Jean Marie Schmidt

Birthdate: Nov. 29, 1951
Birth Place: Cincinnati, OH, United States
Residence: Miami Township, OH
Religion: Catholic
Gender: Female



Jean Schmidt was born in Cincinnati and is a lifelong resident of Clermont County, just east of Cincinnati. She earned a bachelor's in political science from the University of Cincinnati.

Schmidt was a schoolteacher and worked in family businesses including banking and real estate investments. She also worked on a 175-acre family farm and helped with the family's auto racing team.

She served as Miami Township trustee from 1990 to 2000, then won election to the Ohio House, serving from 2001 to 2004.

Schmidt won a special election to the U.S. House in 2005, replacing 12-year incumbent Republican Rep. Rob Portman. She won election to a full term in 2006.

Schmidt and her husband, Peter, have a daughter.


After winning House election four times starting with a 2005 special election, Jean Schmidt was ousted in Ohio's March 2012 GOP primary. Iraq War veteran and podiatrist Brad Wenstrup won the five-way contest, with Schmidt running second.

Wenstrup got strong support from southern Ohio's active tea party movement and from special political action committees. One radio ad poked fun at Schmidt for appearing to give President Barack Obama a peck on the cheek at a State of the Union address. She had arrived hours early to get a seat along the aisle where he was going to pass. Her office said she urged the president to support a uranium enrichment plant project in southern Ohio.

She had kept a lower profile in Washington in her last years and avoided the controversies that dogged her first three years in the House.

She opposed the 2010 health care reform bill and also spoke out against what she called wasteful spending plans by President Obama and the Democratic majority. However, while opposing the president's economic stimulus plans, Schmidt was noticed getting Obama's autograph at his speech to the joint session of Congress.

Schmidt's 2008 campaign was slowed briefly when a car struck her while she was jogging. She turned back from a fact-finding visit in Afghanistan after severe pain caused her to pass out while landing at a U.S. Air Force base in Germany. A hospital examination found she had two broken ribs and two fractured vertebrae that hadn't been detected earlier.

Schmidt joined Congress as its lowest-ranking member, but it didn't take her long to gain notoriety.

On the House floor in November 2005, she took a verbal shot at Rep. John Murtha, who had urged that U.S. troops be withdrawn from Iraq. Schmidt replied, "Cowards cut and run, Marines never do."

Democrats rose in loud protest at the insult to Murtha, a decorated Marine and Vietnam veteran. Schmidt quickly offered an apology to Murtha and withdrew her comments from the record, saying she wasn't aware of Murtha's Marine war record.

Schmidt had entered the House two months earlier after a tough special primary and election campaign in her seven-county district near Cincinnati.

"If you want to do something, nothing holds you back if you have that desire," said Schmidt, who describes herself as a "5-foot-2 female who is very focused."

Schmidt has completed dozens of marathons. Her focus helped her come back from an unsuccessful 2004 bid for the state Senate, when she lost the primary in a recount by 22 votes. She emerged from an 11-candidate GOP primary in June 2005 to narrowly win a nationally watched electoral battle against Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett, who criticized President George W. Bush as "a chicken hawk."

She succeeded seven-term U.S. Rep. Rob Portman, a Republican who vacated his 2nd District seat to become Bush's trade representative.

While Schmidt said she's normally "cool, calm and collected," she pumped her fists when vote counting was finished.

Schmidt served as a state representative from 2001 until 2004 and was active in Clermont County politics for more than three decades. After her unsuccessful state Senate bid she found her political career suddenly on hold. She spent more time with her family's small real estate investment business and spoke out against abortion.

During her comeback campaign Schmidt portrayed herself as a conservative candidate of family and moral values, against abortion and gay marriage.

Source: Associated Press

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