How did Jean Schmidt lose her incumbency?

Jean Schmidt
Jean Schmidt

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - One congressional primary that surprised many on both sides of the aisle was the defeat of incumbent Jean Schmidt by fellow republican Brad Wenstrup.

Schmidt has faced repeated challenges in her seven years in office, but always came out on top and she was the odds on favorite leading up to Tuesday's primary.

"I don't think there's anything that you can point at and say this is the reason that he won or that she lost," said Xavier University political science professor Gene Beaupre.

Beaupre says Schmidt may have thought that she didn't need to run a very vigorous race.

"I think she was confident she would hold her base in Clermont County," he said.

"Congresswoman Schmidt not winning her home county was a critical component here. She lost Clermont cCunty which is her home county, that was a critical piece of it," said Alex Triantafilou, Hamilton County Republican party chair.

Hamilton County Democratic party chair Tim Burke says he's surprised at Schmidt's loss.

"That's probably the most stunning because her great strength has always been in Clermont County," said Burke.

Burke says Schmidt's past may have come back to haunt her.

"Her record...has not always been stellar. There are a lot of people who still remember her as the Saturday Night Live skit for one of the faux pas' she made on the floor of the United States congress," said Burke.

Schmidt may also have underestimated Wenstrup who even Democrats say is a formidable candidate.

Wenstrup's challenger appears to be Democrat William Smith who had been in a close race with David Krikorian. However, FOX19 learned Wednesday that Krikorian had conceded.

Smith now faces an uphill battle because he's virtually unknown in an solidly Republican district.

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