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Published: Wednesday, 5/5/2010

Iott wins GOP nomination to run against Kaptur in fall

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A former grocery executive will meet a veteran member of Congress in the November general election, as Rich Iott prevailed in the Republican primary yesterday for the right to challenge U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) in the general election.

In the 9th Congressional District, Mr. Iott handily defeated Jack Smith, a former Toledo police chief, in the Republican primary.

"I think people are responding to the message we've been communicating," said Mr. Iott, 58, who until 2000 was president and chief executive of Seaway Food Town, the former supermarket chain his father, Wallace, helped found.

"Basically what I'm hearing from people out there, they're looking for a change, not government as usual," Mr. Iott said. "They're looking for someone to go in there with a business perspective."

Mr. Smith would not speculate on reasons for the result.

"I thought we'd gotten our message out sufficiently to overcome the money disadvantage, but the folks have their voice, and I respect their decision," Mr. Smith said.

Miss Kaptur, 63, easily took the Democratic primary over challenger Dale Terry, 54, of Huron, who formerly owned a taxicab business.

She was first elected to Congress in 1982.

Libertarian candidate Jeremy Swartz had the lead over Joseph Jaffe for the chance to take on Miss Kaptur and Mr. Iott.

In the 5th Congressional District, incumbent U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) defeated Robert Wallis of Convoy, Ohio, for the GOP nomination.

Mr. Latta will be challenged by Democrat Caleb Finkenbiner of Defiance, Ohio, and Libertarian Brian Smith of Bowling Green, neither of whom was opposed in a primary.

In the 9th District, any policy differences between the Republican candidates were overshadowed by the variance in their war chests and advertising visibility.

Mr. Iott raised more than $540,000, most of it his own money, and ran television commercials for weeks.

Mr. Smith raised a bit more than $12,000 but seemed to find favor with Tea Party movement activists - and with Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, "Joe the Plumber" of the 2008 presidential campaign, who publicly endorsed Mr. Smith.

Mr. Iott of Monclova Township is a graduate of the former Sylvania High School, now known as Northview High School.

He owns a movie production company and is a colonel in the Ohio Military Reserve.

Mr. Smith, 61, of Springfield Township was Toledo police chief in 2006 after a career on the Toledo police force. A graduate of Waite High School, he is a Marine Corps veteran of the Vietnam War and served in the Marine Corps Reserves.

Mr. Smith during the campaign spoke of public worries about federal government and immigration reform - in particular, his belief in sealed borders.

Last night, he said that in order for Mr. Iott to defeat Miss Kaptur, his former opponent will have to find issues that touch her base "and chip away at that. He's going to have to become much more aggressive and pound the message home."

Mr. Swartz, 33, an unemployed emergency medical technician and student at Owens Community College, graduated from Riverdale High School in Hancock County.

Mr. Jaffe, 36, a graduate of Sylvania Southview High School, manages his family's business, Tyler Meat Co., in Toledo.

Miss Kaptur, 63, is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and has a master's degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan.

Mr. Latta, 54, a lawyer and former member of the Ohio General Assembly, was first elected to represent the 5th District Congress in 2007.

The 9th District includes most of Lucas County, all of Ottawa and Erie counties, and part of Lorain County.

The 5th District is made up of Williams, Defiance, Paulding, Henry, Fulton, Putnam, Seneca, Sandusky, Huron, Van Wert, Wood, and Crawford counties, and portions of Lucas, Mercer, Wyandot, and Ashland counties.

Contact Mark Zaborney at:

mzaborney@theblade.com

or 419-724-6182.



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