Steve Stivers helped Republicans regain control of the U.S. House after Republicans lost it in 2006 for the first time since 1994.

After Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy beat Stivers by 1 percentage point in the 15th District congressional race in 2008, Stivers defeated Kilroy in Tuesday’s election.

“The 15th (District) has always been one of the hottest, nastiest races in the country,” said Kevin Freeman, program manager for the Politics, Society and Law Scholars at Ohio State.

When Stivers took the Republican election party stage at 11:06 p.m. at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Columbus, he said, “After the last election, frankly, I wasn’t sure I wanted to run again.

“But I couldn’t stand by and later look my daughter in the eye and say I didn’t do anything to stop it.”

Stivers alluded to repealing the Obama administration’s health care legislation and turning around national debt.

At the Democratic convention at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Columbus, Kilroy told the crowd that it’s “time for us to have a gut-check here … about where our country is really going.”

Stivers served as state senator from January 2003 until December 2008.