Ohio SoS

As others have commented, I had hoped that Judge Brunner would have run and held the Ohio SoS gig.

And, it is true that SOME GOPers would have been after her scalp. But I don’t give that much credence because her predecessor was just so UTTERLY incompetent that the GOP BoE members around the state secretly approved of Brunner’s performance.

And it’s more than just the ideological purists who have issues with Fisher. Although its been a few years, the last time that Lee ran statewide, to call his performance “lackluster” is being generous. He is going to have to REALLY amp up his game if he hopes to win the general.Now I see that he has fired his campaign manager. Hmmn…

And although Judge Brunner’s fundraising has been dismal, she still seems to poll pretty close to Fisher vs. the GOP candidates. And when you look at her $$, remember that ODP chair Chris Redfern and Rev. Ted have completely shut her out of “insider” money, and at this point, that’s all there is. The roots (net or otherwise) are BROKE and burned out.

Having met and chatted with Judge Brunner, I feel that her inspiration for the Senate run was Sherrod Brown. I just sense many similarities in approach and attitude.

Also, many very loyal Dems in Ohio are just sick and tired of ODP dictating statewide candidate anointing. Some of their picks have been dreadful and the results have been BAD. Going back over the last 20 years, they’ve made some REAL blunders.

It is possible that 2010 in Ohio is a disaster in the making. But, in the end, I think not.

1. Ted will hold serve. Ohioans loath voting against an incumbent, barring Coingate level scandal.

2. Even if we drop the SoS (which I grasp is a Bad Thing) we might steal the Auditor  which means reapportionment stays in our hands. (But which is apparently going to be WASTED on this gentleman’s agreement nonsense of “we lose one, they lose one.”)

3. State Legislative redistricting requires that we control (pick two) Governorship (probably retain), State House (maybe retain) or pick up the State Senate (no WAY in HELL)

4. I expect that Fisher will win the primary but he’ll struggle in the fall in a race that we SHOULD win more easily than how it’s gonna turn out. If Fisher loses either race, Redfern faces a coup d’etat and probably walks the plank.

Sustainable agriculture

 Sometimes, we fight to win state and local elections for the Big Issues, sometimes, its to get people running our government who just “get it.”

For example:

The State of Ohio is going to be selling special vehicle license plates promoting SUSTAINABLE agriculture. I realize that this is not any sort of major policy initiative. But, it is still a GREAT idea.

And the funds raised will be used to support innovative programs in agriculture. Farming is still a HUGE economic force in our state (and the nation) (and the WORLD) and besides, we all gotta eat!

When my plates are ready to expire, I’m going order them for our (small, fuel efficient) cars. I hope that lots of people will join me.

More info here.

Check out the windmill on the image. I WANT ONE ON MY CAR!

Everything that you need to know about Ohio

Ohio is, in reality, a knife edge “purple” state. Voters here (as opposed to bloggers) are kitchen table Democrats (econ issues) but drift rightward on social issues and are extremely susceptible to crafty framing on wedge issues.

The world had to endure the last four years of hell because 118,000 Ohio voters put The Shrub back in office for two reasons. One was Tom Noe’s ill gotten booty (and it WAS MUCH more than what has been revealed) that he pumped into the GOP here and because they came out to vote for The Hate Amendment.

Recently, we have seen press speculation about Rep. Tim Ryan already working on running for Lt. Gov. with Ted Strickland and eventually becoming Gov.

Of course, there’s a back story. Let’s call it “Ted’s Grand Plan.”

Class, let’s review…

The Ohio House in the General Assembly is barely in Dem control but the Senate is an absolute disaster on every level and completely hopeless. We currently control the STATE redistricting board by one vote. If we lose either AG or SoS, (or the Ohio House) control would flip.

Richard Cordray would have been my choice for the US Senate but he agreed to Ted’s request to move into the state AG spot to replace the disgraced Marc Dann. (Thus eliminating one strong contender for the US Senate) Good move in terms of better government. He’ll do a great job.

You’ve gotta remember that Gov. Ted is all in for Lee Fisher as Senator, so with Cordray settled in at AG, that’s one less obstacle for Fisher.

Ryan was the other obstacle. So, Ted offers him the title of governor heir apparent. (Which is, in fact. all this discussion really means.) Ryan (and Ted) are taking the very long view.

Ryan’s current US House is District is one of four obscenely gerrymandered Dem “quarantine” districts that the GOP created at nearly 70% (or more!) Democratic turnout. This was to confine Dem voters to as few districts as possible in order to create as many GOP majority Districts as they could.

The strongly Dem districts are held by Marcy Kaptur, Dennis the Menace, Ryan and Marcia Fudge (formerly held by the late Tubbs-Jones) The latter district is the only one that will survive as such an overwhelmingly Dem district –on the grounds of minority representation.

Ohio will lose two House seats after the current census. Marcy, Dennis and Ryan’s districts will all have to lose some measure of Democratic majority in order to create more Dem majority districts, which cannot be done with these three districts running far too Democratic.

Which is what makes the specter of a Cafaro candidacy so nauseating. If that District becomes even vaguely competitive, she’ll blow it.

[Ed. Note: I would mention that that OH-14 is one of the most closely divided US House Districts to be represented by a GOPer. I say: “blow that sucker right off of the map!” Just eliminate it altogether.]

So here’s the plan: We control the Ohio redistricting process and threaten the GOP with… well… exactly what they did to us. And THAT is our leverage when, during US reapportionment, the Ohio House produces a Dem majority map and the Ohio Senate produces another one of their obscenities.

So had it not been for Judge Brunner’s decision to run for the US Senate, Ted had his plan all worked out. But now, if we lose control of Ohio SoS, the wheels completely come off. That’s why there is already a big hubub over who will run for SoS. Now the buzz is for Franklin County Commissioner Marilyn Brown. (Judge Brunner is supporting her, but I bet Ted was consulted.)

But if you look at the big picture, you can see why people are making these kinds of announcements which seem so far removed from when anything will actually happen.

OK, I’m going back to the real world now..

OH-11 There’s an election in Ohio today… sort of

Stephanie Tubbs-Jones was the Representative from OH-11 (in and around Cleveland, basically)until her sudden tragic death in August. The Cuyahoga County Democrats chose her former chief of staff, Marcia Fudge, from a very crowded field, to endorse in a special primary election, which was held on Oct 14.

After the county Party endorsed Fudge, a number of contenders dropped out and Fudge easily won the primary, for the special election to fill the remaining two months of this term. Today is that special election.She is the only candidate on the ballot. Her automatic win means that she will enjoy a two month edge in seniority over the other members of the new class of Reps.

And (of course) she already easily won the General Election on Nov 4 for the new, full term starting in January. It’s an 85% Democratic District.

But there is one big question looming. After the 2010 census, Ohio is going to lose two seats in the U.S. House. And, if they can hang on, the Democrats will control the State General Assembly House of Representatives and the Governorship.

OH-11 is the only U.S. District in Ohio which has a majority of African-American and other minorities. It is also BY FAR the most Democratic in the state under the gerrymandering of the GOP.

In the other urban areas in Ohio, the GOP has tried to carefully slice the suburbs and exurbia with pieces of the inner cities to create House Districts that they can control. (Don’t even talk to me about the General Assembly, especially the Senate…)

That is until 2006 when Zack Space was able to capture an open “scandal” seat in OH-18. And now this year, we have successfully flipped OH-16 and OH-01 and will probably capture OH-15.

So back to reapportionment. The GOP has been able to hold majority control of our “purple” state by creating seats that are solidly but NOT overwhelmingly Republican. On the other hand they have created Democratic seats (OH-09,OH-10, OH-11 and OH-17) which “quarantine” very large numbers of urban Democratic voters.

Will we be able to redraw the map, with two less seats and still be able to maintain Districts with such high concentration of urban Democratic voters?

Judge Peter Sikora for Ohio Supreme Court Justice

Diversity is about more than race or gender.

Judge Peter Sikora has faced obstacles, heartache and barriers beyond my darkest dreams.

But he has triumphed. He has already accomplished more in his life than a whole sphere of us bloggers. We’re all just slackers by comparison.

There are many reasons why reactionaries have complete control of the Ohio Supreme Court. One reason is that so many voters simply overlook the judicial campaigns.

If you’re going to be voting in Ohio today, PLEASE don’t make that mistake. VOTE for Judge Peter Sikora for Ohio Supreme Court Justice.

“Justice Sikora” …sounds great to me.

Ohio might not be decided Tuesday

Let me tell ya something: the Ohio Electoral college vote (20) and one or maybe even two of the U.S. House races might NOT be decided on Tuesday.

They will be so close that it will go the provisional ballots which will not be counted for two weeks.

You cannot believe how close the race is here… AGAIN.

Good things to know: In 2006, Governor Ted Strickland carried many, MANY precincts AND counties (ours, for example) that had been controlled by the GOP for 12 years. Under our screwy election laws, this means that we now control the deciding votes of all of those precinct poll workers and county boards of election. (Half Dems, half GOP, tie breaker to us.)

Because we now control the “presiding Judge” in all of the precincts that Ted carried, many people might get to vote OR might avoid being forced to vote a provisional ballot, who in the past, might have been hassled.

The big problem here has been that FAR too many people were discouraged from voting on Election Day OR were unnecessarily forced to vote with a provo ballot. Having Democrats making the deciding “on the spot” judgment, might reduce both of those problems.

HOWEVER, on the other hand, this election will attract MANY more would be voters than usual, and many of them are those who will run afoul of our idiotic GOP mandated I.D. and proof of residency rules.

If the outcome of the Ohio Electoral college vote is in doubt (or any U.S. House races) expect billable hours for GOP lawyers to be in the millions.

This is the first presidential election under Ohio’s new “no excuse needed” early and absentee ballot law. Early turnout has been steady. There was excellent turnout during our one week window in October when you could both register and vote on one trip to the board of elections. Then as the election has gotten closer, there have been mounting numbers of early voters.

In addition, we have a GREAT Democrat as Secretary of State. The GOP has filed a slew of court actions to try and manipulate the election, but they have LOST every time. So, in the end the forces of Truth and Goodness will prevail.

But it won’t be Tuesday night.

Which means, we might not have a decision on the Presidency OR the U.S. House for weeks, maybe more.

But having Judge Brunner in control of our state voting apparatus is a Good Thing. Her solid competence has stopped the GOP vote suppression effort, in it’s tracks, again and again.

OH-11: Fudge to take over Tubbs-Jones seat

Following the death of long time U.S. Representative Stephanie Tubbs-Jones, Democrat Marcia L. Fudge, (mayor of Warrensville Heights) won a special election primary on Tuesday. Fudge had previously served as Tubbs-Jones chief of staff. She defeated a field of eight other candidates (not counted four who dropped out.)  This means that she will serve out the remaining few weeks of Tubbs-Jones term in the House, thereby giving her seniority over anyone else elected to the House next month.

Located in the Cleveland area, OH-11 has the greatest concentration of urban minority voters of any present Ohio U.S. House seat.

In recent years, the GOP has completely controlled state government in Ohio, including having veto proof majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly.  This has allowed them to gerrymander both the Ohio U.S. House Districts and the seats in the state legislature.  In some cases (Cincinnati and Dayton, for example) the GOP was able to carefully split up urban areas and mix them in with upscale suburban and rural populations in order to produce U.S. House Districts that are securely but not overwhelmingly Republican.

As a result, eight of our Districts usually vote somewhere between 55 to 65% Republican, assuming a sitting, breathing and un-indicted incumbent. In 2006, the highest vote percentage for a Republican congresscritter was in OH-08 where tanning aficionado John Boehner  took 63.80% of the vote. On the other hand, we have three House Districts where the GOP has tried to “quarantine” as many Democratic voters as possible. This means that effectively, whoever gets the Democratic nomination is essentially unbeatable.

In 2006, in OH-09 Kaptur took 73.63%, in OH-17, Ryan got in 80.25%, and despite a serious primary challenge in OH-10, Kucinich got 66.41%. But the big winner was in OH-11 where Tubbs-Jones who took a whopping 83.44% of the vote.

But following the 2010 census, reapportionment is going to hit Ohio HARD. We are on track to lose two U.S. House sets out of our present eighteen.

If that process were held today, Democrats would have a one vote majority on the board that draws the districts for the state General Assembly .  GOP legislative leaders have bragged that under the present layout,  if Ohio votes an even 50-50 split, the GOP would control over 60% of the seats.  However, with a swing of just four seats this year, Democrats could gain control of the Ohio House which would vastly improve the functional balance of power in this state. At this point, the Ohio senate is hopeless both because of gerrymandering and an incompetent state campaign organization.

This is critical and has national implications, because the General Assembly draws the U.S. House districts, and the governor only has veto power over the plan.

IF, somehow, the Democrats are able to control the U.S. reapportionment process, I don’t see how we can afford to have three completely  whopperjawed Districts. This is particularly true given that two seats will have to be eliminated.

Which brings us back to the special election primary in OH-11, where just over 10,000 voters elected Ms. Fudge, out of 175,973 voters in the 2006 general election. Will her “seniority” result in special consideration during reapportionment? Will this House seat retain it’s present population make-up?

Local politics — national implications.

Report fromt the Buckeye State

In Ohio, the question is:

Are you better off than you were eight years ago?

Ohio is one of the great masterworks of gerrymandering, quietly piling up undue power for the GOP on a scale with few others.

If Ohio is a pinnacle of gerrymandering, OH-01 and OH-02 are the piece de la resistance, in that they take what ought to be an urban Democratic stronghold, and instead, by banking on lingering “good ole boy” voting trends among low income voters and by CAREFULLY slicing up Cinci and its burbs: Viólá!! They get control of BOTH OH-01 AND OH-02 when they should, at best, control one or the other.

As long as the GOP has an incumbent that is anything better than “still breathing” and not under federal indictment, both Districts should be walk overs.

But that’s where “Mean Jean” Schmidt enters –stage far, far right. The evangelical quasi-cons within the GOP thought that this was their district to elect a real wing-bat. And in 2004 in Ohio, we hit a real low point.

But then in 2006, the tide turned in Ohio. And Foul Mouth Evil Mean Jean, just SQUEEKED past Wulsin.

Unfortunately,this year, Wulsin faced a primary challenge from a candidate who was a wealthy and self funded recent GOP convert. He basically tried to “swiftboat” Wulsin with accusations against Vic that have been found to be baseless.

But for whatever reason, this rematch just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Polls show absolutely conflicting numbers on the OH-02 race. Having lived through a recent high target House race, I think people might be burned out. On our side, we’re fired up about Obama, but if you’re not, the alternative they’re stuck with is an OLD GEEZER, complete with drug addicted trophy wife (who inherited a BUNDLE.)

And there are some demographics where that just doesn’t fly. It is perfectly reasonable to assume that the Obama candidacy will boost the Cinci area AA vote. The big question is “By how much?” And what effect has more open and accessible voting had on low income voters spread across OH-01 and OH-02 and white ethnic groups? If there is an overall increase in AA and/or low income voters (especially young ones) are they connecting with Driehaus and/or Wulsin? What really sends the poll numbers swinging is statical changes in the definition of “likely voter.”

Translated: the ground game will be everything. There’s significant undecideds and lots of volatility.

I think that the deciding factor will be old fashioned door-to-door retail politics among the area’s poor neighborhoods, across all ethnic groups. There could be potentially a LOT of likely Obama voters if the door to door campaign is effective.

If there is even a modest drop off in lock step evangelical tin foil hat support for the GOP, then, combined with the stellar work of new Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, that could result in a 3-5 point swing in net voting JUST in changes within the pool of voters.

“O’Biden” could be just the ticket to have real coattails in some areas.

Palin was created to lock-in the very culturally conservative voters that were ALREADY likely to vote GOP. They may grouse during primary season, but come the general election, nothing will dissuade some of these people from voting GOP. But you have to contrast that with the Shrub’s ‘all time ever’ low poll numbers. There’s a friction between conservative voting tendencies vs. a guy who is pretty much REVILED throughout the country.

What’s an incumbent Congresscritter’s best campaign schtick? Why landing Air Force One, of course. But not this year. Oh, no. That’s the LAST thing that incumbent GOP Reps want this year is to see the Shrub show his face… unless of course, it’s an invitation only, thousand dollar a plate dinner.

If the fortunes of the GOP continue to slide toward oblivion (Think: Hoover) And if the Big Mo’ swings our way, convincing low income white male voters to go ahead and vote O’Bama, the GOP is sunk and we MIGHT flip anywhere from three to six seats in Ohio. In order: Boccieri, Kilroy, Driehaus, Wulsin or O’Niell, and Neuhardt.

Somehow, we need to distribute the video and audio of Ralph Stanley endorsing Obama to radio, TV stations and local blogs in Southern Ohio. If I were Driehaus, I would be working FEVERISHLY to get Ralph into the District to appear at a rally.

It’s all about Ohio… AGAIN.

The Buckeye State is going to provide the purest test of the “coattails” of the eventual Democratic  candidate for President. We elected our new Governor in 2006 and don’t have a U.S. Senate race until 2010. So this time, the ballot goes from President to U.S. House seats.

And, again, it’s all about Ohio.

Repeat after me kids: “No Republican can get to the White House unless they win Ohio.” I think that putting the Sick Days Initiative on the ballot is a master stroke. The polling numbers for this proposal are absolutely Off. The. Hook. Just as the disgusting Hate Amendment (anti-gay marriage) brought in enough evangelicals to reelect the Shrub in 2004, the Minimum Wage initiative helped a blue tide to sweep Ohio in 2006.

Our current U.S. House delegation is 11 GOP to 7 Democrats (gotta loves them Gerrymandering!) But we have the very real chance to flip three or maybe even FOUR seats. I don’t know if any other state right now with the meaningful chance to make such a HUGE reversal in their Congresscritters.

I thoroughly expect victories from:

OH-01 (Steve Dreihaus)

OH-15 Mary Jo Kilroy

OH-16 State Senator and USAF Major John Boccieri


OH-14 Judge (and pediatrics emergency room nurse) Bill O’Neill

Other seats will be entertaining as well. For example, who doesn’t look forward to what fresh hell Mean Jean Schmidt (OH-02) can bring down on herself and her GOP collaborators?

Here’s the big question:

What other state has a realistic chance to flip control of their state’s U.S. House delegation and to do so by such a large percentage of the seats in the state?

My sense is that we have seen little of the so called “Bradley effect” or “Wilder Effect” in the primaries, but I suspect that it will be much, much worse in the run up to the general election as the right wing smear machine pounds away at their target demographics, including lower income, lower education, white, male “NASCAR dads” (and moms.)

As I keep repeating, Democratic candidates MUST be really disciplined and stick to the “kitchen table” issues come heck or high water. Pocketbook truth trumps delusional scare tactics. They may have fear and bigotry on their side but we have reality.

Ohio Congressional Democrats Pre-Primary spending

This was a short reporting period covering 01/01/2008 through 02/13/2008. Incumbents are designated with an asterisk(*). Please see notes at bottom of chart.

If you don’t see a candidate listed here, it is because I could not find a report. Candidates who don’t raise or spend over $5,000 are not required to file reports. Reports from those below that limit are voluntary.

Name District
Cash on Hand
Debts or note
Steve Driehaus OH-01
Steve Black OH-02
see note
Victoria Wulsin OH-02
Jane Mitakides OH-03
$50,000 personal
Charlie Wilson* OH-06
Dave Woolever OH-07
See note  
Bill Conner OH-07
Debts $10,500.00
Sharen Neuhardt OH-07
Marcy Kaptur* OH-09
Barbara Ferris OH-10
Joe Cimperman OH-10
Tom O’Grady OH-10
Rosemary Palmer OH-10
$106,359.00 self
Dennis Kucinich* OH-10
Stephanie Tubbs Jones* OH-11
see note
Betty Sutton* OH-13
$13,000 PAC
Bill O’Neill OH-14
Mary Jo Kilroy OH-15
$62,464.80 see note
John Boccieri OH-16
Tim Ryan* OH-17
Zack Space* OH-18

1. Dave Woolever gave his campaign a loan of $5,000.00 and has $12,800 in other obligations.

2. Zack Space returned $4,800 in contributions. Of that total, $1,700 was from a contribution that was over limit and $3,100 was from two lobbyists.

3. Rosemary Palmer made loans to her campaign of $106,359.00

4. Mary Jo Kilroy loaned her campaign $35,000.00 and owes $27,464.80 in legal fees.

5. The filing from the campaign of Stephanie Tubbs Jones lists a disbursement of $3,500 noted as “FEC fine, audit 2005/2006 election cycle.” In addition, her report lists the cost of sending staffers to an FEC required compliance seminar. These are ordered by the FEC as a condition of settling campaign finance complaints. On May 3, 2004, her campaign settled a complaint from the FEC with a fine of $2,500.

It should also be noted that she spent has spent significant time and money campaigning on behalf of Senator Clinton as well as a $2,000 donation.

6. An FEC report states that Steve Black donated $195,000.00 to his campaign on 2/15/2008. However, this contribution is not reflected in his filing (closing date 2/1/308) which lists a balance of $58,320.00 from a loan he made to his campaign in June of last year.