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Most incumbents in region facing token opposition

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With Democrats pressing hard in four Ohio congressional districts now held by Republicans, the state s delegation could shift in political hue, from red to blue.

But don t look for changes in the political palette of northwest Ohio, where incumbents Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green), and Jim Jordan (R., Urbana) face token opposition. Here s a rundown:

• 9TH DISTRICT

An opponent of international trade deals and an advocate of locally grown agriculture, Ms. Kaptur, 62, is seeking a 14th term. She recently voted against the $700 billion economic rescue package that was signed into law, calling it a Wall Street bailout that is not in the interest of our republic.

Republican Bradley Leavitt, 34, a Navy veteran employed at North Star BlueScope Steel near Delta, Ohio, ran for the seat in 2006, receiving 26 percent of the vote. He said his highest priority would be a worker retraining program. He criticized Ms. Kaptur for not obtaining committee leadership posts.

Ms. Kaptur said she used her seniority to obtain a position on the coveted defense appropriations subcommittee.

Ms. Kaptur has spent $407,381 and still had $985,198 in her campaign account as of Oct. 15, according to the Federal Elections Commission. Mr. Leavitt does not have a report on file with the FEC.

The district includes Lucas County except for the southwest portion, Ottawa and Erie counties, and part of Lorain County.

• 5TH DISTRICT

Mr. Latta, 52, who battled primary and special election opponents to win the seat after the death last year of GOP Rep. Paul Gillmor, faces George Mays, a Norwalk Democrat who is a disc jockey and karaoke operator.

Mr. Latta has emphasized the need for more domestic energy production.

In July, he joined a congressional trip to Alaska to promote oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Mr. Latta voted against the $700 billion Wall Street bailout bill.

Mr. Mays, 52, said he would focus on attracting jobs to the district and reducing the tax burden on the working class. He called for public works and alternative energy programs.

Mr. Latta has spent $347,859 on this race, with $99,559 remaining, while Mr. Mays has spent $6,107.

The district comprises Williams, Defiance, Paulding, Henry, Fulton, Putnam, Seneca, Sandusky, Huron, Van Wert, Wood, and Crawford counties, and portions of Lucas, Mercer, Wyandot, and Ashland counties.

• 4TH DISTRICT

Mr. Jordan is challenged by steelworker and Mansfield Democrat Mike Carroll. The district includes all of Allen, Auglaize, Hancock, and Hardin, and part of Wyandot. It also covers six other counties.

As of Oct. 15, Mr. Jordan had spent $375,211 and had $512,799 on hand; Mr. Carroll spent $12,783 and had $885.

Republicans hold 11 of Ohio s 18 congressional seats. Four Republican seats in the Cincinnati, Columbus, and Canton areas are considered toss-ups.

• MICHIGAN S 7TH DISTRICT

In the 7th District, first-term incumbent Tim Walberg (R., Tipton) and state Sen. Mark Schauer (D., Battle Creek) are engaged in a costly election battle.

Mr. Walberg has spent $1.3 million, with $412,389 left as of Oct. 15. Mr. Schauer had spent $1.1 million, leaving $734,888 in his campaign war chest.

Mr. Schauer has linked Mr. Walberg with the policies of President Bush, while Mr. Walberg criticized Mr. Schauer s vote last year to raise taxes to eliminate a state budget deficit.

The district includes Hillsdale and Lenawee counties.

• MICHIGAN S 15TH DISTRICT

Rep. John Dingell (D., Dearborn), who was first elected in 1955, faces John Lynch, an Ypsilanti Republican. The 15th District includes Monroe County.

Contact Tom Troy at:tomtroy@theblade.comor 419-724-6058.

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