Ed Brown ran unsuccessfully for the 12th District U.S. House seat in 1994 as a write-in candidate. He won the Democratic nomination in 1998 but was defeated in the general election by incumbent Republican Rep. John Kasich, 63 percent to 37 percent.
In 2000, he lost in the Democratic primary to Maryellen O'Shaughnessy. In 2002, he won the nomination but lost in the general election to incumbent Republican Rep. Pat Tiberi, 64 percent to 36 percent. Brown had no opposition in the 12th District for Ohio's March 2, 2004, primary election.