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Losing to Boehner, Winning America

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In late 2013, Tom Poetter entered the race for the seat that John Boehner had held for 12 terms in Ohio’s 8th District. This memoir depicts the campaign of 2014 from the inside, from Poetter’s perspective, of all that was won and lost in the race. Follow the candidate as he builds a promising campaign, despite the long odds and the inevitable outcome. Surely, one of the great realities and symbols of democracy in action is the spirited campaign of an outsider, connecting with citizens, and winning America one voter at a time.

"Losing to Boehner, Winning America" is an exceptionally candid, riveting account of a significant Congressional race. It is the personal story of a courageous idealist, Tom Poetter, who took on an impossible challenge. A central, important theme here is the value and necessity of challenging “safe” and in this case mostly “removed” candidates like Boehner. Such a task sometimes feels like it is not worth the sacrifice; but, ultimately, it is clearly the right and rewarding thing to do for citizens, the candidate, and democracy. This important, intensely honest book offers valuable insights about campaigns and elections, from those indifferent to the process, to candidates on the trail." —Pete Crossland, Professor of Political Science (Emeritus), Kent State University Former Member, Ohio House of Representatives, Past Congressional Candidate

"In 2014, I saw first hand the intense Congressional campaign between Tom Poetter and John Boehner. Tom is a deeply caring, enthusiastic, and gifted educator who is committed to improving his community. This incredibly detailed book allows one not only to see current political problems up close, but also to feel the daily frustration and isolation that Congressional candidates experience. "Losing to Boehner, Winning America" taught me about American politics in a way that no other book has. Each chapter provides a powerful anecdote, and the sum of the parts of the book demonstrates the complexity of American democracy in the 21st Century. This book is a must read for political junkies, for those who enjoy powerfully emotional narratives, and for believers in democracy." — Andrew Saultz, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

"As a friend of Tom’s and of his campaign, I enjoyed reading about the day-to-day challenges and experiences of running a congressional campaign from Tom’s point-of-view. Politics is a very serious business, but I appreciate the way that Tom uses humor to share some of the more colorful events. Fundraising and marketing a candidate for a congressional seat are not undertakings for the faint of heart, and they constitute a learning experience that can leave the loser, and sometimes even the winner, battered and bruised. Thank you Tom for writing about your campaign, and especially for the golden nuggets, those poignant stories about meeting great citizens on the campaign trail!" —Holli Morrish, Poetter’s First Campaign Manager —(October 2013–January 2014), Oxford, Ohio

"Losing to Boehner" captures the combined hope and hopelessness that exists in our severely gerrymandered nation today. "Losing" is a sneak peak into the efforts of one man seeking to serve, who ran headlong with courage into the buzz saws of gerrymandering and local politics, and lives to tell his story. —Mary Jo Hudson, former member of Ohio Governor Strickland's Cabinet, 2007-2011

"Politics. Many of us care about politics, but so few of us actually "do" democracy. This book will take you on a fast paced journey with Professor Thomas Poetter's unlikely and quixotic run for US House of Representatives to unseat Speaker, John Beohner. The book is filled with treasures: a glimpse of Americana in Southwest Ohio, the growing bonds of a talented campaign team, but most of all the riveting story of Poetter's transformation from political novice into a formidable, qualified candidate. After reading his account, you will be unable to look at any candidate -- whose views you share -- without greater empathy, and a strong desire to provide far greater support. —Dr. John Hurley, Cuyahoga Falls, OH

Thomas S. Poetter (B.A., M.Div., Ph.D.) is Professor of Curriculum Studies in the Department of Educational Leadership at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. He ran for the US House of Representatives in Ohio’s 8th District as a Democrat in 2014. "Losing to Boehner, Winning America" is Poetter’s 17th authored/edited book, which includes two other memoirs, "50 Christmases" (2014, Sourced Media Books) and "Teaching Again" (2012, Information Age Publishing), and a novel "The Education of Sam Sanders" (2006, Hamilton Books). To learn more, visit Tom’s website at

ISBN: 978-1-61740-418-4

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