Boehner easily defeats Tea Party challenge

Lauren Schneiderman
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) easily survived his latest primary challenge on Tuesday night.

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The Associated Press called the race with Boehner taking 74 percent of the vote to 15 percent for French teacher J.D. Winteregg and 7 percent for computer consultant Eric Gurr.

Though it's a sizeable margin for the Speaker, it's slimmer than what he posted his last two cycles.

Still, Boehner’s reelection was never in doubt, despite longstanding frustration among the grassroots with his leadership.

The Speaker won more than 80 percent of the vote during contested primaries in both 2012 and the GOP wave year of 2010, which saw dozens of incumbents fall to conservative challengers.

But this cycle, the Tea Party Leadership Fund endorsed Winteregg and spent $320,000 attacking the incumbent, and Boehner aired campaign ads for the first time since 2010.

His final ad, out this week, featured Boehner speaking alongside his wife about his commitment to the district’s values. The ad calls him “one of us, fighting for us.”

Winteregg made headlines for his own advertising after he accused Boehner of causing “electile dysfunction” in a Web video spoofing commercials for drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction. But rather than propel him to the nomination, that video lost him his job as an adjunct professor at a Christian college.

Boehner is expected to cruise to reelection in the heavily Republican district this fall.

In Ohio’s 14th District, freshman Rep. David Joyce also turned back a primary challenge from state Rep. Matt Lynch, taking 55 percent of the vote to Lynch's 45 percent support.

But that primary took considerably longer to call. Joyce took an early lead but his margin shrank throughout the night, and the AP ultimately called it with 81 percent of precincts reporting.

The race initially looked to be competitive, and FreedomWorks and Tea Party Patriots both spent on Lynch’s behalf, but his challenge never amounted to much of a threat. The Chamber of Commerce heavily outspent the conservative groups, dropping $300,000 into the race to boost the incumbent, and Lynch raised just a fraction of the more than $1.15 million Joyce drew.

While Democrats are hoping to make Ohio’s 14th competitive — it went for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney by just three points in 2012 — they’ve only managed to front attorney Michael Wager, a political unknown.

—This piece was updated at 10:40 p.m. to reflect the OH-14 results.