Nov. 6, 2012 – 10:25 p.m.

113th Congress: Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio (2nd District)

Brad Wenstrup’s primary victory in March was the first stunner of the 2012 season. An anti-incumbent super PAC helped push him past Rep. Jean Schmidt, who wasn’t exactly in the bad graces of conservative activists, in a solidly Republican district.

A podiatrist, Wenstrup has never served as a legislator. He positions himself as a small-government social conservative — similar to Schmidt, but louder: “I won’t go to Washington and fade into the background,” he says on his campaign website. “I’ll stand up and speak out.”

Much of his public identity is tied to his military service. In 1998 he enlisted in the Army Reserve. Wenstrup deployed to Iraq in 2005 and was the chief of surgery at the Abu Ghraib complex (the prisoner abuse scandal had already passed), tending to both soldiers and detainees.

He caught the eye of GOP insiders while speaking about his service to groups back in Ohio. He was recruited for the Cincinnati mayoral race in 2009, then appointed to the city’s Board of Health by the man who beat him, Mark Mallory.

Wenstrup hopes for a seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee and its Health panel. He dislikes the 2010 health care law and wants “patient-centered solutions, such as the ability to keep insurance between jobs and states.”

With his military background, Armed Services could be a good fit as well, he says.

Wenstrup had a momentous 2012 on several fronts. Two months after the primary election, he got married.