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GOP Congressmen win Ohio’s heated U.S. House

COLUMBUS (AP) — Republican congressmen won Ohio’s two hotly contested U.S. House races Tuesday, with one ousting a Democrat in a battle of incumbents and the other knocking off a challenger in a rematch.

In northeast Ohio, first-term Rep. Jim Renacci defeated Democratic Rep. Betty Sutton, whose district was eliminated as a result of redrawn political maps. It was one of the nation’s costliest, most closely watched House races and one of two matchups of House incumbents.

Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson defeated former U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson in eastern Ohio to win a second term. Democrats seeking to take back control of Congress had hoped to pick up the 6th District, which covers much of Ohio’s Appalachian region.

Outside groups had poured millions of dollars into television advertising in the two contests. Republicans counted on dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama and the economy to help them keep both seats.

Only a handful of Ohio’s 16 congressional districts were competitive this year after Republicans redrew the state’s political map to reflect population shifts and came up with districts that tilted heavily toward one party or the other. Because of slow population growth, Ohio lost two of its 18 congressional districts.

Republicans outnumber Democrats in Ohio’s delegation 13-5. The GOP was all but assured of keeping a majority of the state’s seats. Democrats were heavily favored in just four contests.