Davidson faces Republican Heimlich in GOP 8th Congressional District race

Congressman Warren Davidson, R-Troy, is being challenged in the May 3, 2022 GOP primary by Hamilton County Republican Phil Heimlich, a former Cincinnati councilman and Hamilton County commissioner. PROVIDED

Congressman Warren Davidson said his focus this election cycle is not just on his re-election efforts.

The incumbent 8th Congressional District representative said he’s focused on regaining Republican majorities in the House and Senate in November.

“It’s high stakes getting the majority in the House and to put a check on the Biden Administration,” said the Republican from Troy. “If you look at the image that’s come this far into the Biden Administration, and if we don’t put a check on it, 2025 is a long way away.”

But before Davidson can think about winning a fourth congressional term in November, he faces in the May 3 GOP primary Phil Heimlich, a former member of both the Hamilton County Commission and Cincinnati City Council. He said he wants to weed out Trumpism in Congress ― and that starts with Davidson.

“Our democracy is under attack,” said Heimlich, a former assistant prosecuting attorney and Hamilton County resident. “Our Capitol was pillaged for the first time since the War of 1812. We had rioters breaking windows, beating up police officers ― over 100 were injured ― and smearing feces on the walls of the Capitol, and we have members of Congress, including Congressman Davidson, who essentially supported the rioters by walking in immediately after the riot and voting to overturn the election.”

The winner of the GOP primary will move on to the November general election and face Democrat Vanessa Enoch, who is unopposed.

Beginning in 2023, the 8th Congressional District, as it stands now, the winner in November will represent all of Butler, Darke, and Preble counties and parts of Hamilton and Miami counties. The district will no longer contain Clark County and the southernmost portion of Mercer County.

This campaign is not friendly, as Heimlich accuses Davidson of “lining up with the rioters” during the Jan. 6, 2021, raid on the Capitol, and supporting the conspiracy theorist group QAnon.

Davidson condemned the rioters’ actions, saying in a January 2021 statement there was “no excuse” for the attack on the U.S. Capitol. He still defended his objections on election integrity in Arizona and Pennsylvania, saying he was “disappointed that Senators withdrew principled objections, preventing further debate.”

“In Congress, we fight with reasoned arguments and recorded votes,” he said in 2021. “The debate remains essential to properly safeguarding the hard-won principle that all citizens have equal protection. That is violated when elections fail by law or practice.”

Davidson wanted to debate the objections of the certification of the 2020 election, where President Joe Biden beat former President Donald Trump, and there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud, as claimed by the former president.

Davidson called the 2020 resolution denouncing QAnon as “nonsensical,” but was only one of 18 members of Congress ― and the only one from Ohio ― to vote against House Resolution 1154. Ohio Republican Congressman Jim Jordan did not vote on that resolution.

Davidson said he does not support nor sympathize with QAnon, adding, “I don’t even know what Qanon believes. We had a resolution voting on it, and I think most members also don’t know what Qanon believes.”

Heimlich said he wants “to preserve our democracy,” and in order to do that, “we need to vote out those members of Congress that essentially sided with those who tried to destroy our democracy.”

To achieve his goal of voting Davidson out of office, and put a dent into Trumpism, Heimlich is taking a political leap of faith by asking non-Republicans to vote for him in the May GOP primary. Heimlich is asking all voters in the 8th Congressional District, which now includes half of Hamilton County, to vote in the GOP primary and “vote like our democracy depends on it.”

This is a political move that has the support of David Pepper, the former Ohio Democratic Party chairman.

“We are all Americans first, and Trumpism is a clear and present danger to our democracy,” he said.

Under Ohio law, a voter affiliates, for voter registration purposes, with a political party by voting in that party’s primary election, which occurs in even-year elections. A voter is a member of a political party if they voted in that party’s primary election within the preceding two calendar years, or they did not vote in any other party’s primary election within the preceding two calendar years.

Davidson, based on Heimlich’s messaging ― and the fact he supported Democrat Aftab Pureval (now Cincinnati mayor) in his 2018 campaign for the 1st Congressional District race ― said he “was surprised” Heimlich still identifies as a Republican.

“He wants to attack Donald Trump, but before that, he was attacking (Congressman) Steve Chabot and endorsing Aftab on the steps of the Hamilton County GOP,” Davidson said of Heimlich, “casting to everybody that he’s already abandoned the Republican Party.”


Early voting in Ohio is underway. Here are the remaining early voting hours for the May 3 primary election. All early voting is conducted at the Butler County Board of Elections, 1802 Princeton Road, Hamilton:

  • Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • April 25 to 29: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • April 30: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • May 1: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • May 2: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m

Election Day voting on May 3 will be at a voter’s precinct. Votes can search for their polling location at elections.bcohio.gov. Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Voters can request a vote-by-mail ballot by downloading the request form, filling it out and mailing it on or before May 2 to the Butler County Board of Elections, which must be received by noon on April 30. Forms can be found online at elections.bcohio.gov. Late-arriving vote-by-mail ballots must have a postmark on or before May 2.

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