Andy Hounshell believes he can do something no one has done ever: beat Speaker of the House John Boehner for his 8th District seat.
Hounshell, a 37-year-old AK Steel employee and IAM Local 1943 vice president, will announce his candidacy for the 2014 race against Boehner on Friday at a fundraising event at Forest Hills Country Club in Middletown.
“I’ve noticed that decisions that are made politically actually have a real effect in the community, and going to the ballot last November to see that nobody was running was kind of disheartening,” Hounshell said. “There is a desperate need for a contender in that office and nobody is doing anything to step up and fill that void.”
Boehner was first elected to the seat in 1990 after beating then-Democrat Greg Jolivette by a 20-point margin — his narrowest victory in his 12 campaigns for the U.S. House seat.
Hounshell said people are disenfranchised enough with the former Union Twp. trustee (which is now West Chester Twp.) to want to see a change in representation.
“The main thing that’s been lacking is representing the actual members of our district and not the corporations,” said the native Middletonian and former Republican. “Who our current congressman is representing doesn’t exactly mirror the people of the 8th District at all. It doesn’t even come close.”
Hounshell — who introduced President Barack Obama at a Cincinnati campaign stop in 2012 — said “this is a winnable race.”
“Last year nearly 100,000 people went to the ballot and when it took to picking their congressman, they took a pass. That’s the difference. This is a winnable race,” said Hounshell, a former Army solider. “People are ready for a change. With the approval rating for Congress in the tanks, this is a winnable race.”
Butler County Democratic Central Committee chair Kathy Wyenandt said the party is impressed with the former Republican, who has filed his Federal Elections Commission paperwork.
“He has a way to connect with folks that John Boehner just doesn’t,” she said. “We really think that some folks have had a change of heart in their voting positions and they’re not really identifying with a party anymore.”
Wyenandt says Hounshell will need to raise a lot of money to compete against Boehner, who she claims got the Speaker of the House job in part of his ability to raise a lot of money for the Republicans.
“He’s so effective at raising money and he hasn’t had to spend much here at home,” she said. “Andy’s got an uphill battle there.”
Ohio’s 8th District includes all of Butler, Clark, Darke, Miami, and Preble counties, and the southernmost part of Mercer County.
Seeking: 8th Congressional District, which Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-West Chester Twp.) currently represents
Job: Steelworker at AK Steel Middletown Works and vice president of the IAM Local 1943
Family: Married to Leah Hounshell for nine years; father of 3-year-old triplets
Platform: Veterans issue, including GI Bill and veterans health; “tweeking” Social Security and Medicaid benefits; and representing the “working class” members of the 8th District