Five things to know about Ohio’s 8th Congressional District

For the first time in a quarter century, Ohio’s 8th Congressional District will have a new representative once a special election takes place June 7.

The race to replace U.S. Rep. John Boehner as the district’s congressional representative is underway. State Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, tea party-backed J.D. Winteregg and Tipp City resident Scott George were among the first to declare. Those who have since announced their candidacy are: Ohio Rep. Tim Derickson, R-Hanover Twp.; Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds; and Butler County businessman Eric Gurr.

Here are some things to know about the six-county congressional district:

8th Congressional District

The congressional district incorporates all of Butler, Clark, Darke, Miami and Preble counties, and the southernmost portion of Mercer County. It stretches from the shores of Grand Lake St. Mary’s along its northern borders to just before the northern portion of the Interstate 275 loop in Greater Cincinnati.

Nearly 723,000 people reside within the district, and nearly 51 percent of the district’s population is female, and 73 percent are ages 20 and older.

The largest two races people identify with in the district are white (88.7 percent) and black or African-American (6.3 percent). Just over 3 percent of the district’s population claims Hispanic heritage.

While 14.5 percent of the district’s population are below the poverty line, more than one-fifth (21.2 percent) of that population is children.

Only 23 percent of the district’s population has a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Employment

About one-third of the district’s civilian employed population work in either management, business, science or arts occupations, according to the U.S. Census. And nearly one-quarter work in sales or in an office setting. The average household income within the district is $67,150.

Only 9.8 percent are government workers, followed by 4.4 percent who are self-employed. Just more than 1,000 (0.3 percent) are classified as unpaid family workers.

Nearly half (47.6 percent) of the district’s population is considered a part of the civilian employed population that is 16 years or older.

Nearly 73 percent of the district’s civilian workforce work in one of five industries:

  • 22 percent: education and health care and social assistance
  • 19.7 percent: manufacturing
  • 13.3 percent: retail
  • 9.2 percent: arts, entertainment and recreation/accommodation and food services
  • 8.3 percent: professional, scientific and management/administrative and waste management services

Federal impact

The 8th Congressional District has seen millions of dollars in federal funding for various projects over the years, including:

  • The Tremont City hazardous waste dump cleanup and the Springfield Air National Guard Base, which has an unmanned drone at the base.
  • The $500 million Meldahl Lock and Dam, the city of Hamilton’s clean hydroelectric power plant, was brought online with the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a federal permit.
  • The Union Center interchange at Interstate 75 and the Butler County Regional Highway — both which opened acres of land to economic development opportunities, including the Streets of West Chester and Bridgewater Falls, valued at millions of dollars — was brought online with the help of federal dollars.

Voter makeup

Ohio’s 8th Congressional District is heavily Republican.

For every one registered Democrat voter in the district, there are roughly four registered Republican voters, according to board of elections data. That registration data mirrors the total voters in the respective partisan primaries in 2014.

It was said at a 2014 Butler County Republican Party endorsement meeting by an anonymous party member that Butler County is “John Boehner’s house,” and from congressional returns, so is the district. Boehner did not fail to win a re-election without garnering at least 60 percent of the vote. In 2014, with more than 187,000 district voters participating, Boehner won with 67.2 percent of the vote.

Butler County

Of the estimated 723,000 residents that live in the state’s 8th Congressional District, more than half live in Butler County. And since a redistricting following the 1970 Census, all of the district’s congressmen have been from the county.

The 8th Congressional District, as it currently sits for the most part, was redistricted following the elimination of the 24th Congressional District, which was created following the 1966 election. The 1970 census caused it to be eliminated.

Since that redistricting 45 years ago, all of the district’s representatives have been from Butler County:

  • Walter Powell, of Hamilton and Fairfield (1973-1975)
  • Tom Kindness, of Hamilton (1975-1987)
  • Donald Edgar “Buz” Lukens, of Middletown (1987-1990)
  • John Boehner, of West Chester Twp. (1991-2015)

Clark County was added to the district following the most recent redistricting of the congressional district. It was included in the 7th Congressional District, which was represented by Republican Rep. David Hobson from 1991 to 2009. The Cincinnati-born former federal legislator focused on health care, controlling government spending and strengthening national security.

Former Rep. Clarence J. Brown also represented Clark County in the 7th District from 1939 until he died in 1965, and was a former president of Brown Publishing (which owned The Western Star at one time, a former paper of Cox Media Group Ohio)

Brown also helped pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965. His son, Clarence “Bud” Brown Jr., took over his seat until 1983, and grandson, actor Clancy Brown, has starred in Shawshank Redemption and Highlander, and is the voice of Mr. Krabs on “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

A controversial time for the district was when Lukens was arrested and convicted of a sex scandal with an underage girl. He was found guilty of a misdemeanor crime of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for paying the girl $40 for sex in his Columbus apartment.

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