Talk about waiting your turn in politics. Bob Latta is running for the Republican nomination for the congressional seat left open in Ohio by last week’s death of GOP Rep. Paul Gillmor – the man to whom he lost nearly 20 years ago.
The Gillmor-Latta race was the closest House contest of 1988. In the Republican nomination fight – tantamount to election in the sprawling, rural northwest Ohio district – Gillmor won by a scant 27 votes.
At the time, Gillmor was coming off more than 20 years in the Ohio state Senate, including several as its leader. Latta’s main claim to fame was that he was the son of retiring Rep. Delbert Latta, a leading budget hawk in the 1980s, who made no secret of his desire to hand off the seat to his then 32-year-old lawyer son.
Gillmor won by a whisker, and Bob Latta went on to serve in local government and the Ohio legislature.
"I am running for Congress to serve. My life has been devoted to serving my family, community and state," Latta said, announcing his candidacy at the Wood County Courthouse in Bowling Green, Ohio. "Now, I want to serve my country by working for good jobs, safer streets, better schools, lower taxes and a secure America."
Under Ohio law, Gov. Ted Strickland must call a special election, but so far no date has been set.