Kilroy lost to former U.S. Rep. Deborah Pryce, a Republican, by 1,062 votes out of more than 220,000 cast in 2006.

Other candidates in the race include Libertarian William J. Kammerer, David B. Ryon of the Constitution Party and Bill Buckel, who is running a write-in campaign.

Voters in the German Village area also will see several other races on their ballots.

In the 25th District of the Ohio House of Representatives, Democrat Michael Stinziano, 30, will run unopposed. His Republican opponent, Scott Alan Hubbard, dropped out of the race after the Aug. 9 deadline to replace a candidate on the ballot.

Stinziano, who became director of the Franklin County Board of Elections in 2008, will replace Rep. Dan Stewart, a Democrat who cannot run again because of term limits.

In the race for the 26th House District seat, Democratic incumbent Tracy Heard will face Joseph A. Healy, a Republican. The race is a repeat of 2008, when Heard won with 83 percent of the vote, compared to Healy's 17 percent.

Heard, 47, has served two terms representing the district, while Healy, 49, is a painting and home-maintenance contractor.

In the 15th District race for state Senate, Republican Alicia Healy and Democrat Charleta Tavares are seeking to fill the seat held by Democrat Ray Miller, who cannot run again because of term limits.

Healy, 42, a consultant for Mary Kay Cosmetics who is married to Joseph A. Healy, ran unsuccessfully for Columbus City Council in 2009.

Tavares, 55, has served on city council since 1999 and previously represented the 22nd House District.

Finally, Democrat Marilyn Brown, a first-term member on the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, will try to fend off Republican challenger Julie Hubler.

Brown, 56, the onetime public affairs director for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, defeated three-term Republican incumbent commissioner Dewey Stokes in her first bid for elective office.

Hubler, 52, an attorney, has never held elective office, but in 2004 she ran for Franklin County Common Pleas judge and sought the GOP's nomination last year to run as the replacement for county Auditor Joe Testa.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

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