National Journal has a particularly detailed profile of the race between incumbent freshman Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy, a Democrat, and challenger Steve Stivers in OH-15. The whole thing’s worth a read, but highlights follow:
When Stivers met with the NRCC and electoral prognosticators at the beginning of the ‘08 cycle, he whipped out a map of the district and started lecturing on where he would pull out his votes. Down to the precinct level, Stivers knew where ex-Rep. Deborah Pryce (R) underperformed in ‘06 when she only narrowly beat Kilroy by about 1K votes.
To those that know him, Stivers’ strongest attribute is he’s a political junkie. He has analyzed and re-analyzed the ‘08 and knows that if he can make just small gains in certain areas, he’ll win.
That tenacity has carried over to his fundraising. Stivers is one of best fundraisers among GOP challengers and he has consistently outraised Kilroy – he’s one GOP challenger who won’t be at a significant financial disavantage. Currently, he has $1.2M in the bank to Kilroy’s $900K.[…]
Stivers will look to three base areas: Upper Arlington, which is just north of Columbus, and Madison and Union Counties. Upper Arlington is where Stivers is from and makes up most of his former state Senate district. In ‘08, he won Upper Arlington by about 5K votes, approximately the same margin he carried Madison County. He killed Kilroy in Union County, winning by about 8K votes.
Republicans say that on election night if Stivers has a 5-6K margin in Madison and another 8K margin in Union, it’s game over.