SSP Daily Digest: 4/11


CT-Sen: William Tong, a state rep we mentioned once before, is supposedly gearing up to enter the Democratic primary. He was recently in DC “making the rounds,” and is reportedly trying to hire staff. I don’t really see how he has a chance, given that two big names are already in the race, but maybe he’s hoping for a good enough showing to improve his name rec with the political classes for a future run. (Tong’s only in his late 30s.)

NE-Sen: State Sen. Deb Fischer, a sorta dark-horse candidate given that two statewide officials are already running in the GOP primary, is getting encouragement from a one-time statewide office-holder: former Gov. Kay Orr, the first Republican woman to be elected governor in the United States. Interestingly, the man who stopped Orr in her bid for re-election in 1990 is the guy Fischer would take on: Ben Nelson.

OH-Sen: As promised early last week, Josh Mandel filed paperwork with the FEC to form a Senate campaign committee, but his mouthpiece insists that it’s not a formal statement of candidacy, just “a step.”

WI-Sen: GOP ex-Rep. Mark Neumann, on a two-race losing streak, is hoping that the third time’s the charm. After offering some recent hints, Neumann’s now explicitly saying he’s considering a run against Herb Kohl. He hasn’t offered any kind of timetable, except to suggest he’s kinda-sorta waiting on Rep. Paul Ryan, the guy who inherited his seat in the House. (I seriously doubt Ryan will run, given his prominence in the House GOP leadership.) Neumann was last seen losing the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary to none other than Scott Walker. Before that, he’d been out of politics for a long time, narrowly losing the 1998 Senate race to Russ Feingold. Neumann has some personal wealth he could throw into the race, though of course Kohl has a ton of money (and a history of self-funding).


NY-26: The cries of “splitters!” from the Judean People’s Front/People’s Front of Judea battle raging in upstate New York have just grown louder. The leaders of one teabagger group, TEA New York, issued an endorsement to Republican Jane Corwin, furious as they are over Crazy Jack Davis appropriating their good name and branding his ballot line the “Tea Party.” Meanwhile, another teabagger org, the Tea Party Coalition, gave their seal of approval to Davis, who denounced TEA NY as a tool of the GOP. Oh, it also helps that the leaders of the TPC are on the Davis payroll. But for the full flavor, I strongly encourage you to read Alan Bedenko’s hilarious summation of all this mishugas.

TX-26: Dianne Costa, a former GOP mayor of Highland Village (pop. 17K) has filed paperwork to run in the 26th CD, currently held by backbencher Michael Burgess. Odds are this is a Schrödinger’s Seat situation. (H/t FEC Kenobi)

Other Races:

Las Vegas Mayor: I’m borderline uncomfortable reporting polls from Strategic National, because their chief, John Yob, established himself as an untrustworthy partisan hack almost right out the gate. But in any event, Jon Ralston obtained a copy (warning: Word file) of a poll they just took in this race, showing Carolyn Goodman ahead of Chris Giunchigliani by a 48-34 spread. It’s not clear who if anyone the poll was taken for, but oddly enough, it tests some negative messages against both candidates – not something you usually see in a poll that gets released into the wild. It also features percentages that go into the thousandths, which means you know it’s extra-accurate.

Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: It’s sort of redundant to begin a bullet linking to 538 by saying “Nate Silver crunches the numbers,” because of course that’s what he’s just done. Anyhow, click the link for his look at whether the Wackiness in Waukesha points to incompetence or fraud (conclusion: “[I]f you want to allege that there’s a conspiracy afoot, the statistical evidence tends to work against you.) Craig Gilbert of the Journal Sentinel also thinks the new numbers are plausible. And for a more amusing tidbit that definitely tilts in favor of Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus being a boob, check out this entertaining story from Michigan Liberal.

Meanwhile, despite now facing very challenging odds (or perhaps because of it), JoAnne Kloppenburg has hired Marc Elias, the attorney who led Al Franken’s legal efforts in his recount battle. David Prosser is tapping Ben Ginsburg, who, in addition to representing Norm Coleman, played a big role in the Bush Florida recount team.


Voter Suppression: Huh – why is Jon Husted, Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State, trying to sound reasonable on the issue of voter ID? In the fact of pending legislation which would require voters to bring a government-issued photo ID with them to the polls, Husted instead is in favor of allowing people to use other forms of identification, like a utility bill or government-issued check. Given how deep VOTER FRAUD!!!!!!!1111 runs in the teabagger bloodstream, this is one issue (like immigration) on which any sensible Republican with higher ambitions would be wise to avoid, yet here Husted is sticking his neck out on it. What gives?

Redistricting Roundup:

Colorado: Colorado’s new congressional map is now not expected until April 21st, instead of April 14th, as originally planned. Republicans are whining about the delay, which is partly due to the fact that 2010 precinct-level data is still being churned out by the Secretary of State’s office. (The SoS claims they usually don’t get it out until June 30th… why should it take eight months to do this?) Anyhow, I don’t really understand why Republicans would be better off if Dems don’t use the 2010 data, unless they think Democrats are dumb enough to redistrict solely based on 2008 numbers. (They aren’t.) It doesn’t matter, though, since the GOP isn’t going to get their way here.

Connecticut: The redistricting process is (slowly) starting here in CT.

Florida: This is fiendish: Republicans in the legislature are pushing a constitutional amendment which would split Florida’s seven-judge Supreme Court into separate five-member civil and criminal divisions, and which would also shunt the three most senior members into the criminal section. That would give Rick Scott three new appointments, and whaddya know! the four most junior justices are all Charlie Crist appointees, while the longest-serving three were all elevated by Dem Gov. Lawton Chiles. This is appearing in the redistricting roundup because Dems are (rightly) accusing the GOP of trying to pack the court in advance of the inevitable legal battles over redistricting. In order for this measure to appear on the ballot before Nov. 2012, though, it’ll require the support of some Dems in the House. Let’s hope they aren’t stupid enough to fall for this.

Anyhow, the legislature is starting work on redistricting, but it sounds like they are in no hurry to get the job done (the above story might be part of the reason): House Speaker Dean Cannon told members who want to be on the redistricting committee to expect to work hard into next year. Of course, we do things quite a bit fast around here, so if you want to play around with the latest redistricting toy, check out this new online tool for remapping Florida.

Iowa: Today is the deadline for members of Iowa’s advisory commission to issue its recommendations on the state’s new set of maps, after which the lege has to give them an up-or-down vote. All signs point to passage, which would make Iowa the first state in the nation to complete its redistricting process.

Louisiana: Well, after a quick start with a flurry of plans getting subject to scrutiny, things have definitely gone off the rails in Louisiana. Five of the state’s six Republican congressmen sent a letter to Gov. Bobby Jindal asking the legislature to delay federal redistricting until next year – and Jindal apparently agrees with the idea. Daily Kingfish describes this as a big setback for Jindal, given that his party controls the entire lege. It is a little surprising to me that one man, Rep. Charles Boustany, apparently has the power (and the allies in the state Senate) to mess with Jindal like this, but perhaps the governor simply thinks he can steamroll Boustany after the November elections, assuming Republicans gain more seats.

New Jersey: The fallout continues: Three NJ legislators have announced they will move into new districts so that they can run again this fall, and apparently all of them are being welcomed to do so by their own parties. Of course, it’s still early, and some people will definitely get squeezed out by the end.

Ohio: This is actually the same link at the voter suppression story above, but it contains a throw-away line at the end in which SoS Jon Husted says congressional districts need to be re-drawn by Sept. 1st in order for Ohio to hold its primary by March 2012. (Otherwise it would have to get moved – to May, according to the article, but if the process really drags on, who knows how late things could get shifted.)

Sacramento: You can redistrict the city of Sacramento, California in this online game.

Virginia: Played for fools – that’s what Virginia House Democrats are. GOP Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling is praising the Republican gerrymander of the state House, which passed with near-total Dem support in that body, despite representing a deliberate plan to fuck over Democrats, as having “strong bipartisan support.” At the same time, he’s slamming the Dem state Senate map, which GOPers had the good sense to vote against en masse, as some kind of unholy gerrymander. Duh! Bolling is trying to goad the lege into adopting maps produced by Gov. Bob McDonnell’s commission (not gonna happen), but he’s also suggesting that McDonnell could “substitute” the commission’s maps for whatever the legislature passes. I admit I’m not entirely clear on how that would work – a particularly egregious use of the line item veto, or something along those lines? Seems risky.

Of course, all of this is predicated on bipartisan incumbent-protection agreement which includes the federal map as well. But is this deal unraveling? Dem state Sen. Janet Howell, who created the senate map, says she “doubts” her body’s congressional map will match the House’s, which was released just last week (the Janis plan). I’m surprised to hear this, because I thought a clear understanding had been worked out between the two houses, but I suppose there is still some negotiation left to be done over the federal map.

Ohio Two-Ways: Fair Districts & GOP-Friendly

This diary presents two different flavors of Ohio maps: Fair Districts (a la Florida) and GOP-Friendly. Ohio doesn’t have partisan data in the App, so these maps represent my best guesses. I definitely consider these maps to be more discussion-starters about maps under the newly-released 2010 data than polished proposals. In the comments, please feel free to share your own maps or information about local partisan leanings that needs to be taken into account.

Fair Districts

Ohio’s geography doesn’t lend itself to “must draw” fair-districts as much as Florida’s does, but I think this is a pretty good stab at it. All three of the counties big enough to support a single district have them, and the rest of the districts are reasonably compact. There are 13 counties statewide split between two or more districts. Columbus is the only incorporated locality split between districts. This is mostly because Columbus has some bizarrely intricate boundaries that are hard to follow. I ended up using the Scioto River as my boundary guide instead of city limits.

If my ratings are to be trusted (and they probably aren’t), this would be a 9 R – 7 D map. VRA note: OH-15 is a plurality African American district, 47.0% VAP.

GOP Friendly

I used the first map as a base, which is probably not the best idea. But I like good-government maps, and I wanted to try to find a GOP map that conformed at least somewhat to good-government principles. All changes described are relative to the Fair Districts map above.

The basic idea here is to pair up Turner and Austria in a Dayton-based district and to pair up Fudge and Kucinich in a Cleveland-based district. Columbus also gets a Democratic vote sink, which means that this map calls for the Republicans to take the hit on both seats. That might not sound “GOP-Friendly”, but they’re maxed out in Ohio post-2010. I think 11-5 is not a bad target for them.

So what’s changed?

First, Cincinnati. Hamilton County is about 80k too many people for a district. In my Fair Districts map, that 80k were suburban whites added to Boehner’s district. In my GOP-Friendly map, that 80k is a plurality-African-American strip along the Ohio River, mainly in downtown Cincinnati, added to Schmidt’s district. Schmidt might not be able to carry a district that incorporates that part of Hamilton. But most Republicans should be able to, so I think worst case scenario is that they lose that district for a cycle. I’ve also wrapped Boehner’s district around Dayton again, so that he has more of his current constituents.

Second, the northwest. Kaptur’s (under this map) OH-08 has been stretched eastwards, pulling OH-07 and OH-09 north. OH-07 and OH-09 have also swapped some territory. I’m pretty sure under the Fair Districts maps the district that Latta lives in has more of Jordan’s old constituents and vice versa. I tried to rectify that here.

Third, the northeast. There are some major changes here. OH-08 and OH-09 have subsumed Lorain County. This has push OH-14 south and east, where it picks up all of Cuyahoga outside of OH-15 and plunges down into Summitt County and (re)gains Sutton as its incumbent. OH-12 becomes a dumbbell-shaped district linking Akron and Youngstown. It does some swapping with the neighboring OH 16 and OH 11 to get incumbents’ residences right. OH-13 drops out of Lorain and picks up Ashland, shoring it up relative to the Fair Districts map. I would be worried as a Republican about LaTourette, because without partisan data, I’m not sure were he stands in that district.

Fourth, the southwest. Johnson’s district drops Youngstown, to his relief. It stretches south into OH-04 (which went into Cincinnati). It still needs to grow though, so it pushes OH-10 north. This is convenient, because OH-10 needed to come north so that Gibbs would live in it. (I think he lives in Holmes County, but I’m not sure.)

Lastly, Columbus. This probably ought to change, since if the Republicans do create a Democratic vote sink here, they’ll want it to be the best one possible. But without partisan data by precinct, I have no idea what that looks like. If the Republicans aren’t willing to concede a distrct in Columbus (which seems likely, if foolhardy), I think they should probably look at splitting Franklin four ways. Again, without partisan data (and without knowing where exactly Stivers lives), it’s hard to say what that should look like. But here’s a possibility:

CT, OH, and PA: Population by CD

Today is the flipside of yesterday’s California release: states with stagnant populations and a bunch of old white people. We’ll start with Connecticut, which is certainly characterized by stability: it easily retained five seats, not being particularly near either the cusp of gaining or losing, and even its five districts are pretty close to in balance with each other. Its target is 714,819, up from 681K in 2000.

District Population Deviation
CT-01 710,951 (3,868)
CT-02 729,771 14,952
CT-03 712,339 (2,480)
CT-04 706,740 (8,079)
CT-05 714,296 (523)
Total: 3,574,097

Ohio is one of only a couple states to lose two seats, taking it from 18 down to 16. Its new target is 721,032, up from about 631K in 2000. The state as a whole didn’t lose population (gaining 183,364), but seven of its districts did (the 1st, 5th, 6th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 17th). The Columbus area was the only part of the state that seemed to experience robust growth; in fact, despite the state losing two seats, the 12th (a swing district held by GOPer Pat Tiberi) will actually need to shed population… much of the state’s growth is accounted for in the growth in the 12th.

The numbers today don’t really change the overall redistricting equation: one of the northeastern Ohio Democrats is clearly going to have to go, and while the Akron-area 13th (held by Betty Sutton) actually gained some population unlike its neighbors, it may be the one that gets dissected simply by virtue of being in the very middle (with the 9th pressuring it from the west, the 10th and 11th from the north, and the 17th from the east). As for which GOPer gets cut, I’d expected it to be one of Bill Johnson (in the 6th) or Bob Gibbs (in the 18th), but the 18th, despite its mostly rural, Appalachian flavor, seemed to hang in there better than expected, population-wise. Now I’m wondering if Bob Latta’s 5th in the rural northwest, which is going to be pressured by the 9th to its north and the 4th to its east, may be a more natural target. Or here’s another possibility (made likelier by the possibility that the local GOP might like rid themselves of a liability in the form of Jean Schmidt): the 2nd might be targeted, despite its decent numbers, as both the 1st to its west and the 6th to its east need to gain a ton of people (and extending the 1st east into red, suburban Clermont County would make GOPer Steve Chabot’s life easier).

District Population Deviation
OH-01 598,699 (122,333)
OH-02 673,873 (47,159)
OH-03 640,899 (80,133)
OH-04 632,771 (88,261)
OH-05 627,799 (93,233)
OH-06 623,742 (97,290)
OH-07 683,371 (37,661)
OH-08 663,644 (57,388)
OH-09 619,010 (102,022)
OH-10 599,205 (121,827)
OH-11 540,432 (180,600)
OH-12 756,303 35,271
OH-13 649,102 (71,930)
OH-14 648,128 (72,904)
OH-15 681,557 (39,475)
OH-16 644,691 (76,341)
OH-17 600,111 (120,921)
OH-18 653,167 (67,865)
Total: 11,536,504

Pennsylvania’s target is 705,688 based on the drop from 19 to 18 seats, up from about 646K in 2000. The 2nd, 3rd, 12th, and 14th all lost population. I’d really recommend looking at the Census Bureau’s interactive map of Pennsylvania, as it shows exactly what’s going on: the eastern half of the state gained a bit, while nearly every county in the state’s western half outright lost population. In fact, there were enough gains in the east that four districts wind up needing to shed population: the 6th and 15th in the Philadelphia suburbs/exurbs, and the more rural, Pennsylvania Dutch-flavored 16th and 19th. These are all Republican-held districts, but these are all districts that moved sharply in the Dem direction from 2004 to 2008, while on the other hand, the shrinking western districts are Democratic areas but ones where the overall trend has been away from the Dems. (Interestingly, two cities that over recent decades came to symbolize dead northeastern industrial centers, Allentown and Reading, are actually rebounding, gaining around 10,000 people each and helping to grow the 15th and 16th respectively. Much of the growth in those two cities, though, as well as the small growth experienced in Philadelphia, is Hispanic.)

With the GOP in control of the redistricting process in Pennsylvania and the population losses heavily concentrated in the Pittsburgh area, it looks like the axe is going to fall heavily on fairly-new Dem Mark Critz in the odd-shaped 12th, which was designed to be a friendly district for John Murtha cobbling together Cambria County with the Dem-friendly parts of Pittsburgh’s collar counties but is barely holding onto its Dem roots these days. Mike Doyle’s 14th (in Pittsburgh proper), despite being the biggest population loser, is probably going to stay intact, as Republicans will need to concede at least one blue vote sink in the southwest (and probably get bluer, as it’ll need to expand into the dead steel towns of the Mon Valley to its south, currently the bluest part of the 12th).

If Critz wants to stick around, he’s likely to find himself either fighting Jason Altmire in a primary in the 4th or Tim Murphy in a general in the 18th (although Critz has enough of a Johnstown-area base that he might be able to pull out an upset in whatever district Johnstown winds up in, unless the GOP decides that the 9th, in the central part of the state, is red enough to safely absorb Johnstown).

District Population Deviation
PA-01 655,146 (50,542)
PA-02 630,277 (75,411)
PA-03 640,356 (65,332)
PA-04 647,418 (58,270)
PA-05 651,762 (53,926)
PA-06 726,465 20,777
PA-07 673,623 (32,065)
PA-08 672,685 (33,003)
PA-09 666,810 (38,878)
PA-10 669,257 (36,431)
PA-11 687,860 (17,828)
PA-12 612,384 (93,304)
PA-13 674,188 (31,500)
PA-14 584,493 (121,195)
PA-15 721,828 16,140
PA-16 723,977 18,289
PA-17 681,835 (23,853)
PA-18 653,385 (52,303)
PA-19 728,630 22,942
Total: 12,702,379

Safe 11-5 GOP in Ohio

I have done a couple things I’ve never seen anywhere else in an Ohio map.  I’m not sure if it’s good or bad.

Here’s the state:


Let’s start in the Southwest


1st-yellow: Steve Chabot

Chabot loses some bluer precincts to the east and expands into the suburbs, probably making this Likely R rather than Toss-Up.  Lean R in a bad year like ’08.  

2nd-green: Jean Schmidt

Schmidt’s district is safe for anybody but her.  I don’t really think any Democrat could hold it, so if she goes down and is replaced by someone with the same voting record but not as crazy, the GOP shouldn’t mind.  They will hold this 8 of the 10 years, at least.  Plus, endangering her is the only way to make Chabot safe.

3rd-tan: Mike Turner

Turner loses a rural county and adds some suburbs.  If anything, it gets a little bit safer.


8th-red: John Boehner

The Speaker must take on some new territory.  He might live out of the district, in which case he can swap a bit of territory with Chabot for no partisan effect.  Anyone worried about a defeat, incumbents don’t lose in R+10 districts without a huge scandal or gaffe (see Sali, Bill)

4th-yellow: Jim Jordan

The RSC chair swaps some rural counties.  That’s basically it.  Except he doesn’t really live in the district.  I should have looked into that before I drew the map.  However, who is going to challenge him and win?  He can run in the 4th anyways.

5th-turquoise: Bob Latta

Latta takes on the (swingy? lean r? someone from ohio inform me) Toledo suburbs and some other swingy areas.  It’s probably only Lean R rather than Likely, but it would be an uphill climb for any Democrat.


I created the Columbus Dem vote sink many people agree should exist, most likely eliminating Steve Stivers, the most moderate Ohio GOPer anyways.

7th: Steve Austria-gray

Austria takes on more of the Columbus suburbs and the whiter parts of Columbus.  He’s still safe.

15th: Columbus–area Democrat–salmon

It’s safe for our side, and makes the surrounding districts safe as well.

12th: Pat Tiberi-light blue

Tiberi’s district gets much safer.  He could face a primary challenge I guess, or he’ll tack right a bit.


Then there’s the 6th: Bill Johnson-pink in zoomed in maps, blue in statewide map

Johnson gets much safer with the elimination of the rest of Mahoning County.  He still has Athens in the district, though.

16th: Jim Renacci-orange

Renacci loses inner-city Canton, something else I’ve never seen.  This should make him safe, with an already R-tilting district.

This sets up the incredibly ugly:

13th: Tim Ryan-bright green

Taking in industrial areas along Lake Erie, Democratic Mahoning and Warren Counties, inner-city Canton, Alliance, and the most populated parts of Portage County, Ryan has an incredible gerrymander going for him.  It’s ugly, but makes Kucinich’s elimination possible and makes Renacci safe.

14th: Steven LaTourette-brick

I’d be concerned about replacing him in a completely 50 50 district.  He’s probably safe, but a successor might not be.

How was this all possible?


By using water contiguity in Lake Erie.

9th: Marcy Kaptur-gold

Taking in Toledo, Lorain County, and Western Cuyahoga, Kaptur’s new district is an uber-Dem vote sink.  She could be primaried by Kucinich, as this district is more liberal with less of a Toledo influence in the Democratic primary, and he probably doesn’t have anywhere else to go.

10th: Betty Sutton-pale pink

Sutton takes in much of Kucinich’s Cleveland Suburbs, the Democratic parts of Summit County, and some exurbs in between for a safe district that is shaped similarly to her own but contains some new territory.

11th: Marcia Fudge-puke

A fitting color for a representative who tried to weaken ethics laws.  Fudge’s district is slightly under 50% Black, which could be tweaked if it looked uglier (possibly)

And there you have it!

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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Ohio Redistricting 2012 – 13-3 GOP

Alot of people have pointed out that House losses in Ohio shouldn’t be a big deal because the GOP has already gerrymandered Ohio to their maximum advantage.

However, what that fails to take into context is that Ohio is about to lose 2 of its 18 seats once the census figures are published, which gives the GOP an opportunity to take a 13-5 House advantage to 13-3. Below are some scenarios that will enable them to accomplish that:

Lost Seat #1: Shore up Jim Renacci, combine Tim Ryan and Betty Sutton.

This scenario seems like the easiest call for the Republicans. Currently Renacci was just elected to OH-16 which contains Stark (Canton/Massillon), Wayne (Wooster), Medina (Cleveland exurbs), and Ashland (rural, very conservative) Counties.

This district was drawn in 2000 to protect GOP moderate stalwart Ralph Regula who lived in the Canton area. Canton & Stark County also happen to be the most Dem friendly parts of the district as currently constructed, voting for both Kerry and Obama in 2004 & 2008. With Renacci’s home in Wadsworth (Medina County), it will be easy for Republicans to combine parts of the current OH-10, 13, 16, 17 & 18 into two districts.

Renacci’s new district will shift north and west, abandoning Stark County in the process by swallowing the Medina & Cuyahoga County portions of OH-13 (these suburbs: Strongsville, North Royalton & Brecksville are the most reliably GOP leaning areas of Dem-heavy Cuyahoga County), the eastern Lorain County portion of 13 (Avon, Avon Lake, North Ridgeville: fast growing GOP suburbs) and the western edge of OH-10 (Bay Village, Rocky River, Westlake). Whatever portions of Wayne & Ashland counties in the southern part of his current district that won’t fit population-wise can be eaten up by Gibbs in present-day OH-18.

That leaves a new Democratic district comprised of Akron, Canton & Youngstown that draws Sutton’s home in Copley (just outside Akron) and Ryan’s home in Niles (just outside Youngstown) into the same district and forces a primary between the two most promising congressional Dems in Ohio. Taking one of these two out will be a major boon to the GOP by eliminating or weakening the strongest challengers to Portman or Kasich in 2014 and 2016.

Lost Seat #2: This is where it gets harder for the GOP to come up with another lost Dem seat. The possibilities in order of likelihood:

1. With Renacci squeezing Kucinich to the west, the Republicans could draw a new minority-majority district in Cleveland by moving Fudge and Kucinich into the same district. This would involve LaTourette scraping off the eastern edge of Fudge’s territory. The new map would basically be the city of Cleveland + inner ring suburbs.

In this situation, Kucinich would likely retire or move to the suburbs to challenge Renacci where he would lose in an R+ district.

2. Split up Columbus 3 ways. Columbus presents a problem for Republicans in the state. It is the area that is experiencing the most population growth in the state, and it is also the area that is trending the strongest towards Democrats.

Currently OH-12 (Tibieri) and OH-15 (Stivers) represent the city by drawing in as much as they can from the sparsely populated surrounding counties. Even here, both districts are perpetually threatened, with Kilroy (D) holding OH-15 for one term before her defeat this year. OH-12 is actually the bluer of the two Columbus districts, but Dems can never seem to recruit the right candidate to beat Tibieri.

To stave off flipping one of these seats permanently to Team Blue, the GOP could find a way to give Gibbs or Turner a slice of the Columbus pie and keep Dem votes divided.

3. The last scenario I could see happening doesn’t get the GOP to 13-3, but could be a prudent strategic move for them in SW Ohio.

By eliminating OH-2 (Schmidt), they could expand Chabot’s district to the east and leave him less vulnerable to a Democratic wave year like 2008. Turner and Johnson (OH-6)would take what was left of Mean Jean’s territory and help shore up their own re-election hopes.

Schmidt’s constant underperformance is likely a drag on RCCC funds as they constantly have to defend the 2nd most Republican seat in Ohio due to the relative unpopularity of Ms. Schmidt.

These are just a few scenarios and I’m sure I’m missing others. Another possibility would be to force Marcy Kaptur and Bob Latta into a showdown, but Kapur’s seat is already so gerrymandered, I’m not sure how you draw in Toledo & the islands without strengthening the Dems.

Any thoughts?

OH St.-House: Campaigns Ramping Up

[cross-posted at – SSP has been paying a lot of attention to the Ohio House and Ohio redistricting, so we hope the latest campaign news is of interest to folks here.]

Part 1 of 2:

A relative handful of Ohio House contests offer Democrats an opportunity to unpack one of the worst GOP gerrymanders in the country, and they offer Republicans a chance to fine-tune their handiwork and wipe away the Democratic gains since 2006.

Last week was a busy one in the campaign to defend the Democrats' narrow majority, underscoring the two-month sprint that's all that remains between now and Election Day.

Democratic House Speaker Armond Budish started things off on a confident note, predicting that his Caucus’ successful legislative effort on job creation and other campaign advantages would allow House Democrats to localize their races and survive a tough climate:

Democrats will do well against the odds based on the strength of a significant fundraising advantage of roughly 3-to-1 and a strong ground game focused on door-to-door campaigning, he said.

“State rep races are local and even though you all know there is a strong headwind this year, we will keep and expand the Democratic majority in the House because we have a strong message of job creation,” Budish said. The Beachwood Democrat cited a film tax credit, a renewal of the Third Frontier program and a $100 million expansion of the Venture Capital Fund as job-creating efforts pushed by Democrats.

When told that GOP leaders were already predicting victory in the chamber, Budish gave a characteristically pithy response:

“At the local level, Ohioans understand that we have fought for them, and we've put their interest first,” Budish said. “We're hearing that people want common-sense solutions. They don't want extreme ideology.”

Talking to reporters, Budish gave the exact measurements of the windows in the speaker's office, suggesting that Minority Leader William G. Batchelder could now stop measuring the curtains and “maybe he can spend time working with us on policy for a change.”

That same day, the Dayton Daily News profiled two districts where observers feel Democrats remain on the offensive:

Republican Seth Morgan holds the 36th District seat but is not seeking re-election because he ran for the GOP nomination for auditor and lost. Democrat Carl Fisher, Jr., a Huber Heights school board member, is running against Republican Michael Henne of Clayton, an insurance agency co-owner.

Henne was a GOP “second choice” who won the nomination after frontrunner Joe Ellis had a bar fight, Budish said.

The 72nd is more competitive but Republican incumbent Ross McGregor, who’s seeking re-election, won in 2006 and 2008, great years for Democrats.

Democrat Gregory Krouse, a teacher and president of the Springfield Education Association, is challenging McGregor.

Winning either of these districts would complicate GOP electoral math, but it would also strongly suggest Democrats are doing well enough statewide to retain their majority.

Finally, as if to reinforce Speaker Budish’s original point, Democrats got two pieces of good news for their candidates. First, the GOP nominee in the Columbus-based 25th district withdrew from the race – leaving Democratic nominee Michael Stinziano unopposed this November. Stinziano was already considered the favorite in this race, but one fewer open seat to worry about is always good news for the defending party.

Second, the AFL-CIO has announced the start of its own Get Out the Vote operation targeting 650,000 union households in Ohio:

The Ohio union has established 16 call centers in cities across the state from which voluteers talk nightly with prospective voters about union-friendly candidates. Ohio AFL-CIO, which represents 650,000 workers from 1,600 local unions, also is targeting direct mail and worksite leafleting to union households and members.

Focused on helping the Democrats’ statewide ticket, this effort is also likely to boost down-ticket Democrats in vote-rich swing areas of the state – exactly the areas where swing legislative districts tend to be concentrated.

Part 2 of this series will look at the Democratic House Caucus’ field effort.

Ohio GOP Gerrymander: 9-5-2 Republican map (UPDATE: 9-6-1 see below)

This is a scenario if Republicans were to win the state House, this is a probable map since they already control the State Senate. (I’m pretty sure the legislature does this, or is it a commission?)

UPDATE: New proposed Columbus map in the comments (sorry mods if its too big!!), creating a safe Columbus (60%+ Obama, 200,000 African Americans) district and a likely Republican suburb district.

Cincinatti area:



Hamilton, Cincinatti suburbs

Steve Driehaus (D)*

Adds more Republican Butler County (avoiding West Chester, where Boehner lives) and loses all of the heavily black parts of Cincinatti (much like how Columbus’ district are already). Driehaus is D.O.A here, but he could run in the 3rd district, where the black parts of Cincinatti are in Jean Schmidt’s district. Eitherway, this district is a Republican one.


Middletown, Troy, West Chester

John Boehner (R)

Warps around Dayton, but still extremely Republican. Minority (or Majority) Leader Boehner is safe.


Most of Cincinatti, Portsmouth

Jean Schmidt (R)

Schmidt is screwed. That’s putting it nicely. If she only ecks out single-digit wins in an extremely conservative district, she won’t win here with all the new African-Americans in the district. I’m guessing Steve Dreihaus would run here, and the Republican gerrymander actually helps him surprisingly.



Dayton, Kettering, Springfield

Michael Turner (R)

Turner keeps his Dayton-area base and expands to Springfield via  Fairborn in Greene County. Also takes Mary Jo Kilroy’s  Madison and Union counties. Safe.


Lancaster, Beavercreek, Zanesville

Steve Austria (R)

Austria’s district expands to take in two of Zack Space’s most visible cities, Zanesville and Chillicothe.


Western Columbus and suburbs Most of Columbus

Mary Jo Kilroy (D)

Kilroy is probably slightly more safer, as ultra-conservative Union and Madison counties are out of her district and is entirely within Franklin County. Her race is still a toss-up to me though. Yeah nevermind, by making Kilroy safe, we also keep Pat Tiberi safe as well, which helps the GOP actually. Obama probably took in 64% in this district, so Kilroy can live another day. Now with exactly 200,161 African Americans!


Eastern Columbus, Delaware, Mount Vernon North and Eastern Columbus suburbs

Pat Tiberi (R)

What do you get when you combine extremely Republican counties outside of Columbus and the African-American heavy parts of Columbus? A swing district, like this one. Slightly a bit more African-American, Tiberi is still safe. Centered around Columbus makes Tiberi a whole lot safer, even if it helps another Democrat.


Lima, Findlay, Defiance

Jim Jordan (R)

Still the most conservative district in Ohio. Nothing to see here.


Bowling Green, Mansfield, Fremont

Bob Latta (R)

Mostly unchanged but expands into the Mansfield-area. Safe.


Toledo, Lorain, part of Elyria

Marcy Kaptur (D)

Expands to take in Lorain and parts of Elyria, safe for Kaptur.


Massilion, Kent, part of Elyria

Betty Sutton (D)

This district takes in Medina County and loses most of Akron. If this district was to be implemented, Sutton would probably lose this year.  Republican pickup.


Canton, Athens, New Philadelphia

Zack Space (D) vs John Boccieri (D) vs Charlie Wilson? (D)

WesternEastern Ohio’s population is dropping…fast. This district goes from Canton and swirvs its way down to Athens. Zack Space and John Boccieri both live here, but Charlie Wilson lives just right outside the boundaries but this area is still his. Who would win here? I’m guessing Wilson, but if he doesn’t run here i’d go with Space. Sorry John.


Youngstown, Steubenville, Warren

Tim Ryan (D) vs Charlie Wilson? (D)

This is where Charlie Wilson lives but most of this area is represented by Tim Ryan. Ryan is moderate enough for this district, so Wilson is in a predictament here.


Western Cleveland, part of Elyria

Dennis Kucinich (D)

Mostly the same but goes into Lorain County to pickup votes.


Eastern Cleveland, most of Akron

Marcia Fudge (D)

Here’s the district which bugged me the most. I’m not sure if it HAS to be majority-black, but i kept it that way anyways. stretches into Akron to take in African-American votes.


Mentor, Ashtabula, part of Akron

Steven LaTourette (R)

Slightly more Democratic due to the presence of Akron. LaTourette is still safe though.

More pictures:




OH-01, OH-02, OH-04, OH-05, OH-07, OH-08, OH-09, OH-11,OH-16: Republican Seats

OH-03 (if Schmidt runs): Tossup seats

OH-10, OH-12, OH-13, OH-14, OH-15: Democratic Seats

6 Democratic Seats

1 Tossup seats

9 Republican Seats

If Schmidt doesn’t run:

10 Republican Seats

6 Democratic Seats

First redistricting diary, tell me what you think 🙂 (And no, i am not and will not do California. As much as i love my state, its too large and the precincts are annoying…Yes i’m talking to you Santa Clara and Kern Counties.)

Ohio Gerrymandered Both Ways

I spent the better part of the last 10 days diligently working on an exhaustive map of California (curse you, microscopic precincts of Contra Costa County!) using a method I don’t believe anyone on here has tried yet. And wouldn’t you know it, when I was just finishing up San Diego this morning, Safari decided it was going to quit and my entire map died with it. Too upset to go all the way back to CA-01 and start again, I decided I was going to post a diary today anyway, Safari-be-damned. So here are two maps of Ohio, one a Republican gerrymander and the other a Democratic gerrymander, that I drew a while ago but never got around to posting. Enjoy, let me know what you think, and I promise you I’ll get that California one up eventually!

Note before I begin: I’ve never been to Ohio, so I’m a bit of a rookie when it comes to the political niceties of the state. If I’m missing anything obvious, please let me know.

Ohio Republican Map: The “Four-Steve Plan”

Southwest Ohio and Cincinnati

OH-01 (Blue): Steve Driehaus (D) vs. Steve Chabot (R)

This district is drawn to help Chabot regain and hold his old seat in Congress. It’s still Cincy-based but gains a good portion of deep-red exurban Butler County from the current OH-08, and loses some of its inner-city portions. This configuration is probably R+1 or 2. Driehaus trails in the polls as it is, and this plan has a nasty surprise for him, as 15,000 of the black voters who swept him into office are now constituents of….

OH-02 (Green): Jean Schmidt (R)

This district, which only gave 40% of the vote to Obama, was hoarding Republican votes as it was but I didn’t want to hurt the notoriously weak Schmidt too much. Still, she’s capable of taking on the aforementioned 15,000 black votes, and also adds a little bit more of rural Southern Ohio.

OH-03 (Purple): Mike Turner (R)

Turner and Steve Austria inconveniently chose to live about 20 miles from each other, forcing the former’s district to stretch quite a bit and eat up some of Zack Space’s territory (his district is a casualty of this map.) Montgomery County (Dayton) voted for Obama and is the population center of this district, but OH-08 gets all the black precincts. Thus, Turner’s R+5 district is now R+9, with McCain getting 55%.

Columbus Area

OH-04 (Red): Jim Jordan (R)

Franklin County, home of Columbus, is fast-growing and trending more Democratic by the day. It gave 60% of its votes to Obama, but luckily for Republicans is an island of an ocean of conservative Ohio goodness. Thus, part of the city is sliced off and is attached Texas-style to the 60% McCain counties that border Indiana. No idea what the PVI is because I don’t know the precinct-level data for Franklin, but Jordan’s safe.

OH-07 (Grey): Steve Austria (R)

Austria takes in the sparsely populated and more moderate south of Franklin County, and holds onto most of his old district.  This is the swingiest of the four Columbus-area seats, but PVI-wise its probably not too different from Austria’s current 54% McCain seat.

OH-08 (Indigo?): John Boehner (R)

The Minority Leader currently has the most Republican seat in Ohio, and I doubt GOP map-drawers would disturb his seat too much. He gets 75% McCain Mercer County tacked onto the the northern end of his district in exchange for adding some more of downtown Dayton to help Turner.

OH-12 (Pale Blue): Pat Tibieri (R)

Tibieri is rewarded for holding down his Obama district against the 2006 and 2008 waves with a large swatch of conservative territory to the northeast of Columbus. His district contains less of Franklin than it used to, but now has most of the majority-minority precincts. The portion of the district outside of Franklin, which makes up about 3/5 of its population, voted 61% for McCain.

OH-15 (Orange): Steve Stivers (R)

This district is designed with Stivers in mind and is very similar to the neighboring 12th: a quarter of Franklin County attached seven exurban and rural counties that voted 3:2 for McCain. If Stivers came within a few hundered votes of winning a fairly strong Obama district in ’08, this one should be easy for him.

Note: I don’t know which of my districts Mary Jo Kilroy lives in, but she’d face an uphill fight in any of them. Also, while it is still possible to gerrymander Franklin County into 4 GOP seats, by 2020 it may be wiser to consolidate central Columbus into one safely Democratic district.

OH-06 (Teal): Charlie Wilson (D) vs. Zack Space (D) vs. Generic R

The new 6th, in the southeast of the state, is made up of the most conservative parts of the current 6th and 18th. Thus, Charlie Wilson and Zack Space are heading for a primary fight on a rather level playing field. The winner of this hard-fought contest will emerge to take on a Republican in a 56% McCain district with a lot of  territory unfamiliar to him. Not an impossible hold, but a tough one for Democrats in a region sliding away from them.

Northeast Ohio

OH-05 (Yellow): Bob Latta (R)

Latta’s district shifts westward and loses a point or two (down to  51-52% McCain.) He scoops up the rural, conservative leftovers of counties the voted for Obama but have given their liberal sections to Democratic districts. Also, the population center of this district is now in exurban Cleveland, which means Latta may face a primary from that area. I’ve never cared for him anyway.

OH-09 (Sky Blue): Marcy Kaptur (D)

Nothing new here, folks. The dean of the Ohio delegation keeps her base in Toledo and hugs Lake Erie like Lois Capps hugs the Pacific. Obama won 62%.

OH-10 (Pink): Dennis Kucinich (D)

High 50’s for Obama in western Cleveland and its suburbs. I decided to save Kucinich rather than pit him against one of the other northeastern Democrats because his “nay” votes from the left are nonetheless helpful for Republicans.

OH-11 (Lime): Marcia Fudge (D)

There are just enough African-Americans in Cleveland to keep a VRA majority-black seat in Ohio. Fudge’s percentages on the east side of the city are 51% black, 85% Obama.

OH-13 (Tan): Betty Sutton (D)

Sutton’s district is now dominated by her home county of Summit (Akron) but also takes in the college town of Kent and the west side of Canton. Obama scored in the high 50’s, much like in Sutton’s current district.

OH-14 (Taupe?): Steve LaTourette (R)

LaTourette is stuck in a tough place for a Republican. To the west is Cleveland, to the south Youngstown, and to the north Lake Erie. There is some conservative territory to the east, but it’s in Pennsylvania so that’s a no-go. He does have to expand somewhere, though, so I chose rural Trumbull and Portage counties, which are hopefully more conservative than the counties are as a whole, and the surprisingly Republican south and east of Cuyahoga County. This should be enough to nudge McCain over 50, a slight improvement over the current 14th.

OH-16 (Bright Green): Tim Ryan (D) vs. John Boccieri (D)

This is the Youngstown district, and Ryan should have no problem dispatching of Boccieri in the primary and whoever the GOP puts up in the general. East Canton as well as the liberal parts of Wilson’s district are thrown in for good measure. Boccieri could move and try to run against Latta, but it would be an uphill fight for him.

Summary: 3 Lean R (1, 6, 14), 3 Likely R (5, 7, 15), 5 Safe R, 5 Safe D

Ohio Democratic Map (the “Two-Steve Plan”)

Southwest Ohio

OH-01 (Blue): Steve Driehaus

Driehaus sheds the Butler County portion of his district and now has all of Cincinnati and its inner ring of suburbs. The black percentage ticks up to 25 and Obama probably was in the mid-to-high 50’s. Chabot might still have a chance this year, but Driehaus’ odds are far improved down the road.

OH-02 (Green): John Boehner (R) vs. Jean Schmidt (R)

It’s pretty easy for Democrats to eliminate the arch-conservative Schmidt by tossing her in with Boehner. This very red (McCain 60% +) district is made up of Cincinnati’s and Dayton’s exurbs and should be no trouble at all for the Minority Leader or any Republican who succeeds him.

OH-03 (Purple): Mike Turner (R)

The area between Toledo, Cincinnati, and Columbus is sort of a Bermuda triangle for Democrats, as you’ll be hard pressed to find anyplace that Obama broke 45%. The new 3rd combines the only county in this area that Obama won, Montgomery (Dayton) with marginal Clark County to create a 52/48 Obama district. Nevertheless, the PVI is R+1 and Turner will be favored. This seat becomes a tossup when he retires or runs for higher office.

OH-04 (Red): Jim Jordan (R)

This slice of rural Ohio goodness is about as clean-looking a Republican vote sink as you’ll ever see. McCain was in the 60’s here; a stronger Republican would flirt with 70% of the presidential vote. This might be the safest seat for the GOP in the Midwest.

OH-07 (Grey): Steve Austria (R)

Austria is one of the few Republicans who would prefer this map to my GOP gerrymander. He picks up most of Schmidt’s old district along the Kentucky border and retains his base southwest of Columbus.  With McCain in the high 50’s, Austria has this seat as long as he wants it.

OH-06 (Teal): Charlie Wilson (D)

Wilson’s district pushes ever so slightly north into the Democratic vote warehouse of Youngstown, taking about a quarter of the city. The rest of the district is made up of a selection of the least Republican counties of Southeast Ohio (a lot of 50/50 areas.) It’s not much, but the improvement does flip this slight McCain district into a slight Obama one. Wilson’s safe, but this is trouble for Democrats down the road.

Columbus Area

OH-08 (Indigo?): Zack Space (D)

Mr. Space, welcome to East Columbus! As the only endangered Democrat for hundreds of miles in any direction, Space is rewarded for his two wins in tough territory with a large chunk of Franklin County, attached by a thin strip to his home county of Tuscarawas. Who says ugly can’t be beautiful?

OH-12 (Pale Blue): Pat Tibieri (R)

Tibieri is a winner in both my maps, as once again he trades his part of Columbus for exurban and rural counties. This time, he gets almost all the red counties in Central Ohio, and is sitting comfortably in a 60% McCain district.

OH-15 (Orange): Mary Jo Kilroy (D)

Kilroy needs all the help she can get, so I gave her even more of Columbus than she has now. Then, I traded dark-red Madison and Union Counties for the more moderate Pickaway and Ross Counties to the south of the city. This move pushes Obama into the upper 50’s and should be enough for Kilroy to fend off the pesky Steve Stivers.

Northern Ohio

OH-05 (Yellow): OPEN

This new seat in north-central Ohio is designed with Democrats in mind, as Obama carried it with 54% of the vote. However, it’s not out of the reach of Republicans, especially not this year. Still, since this essentially replaces Latta’s district and we don’t want to spread the votes too thin in Northern Ohio, it’s acceptable. Latta could try his luck here but most of this territory is new to him.

OH-09 (Sky Blue): Marcy Kaptur (D) vs. Bob Latta (R)

Sorry Bob, this one’s not gonna happen. Dominated by Lucas County (Toledo), the dean of the delegation should have no problem retaining her seat. Even with the Republican-voting northwest, the new 9th still gave 61% of the vote to Obama. Kaptur’s small sacrifice frees up the lake counties to the west for the new 5th.

OH-10 (Pink): Dennis Kucinich (D)

This district takes Wayne and Medina Counties, which voted for John McCain by a combined 15,000 votes, and neutralizes them with a large slice of western Cuyahoga County (Cleveland). Kucinich could theoretically be in trouble here, but the most likely scenario is that he runs into a strong suburban primary challenger who goes on to easily hold this one for the Democrats.

OH-11 (Lime): Marica Fudge (D)

Exactly the same in both gerrymanders. 51% black. Ho hum.

OH-13 (Tan): Betty Sutton (D)

Sutton has it about the same on both maps as well. Once again, she claims all of Summit County (Akron) and has enough Democratic votes there to allow her to swallow Republican precincts in southern Cuyahoga and Steve LaTourette’s home precint (more on him later.) 57% for Obama this time.

OH-14 (Taupe?): Tim Ryan (D)

Ryan keeps all of his home county, Trumbull, as well as the majority of the city of Youngstown. Those alone are enough to keep him safe, which allow him to grab Ashtabula and Lake Counties as well as parts of Geauga and Cuyahoga from LaTourette’s old district. Mix it all together and you get a 59% Obama seat.

OH-16 (Bright Green): John Boccieri (D)

The most junior Democrat in the region, fittingly, gets the leftovers district. Those leftovers consist of Stark (Canton) and Portage (Kent) Counties, which Obama carried, as well as Carroll and part of Geauga, which McCain carried. Throw in the rest of Cuyahoga and Mahoning, and you get a 53% Obama district, which although no sure thing is better than Boccieri’s old district.

Steve LaTourette, of course, is the odd man out. Where would he run? He lives in Sutton’s district, but the geography and the partisan numbers favor Betty Sue there. Most of his old district is in Ryan’s, but that configuration voted for Obama almost 3:2. Boccieri’s district is the most Republican-friendly, but he only represented about 8% of this area previously. Whatever option he chooses, it’s an uphill fight.

The Bottom Line: 4 Safe R, 1 Lean R (3), 3 Lean D (5, 6, 16), 2 Likely D (1, 15), 6 Safe D  

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How Lee Fisher Can Win

Cross posted at http://frogandturtle.blogspot….

Yet again, Ohio will be a battleground state for a hard fought race. In 2004, this state was ground zero for campaigning as Bush and Kerry focused all their efforts here. Kerry did well in traditionally Democratic cities and even did well in urban swing counties. He unfortunately could not match Bush’s margins in rural and suburban counties so he lost. In 2008 though, Obama turned out the cities even more. He improved in certain rural areas, most specifically the northern and western parts of the state. The area Obama was most successful in improving over Kerry was the suburbs of the big cities. Still, the national trend to Obama over Kerry was higher than the trend in Ohio. In the 2010 Senate race, Lee Fisher (D) will need to perform well to be successful in winning Ohio like Obama. Fisher is the Lieutenant Governor and he is from Cleveland. Before he was elected Lieutenant Governor in 2006 , Fisher was a State Senator from Cleveland. Polls show him in a tight race for George Voinovich’s (R) open U.S Senate seat against Rob Portman (R). Besides being a former congressman from the Cincinnati area, Portman worked under the Bush Administration. Although 2010 should be a good year for Republicans, Fisher has a chance of actually picking up a Republican Senate seat by beating Portman. Fisher will soon have to face Portman’s deep pockets but Fisher can still win this race. Here are some good ways for him to do that:

Make the race about Portman and his background. Rob Portman was a U.S trade representative under the Bush Administration.  On his website, Fisher does mention how he will not be a continuation of Bush policies. Unfortunately, this strategy is starting to become stale with the Democrats’ popularity falling. The strategy works though because Portman is not an outsider Republican, he was a Republican in the Bush Administration. Fisher must remind voters about how bad Bush was while portraying himself as someone with new ideas. Already, Fisher mentions on his website frequently how he  does not represent the policies that lead us into this economic decline but Portman does. Something else Fisher does well is that he has a page devoted to jobs with a detailed plan for creating them. He needs to keep focusing on jobs. It did not work for Kerry in 2004 in Ohio but it will work now.

Focus more on the rural voters. Fisher’s website does have a page for rural voters but it should be more detailed and show specific ways Fisher helped farmers and others in rural communities. Farmers and others in rural areas were the reason Bush won Ohio in 2004 so if Fisher can swing some of them to the Democrats, he should be successful. Fisher should run an ad showing how Portman wanted to cut farm subsidies by 60% while Fisher has strongly supported the 2008 farm bill and development for rural communities. Fisher highlights how he strongly fought crime and helped children in urban areas. He also has mentioned his immigrant background to help with white voters in the Cleveland area. These issues should help with votes in Cleveland, Akron and will probably play well in Columbus (except for the immigration issue becaus Columbus is not a big immigrant city.) Farmers working on their crops will not be thinking about crime in urban areas right now though.

Win the rural counties near the Ohio River (also known as Southeast Ohio.) This is similar to the paragraph about rural farmers but people with roots in coal will have different concerns than farmers. Fisher has roots in Northeast Ohio while Portman is popular in the Cincinnati and Southwest Ohio areas. The union presence may help Fisher in Southeast Ohio but if Fisher wants to win, he must run up numbers here. In 2006, successful Gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland (D) and Senatorial candidate Sherrod Brown piled up large margins in these counties. In 2004, Kerry tried to win by winning big margins in Northeast Ohio. Even though he won areas outside of Northeast Ohio like Columbus and Dayton, it still was not enough to win. Overall, Kerry proved that unless you do well in rural areas (or run up margins in urban areas outside of Northeast Ohio,) you cannot win in Ohio. Also, Fisher needs to highlight strongly how he helped workers rights with his support of the Paycheck Fairness Act for example.

Win the progressive base that supported Jennifer Brunner (D) before Fisher beat her in the Senatorial primary. This should not be too hard for Fisher even though Brunner said she will not endorse him. This should not impact Fisher strongly because there is not a large progressive base in Ohio. Many of the Democrats here are more liberal on issues like the economy but are not the environment liberals you find in California or the social liberals you find in New York City. Columbus and Athens are two of the few areas where progressives are strong. Fisher is trying to appeal to the base by highlighting his work on civil rights. Also, the results from the primary show Fisher not doing poorly in progressive areas so maybe he never had any trouble with them at all.

Match Portman on the money front. Rob Portman is beating Fisher on the money front. Fisher could consider pandering to the progressive base but that could hurt his standing among moderates. Anyway, Brunner was considered the progressive but she received little money from donors, even the progressive base. At the primary, Brunner interestingly won some rural counties with few progressives though. If Fisher successfully painted Portman as a product of the Bush Administration, he could energize some progressives which would cause him to raise money. Still, Fisher should not nationalize the race. I believe the best way for Fisher to get money is through the unions because they are powerful in Ohio and he has a record of supporting workers rights.

Overall, Fisher is running a good campaign with putting jobs as front and center and making comparisons between Portman and Bush. He is also solidifying his lead in urban Ohio by talking about how he helped reduce crime. What he needs to do is focus more on rural issues and rural voters. Highlighting his family’s background as immigrants from Russia and working in the steel industry helps him along the Ohio River and strengthens him in  Northeast Ohio. Many farmers and other rural residents cannot relate to Fisher’s family story though. Fisher does not give specific examples of bills he helped work on or sponsored to help rural areas. Saying you support rural residents is good but Fisher must give specific examples of how he helped them. If urban voters turn out strongly for Fisher because he highlighted important issues for them such as crime and workers rights but if Fisher also keeps down margins in rural areas, Fisher can be Ohio’s next Senator.  

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