Rep. Steve Austria, R-Ohio, announced Friday that he will not run for reelection in 2012. He blamed the new Ohio redistricting map, which carved up his old 7th District and had forced him to file for reelection in the new 10th District, also home to Republican Rep. Mike Turner:
Austria was first elected in 2008, replacing retiring Republican Rep. Dave Hobson. He would have been an underdog in the primary against Turner, the former mayor of Dayton. Slow population growth forced Ohio to contract two congressional districts this year and Austria and Turner were combined into one district. (Democratic Rep. Betty Sutton was also forced into a new district with freshman GOP Rep. Jim Renacci.)
Austria is the only Asian-American Republican currently serving in Congress; his father was born in the Philippines.
The new 10th District is potentially competitive in 2012: Under the new lines, Obama narrowly carried it in 2008, and George W. Bush won 52 percent of the vote there in 2004, according to GOP estimates. No Democrats have stepped forward to run yet, but Montgomery County GOP chairman Greg Gantt told the Dayton Daily News last week he expected an "extremely competitive" general election race.