As President Obama traveled to Ohio today, The Hill's Mike O'Brien points out that the Buckeye State is seeing a clash of influences: Obama vs. House Minority Leader John Boehner, who represents the state's eighth congressional district. A few important races are at stake in Boehner's backyard, a state Obama won decisively in 2008 to seal up the presidency, and the minority leader has confronted Obama on the economy, a top issue in Ohio. If Republicans take over the House this fall, Boehner could find himself negotiating with Obama as Speaker.
The stakes are a governor's mansion, a seat in the U.S. Senate, and possibly control of the House. A Republican sweep of six House seats now filled by Democrats could edge the GOP closer to the 40-seat pick-up the party needs to make Boehner the speaker this fall.Ohio also will be crucial to Obama's reelection hopes in 2012. A traditional battleground state, Ohio last picked a losing presidential candidate in 1960, when its electoral votes went to Republican Richard Nixon instead of Democrat John F. Kennedy.Given those stakes, Obama has become a frequent flier to Ohio; Wednesday marks the ninth time since taking office that he has visited the Buckeye State, which he won by 5 points in the 2008 presidential election over Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.). It's the fifth time Obama has visited Ohio this year.Boehner, the state's most prominent Republican besides Sen. George Voinovich, who is retiring, is Obama's critic in chief, particularly when it comes to Ohio.
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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.