Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Tuesday, January 31

Ohio Sen: 5 Cuyahoga County State Reps. Seek Higher Office

The Cuyahoga Democratic Party's web site indicates that at least five Democratic State Representatives are vying for three open State Senate seats in the area. Rep. Claudette Woodard (D-9th), Rep. Annie Key (D-11th), and Rep. Shirley Smith (D-10th) all join Newburgh Heights City Councilman Trevor Elkins in the primary contest for the seat of term-limited Senate Minority Leader C.J. Prentiss (D-21st). Term-limited Rep. Dale Miller (D-14th) will contend with Ed Fitzgerald in the primary contest for the seat of term-limited Sen. Daniel Brady (D-23rd). Assistant Minority Whip Lance T. Mason (D-8th) seeks the seat of term-limited gubernatorial candidate Eric Fingerhut(D-25th).

Attention, Progressive Techies!

Here's a thought I just had. There seem to be many candidates for State legislative office here in Ohio who don't have a web presence yet, not even a campaign blog. I communicated with one State Rep. candidate who said he wouldn't be on the web until he found the time and money to hire someone to put it together for him.

Time and money! Seems to me that our Democratic statehouse candidates shouldn't have to sacrifice valuable time and money just to get their basic message onto the internet. Even a simple blog on a free hosting site, or a low-cost homepage at a discount host like GoDaddy, is better than foregoing this critical campaign tool. But, my sense is that a lot of local candidates don't have the basic web skills to do that for themselves.

So, this is a open call for progressive-minded, politically-aware tech-heads! Why not volunteer the small amount of time it would take to set up a blog or simple site for one of our down-ticket candidates? What we need is a web-based clearinghouse for such volunteers to get connected to needy candidates. If the candidate provides some copy and photos, it wouldn't take much for a web-savvy blogger to cobble together a simple site. What do y'all think?

Ohio House 1st: It's Linda Bolon (D) Against Jim Hoppel (R)

Thanks to the terrific blog High and Broad for linking to this story in the Lisbon Morning Journal, covering the announcement by Columbiana County Treasurer Linda Bolon (D) that she will run for the 1st District House of Representatives seat being vacated by Speaker Pro Tem Chuck Blasdel (R). Blasdel is running for Ted Stickland's Congressional seat, OH-6. As a treasurer and former fraud auditor, Bolon is perfectly positioned to attack the culture of corruption in Republican-controlled state government. Her opponent is County Commissioner Jim Hoppel. Blasdel barely won relection in 2004, as Democrat Frank Rayl won 49.98% of the vote.

Monday, January 30

Cong: Schira (D) Out of OH-13 Race, Olson (R) Out of OH-4

Credit to the estimable folks at Ohio 13 Blog for catching this item in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, reporting that attorney Jack Schira has dropped out of the crowded field for OH-13 and will probably throw his support to Betty Sutton (D-Chardon) or John Wolfe (D-Akron). Schira will reportedly run for State Rep., but no word on what district. Could he be challenging Tom Patton (R-Strongsville)?

Duane Grassbaugh (D-Howard), candidate for State Rep., 90th Dist., informed me that Richland County Commissioner Ed Olson (R) has dropped out of the race to replace Mike Oxley in OH-4.

Speaking of OH-4 ... a check of the Secretary of State Campaign Committee filings indicates that Mike Gilb (R) has registered a campaign committee to run for State Senate, 1st Dist. (incumbent Lynn Wachtmann is term-limited), but his website says he is running for U.S. Congress. Is he about to announce a change of plans?

CORRECTION: Duane Grassbaugh is the Democratic candidate for State Rep. in the 90th District, not the 92nd as I had intially indicated. My apologies to Duane!

Gov & Sen: Strickland (D)/Brown (D) Press Conference Today

John Ryan's AFL-CIO Blog reports that gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland (D-Lisbon) and U.S. Senate candidate Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) will hold a press conference in Columbus today, before heading off to Washington for the resumption of their Congressional duties, to announce the endorsement by the AFL-CIO of both candidates.

Meanwhile, as reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Columbus Dispatch, gubernatorial candidate Jim Petro (R-Rocky River) will announce today that State Sen. Joy Padgett (R-Cochocton) is his new running mate, replacing Phil Heimlich (R-Cincinnati). At first blush, this pick seems to be aimed at Strickland in the general election rather than Ken Blackwell (R-Cincinnati) in the primary. Padgett is from Strickland's rural southeastern Ohio base. She is recently notorious as the sponsor of Ohio's concealed gun carry law, cementing her high standing with the NRA, and has a history of being strongly anti-choice on abortion. It is also significant that she is the only woman on any gubernatorial ticket. (Blackwell has not yet announced, but the expectation is that he will pick State Rep. Tom Raga (R-Mason) and that it will be made public on Wednesday.)

Sunday, January 29

Gov: Bombshell in Petro (R) Fundraising Scandal

This story delivers a bombshell in the ongoing series of allegations that gubernatorial candidate and current Attorney General Jim Petro (R-Rocky River) or his staffers have used the offer of awarding, or threat of terminating, lucrative outside legal assignments to coerce poitical campaign contributions from lawyers. The latest revelation comes from two prominent Republican lawyers, Jack Morrison and Ray Weber, who say their law firms lost virtually all of their state legal business after they refused to donate to Attorney General Jim Petro's campaign.

In Morrison's case, he describes the threat as coming personally from Petro, in chilling detail. Why is this a bombshell? Well, first because this time it is Petro in person, not an aide. Second, because this story is such a stark description of a violation of Ohio Code section 2921.43(C), which prohibits any person from coercing a contribution to a political party or campaign committee in return for appointing, securing, maintaining, or renewing the appointment of any person to any "public office, employment or agency." Violation is a first degree misdemeanor. It's no stretch to consider retaining outside lawyers for the state as a kind of public office, employment or agency," since it is a basic legal concept that lawyers are agents for their clients, and it may qualify as a kind of "employment" as well depending on how that term is construed.

Now wait, you might say, Morrison doesn't say he actually made a contribution as a result of the threat, so there can't be any crime, right? Wrong. The Ohio Supreme Court recently anwered this question in the case State v. Conese, 102 Ohio St. 3d 435, 2004-Ohio-3889, 812 N.E.2d 306 (2004), in which it held that the crime consists of the act of coercing, whether or not the coercion is successful in shaking down the victim.

Given that Petro is the state's chief law enforcement officer, this allegation is very serious indeed.

By the way, the same Plain Dealer article reports that a poll of 400 Republican likely voters (conducted by the Ohio Republican Party) shows that Petro trails Ken Blackwell (R-Cincinnati) by ten pecentage points. However, with 29 percent of responders undecided, there is still potential for enough undecideds to swing Petro's way for him to win the primary. Petro's campaign claims that the poll also shows that Petro would fare better than Blackwell against a Democrat in the general election, although no details of that claim are provided.

UPDATE: Ah, I see that the excellent Buckeye Senate has the goods: head to head it's Strickland 39%, Petro 36%, Undecided 25%, but Strickland 39%, Blackwell 33%, Undecided 27%. Using "informed ballot" numbers, described as voters with an opinion, it's Strickland 36%, Petro 36%, Undecided 28%, and Strickland 56%, Blackwell 32%, Undecided 12%. Get a load of that last one!

Friday, January 27

Cong. OH-13: Emily's List Prefers Sutton (D) over Cafaro (D)

According to this story in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer, the progressive/feminist group Emily's List will be supporting Betty Sutton (D) over Capri Cafaro (D) in the Democratic primary to choose a candidate for Sherrod Brown's seat. An Ohio resident who works with Emily's List mentioned Cafaro's "baggage" relative to disgraced U.S. Rep. James Traficant as a reason. Cafaro was granted immunity from prosecution to testify in the trial of a business associate who was accused of, and ultimately pleaded guilty to, paying a bribe to Traficant. Cafaro was not charged with any wrongdoing, but still is seen as having too close a connection to past scandal for an election in which Republican corruption figures to be a dominant theme. An angry Cafaro is quoted in the article complaining that the real reason for the Emily's List snub is her support for parental notification of abortions performed on minors, although she otherwise supports women's right to choose. Sutton is more unqualifiedly pro-life.

Attorney General: O'Brien (R) drops out

This Columbus Dispatch story reports that Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien (R-Columbus) has dropped out of the race for Attorney General, as a direct result of the decision by Betty Montgomery (R) to drop out of the gubernatorial race and run for her old job as AG instead. Tim Grendell (R), however, is determined to stay in the hunt.

Wednesday, January 25

Governor: Strickland (D) chooses Lee Fisher

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland (D-Lisbon) has chosen former Ohio Attorney General and one-time gubernatorial candidate Lee Fisher to be his running mate. This brings geographic balance to the ticket, and perhaps ideological balance since Fisher is to the left of Strickland on some issues. It doesn't help the Dems as far as racial diversity, so it is a bit surprising that way.

Cong. OH-2 and OH-13: New Candidates?

Thanks to OH-2 Blog for catching this item in Cincinnati Blog, identifying teacher Gabby Downey (D-Milford) as a new candidate in OH-2.

Also, the excellent folks at Ohio13 Blog have been pounding the phones, getting names from county elections boards of those people who have pulled petitions to run for Congress. The problem is that these may not all be actual candidates, but instead just people who pulled petitions on behalf of unnamed candidates. Still, their spade work confirms that Gary Kucinich (D) and Jack Schira (D) are in the race. On the other side, perhaps one or more of these folks are running?

Chuck DeLorean (R)
Paul Lehman (R)
Lawrence Jaycox (R)
David McGrew (R)
Ronald Neal, Jr. (R)
Michael R. Shaw (R)
Richard Bowen (R)
Ruth Nader Abboud (R)

There's some confusion about that last name ... she might be the same person as a certain school board member who is a Democrat(?).

Governor: Blackwell (R) abusing his office (again)?

BobcatJH has posted this diary at DailyKos.com, detailing Secretary of State Ken Blackwell's involvement in an outrageously slanted telephone "poll," funded by a Republican-backed outfit with ties to the Swift Boat Liars. Here is the text of a pre-recorded message left on an Ohio answering machine:

"This is your Secretary of State, Ken Blackwell. I was calling to ask your views on the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito. I am sorry I missed you.

It is a sad day in our country when a good, honest, qualified man and his family have to be subjected to the attacks of liberal members of the U.S. Senate, like Ted Kennedy. Fortunately in Ohio, we can be proud that Senator Mike DeWine, a member of the influential Judiciary Committee, is standing with President Bush by supporting his Supreme Court nominee. This is good news for our country and Ohio.

This message was authorized and paid for by the Judicial Confirmation Network. For more information, please visit judicialnetwork.com. Thank you for your time, and goodbye."

BobcatJH details the Republican and Swift Boat connections of the "Judicial Confirmation Network."

Set against Bob Taft's ethical lapses, the Noe-Coingate scandal, the breaking Bob Ney scandal, the odious Republican manipulation of the election process via HB 3, and all the other corruption and sleaze in our Republican-run state government, this may seem like a small ethical violation, but it stinks. I hope that the media and the public hold him accountable.

Tuesday, January 24

Cong. OH-18: Bloggers Spar Over Dem Primary

Ouch. Supporters of Democratic candidates Joe Sulzer (D-Chillicothe) and Zack Space (D-Dover) are duking it out in duelling diaries at DailyKos.com. Today's post, by comalog on behalf of Space, is here, and it links to the earlier post by Pitin. The participants agree that Sulzer has raised more money than Space, but disagree about the proportional difference and its significance. They also dispute the relative advantages of Space's northern Tuscarawas County base versus Sulzer's southern Ross County base. Space is pro-choice and Sulzer is pro-life, but Sulzer's supporter apparently regards Space's highlighting of this difference as an unfair or inappropriate attack.

If Ney goes down, as seems all but assured, this becomes a top tier race. These blog posts are worth a read.

State Auditor: Barbara Sykes (D) will run

According to this story in the Akron Beacon Journal, blogged today by High and Broad, State Rep. Barbara Sykes (D-Akron) will run for State Auditor, setting up a primary contest with County Treasurer John Reardon (D-Youngstown). Sykes has recently led the Ohio House African-American Legislative Caucus. She had previously said she would retire from state politics, but credits a conversation with DNC Chair Howard Dean in Columbus last week with helping to change her mind. Her husband and statehouse predecessor, Kent State University professor Vernon Sykes, is reported to have taken out petitions to run for the 44th District House seat. Also in that race is William T. Green.

The State Auditor race will get lots of attention, and money, because along with the Governor and Secretary of State the Auditor plays a key role in legislative redistricting. The Republican candidate is State Rep. Mary Taylor (R-Uniontown). Sykes' entry into the race is also significant because it brings some measure of racial diversity to the Democratic statewide ticket. Two major Republican statewide candidates, Ken Blackwell in the gubernatorial race and Jennette Bradley in the race for treasurer, are African-American.

Governor: Montgomery (R) out of race

First blogged by BlueCollar Baby at LiveFrom Dayton, as far as I know, Betty Montgomery's departure from the gubernatorial race seems to be official as of today, as reported here, here and here.

What does this say about the two parties? A moderate has absolutely no shot on the Republican side, but a moderate is the front-runner on the Democratic side. One party has been highjacked by extremists, the other respects diversity of opinion. Does the public really want government by extremists? It seems to me that if people really grasped this, voters would tend to vote Democrat by at least a 2 to 1 margin, all else being equal.

Monday, January 23

Cong. OH-2: Brinkman (R) considering run

This column in the Cincinnati Enquirer confirms that State Rep. Tom Brinkman (R) is considering a challenge to incumbent Jean Schmidt in the 2nd District. Although Brinkman encouraged former Rep. Bob McEwan (R) to get into the race after Schmidt's controversial attack on Rep. Murtha (D-Pa)) last year, Brinkman now says that McEwan waited too long to enter the race. Brinkman reportedly has sent a mailer to former contributors, asking if they would support him in this race. Credit to John Sauter at ODP Blog for this item.

Open Call for Candidates!

2006 is NOT a year to let Republicans run for office unopposed. We need to field candidates in every race. The filing deadline is Feb. 16. Here is a roundup of races where I have not been able to identify Democratic candidates:

U.S. House of Representatives

The only race with no Democratic candidate is John Boehner's seat, the 8th District, in western Ohio (includes northern Dayton suburbs, Troy, Hamilton, Fairfield). Boehner is known for his suntan, golfing trips, and parties, all involving lobbyists and their money. We simply MUST run an opponent in this race.

State Senate

1st District - Incumbent Lynn R. Wachtmann (R-Napoleon) is term-limited. Dem candidate got 32.06% in 2002. No announced candidates for either party.

7th District - Incumbent Robert Schuler (R-Sycamore Township) is unopposed. The Dem candidate got 28.64% in 2002.

17th District - Incumbent John Carey (R-Welston) is unopposed. The Dem candidate got 46.12% in 2002.

23rd District – Incumbent Daniel Brady (D) is term-limited. He got 67% in 2002. No announced candidates for either party.

25th District – Incumbent Eric Fingerhut (D-Shaker Heights) is term-limited and is running for Governor. He got 84.61% in 2002. Who will run for his seat?

29th District - Incumbent J. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) is unopposed. His Dem opponent got 42.23% in 2002.

31st District – Incumbent Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) is term-limited. He was unopposed in 2002. State Rep. Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) is seeking to replace him. There is no announced Democratic opponent.

State House of Representatives

2nd District – Incumbent Jon M. Peterson (R-Delaware) is unopposed. Dem got 31.14% in 2004.

3rd District – Incumbent Jim Carmichael (R-Wooster), Majority Whip, is unopposed. Dem got 34.45% in 2004.

5th District – Incumbent Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) is running for Ohio Senate, 31st Dist. No announced candidates for either party.

10th District – Incumbent Shirley A. Smith (D-Cleveland) is term-limited and is running for State Senate. She was unopposed in 2004. Who will take her place?

16th District – Incumbent Sally Conway Kilbane (R-Rocky River) is term-limited. Dem candidate got 38.26% in 2004. No announced candidates for either party.

17th District – Incumbent Jim Trakas (R-Independence) is term-limited and is running for Secretary of State. Dem got 46.8% in 2004. No announced candidates for either party.

19th District – Incumbent Larry L. Flowers (R-Canal Winchester), Majority Floor Leader, is unopposed. Dem candidate got 34.18% in 2004.

29th District – Incumbent Louis W. Blessing, Jr. (R-Cincinnati) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 43.86% in 2004.

30th District – Incumbent Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), Assistant Majority Whip, is unopposed. Dem candidate got 27.10% in 2004.

35th District – Incumbent Michelle G. Schneider (R-Cincinnati) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 27.36% in 2004.

36th District – Incumbent Arlene Setzer (R-Vandalia) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 37.96% in 2004.

37th District – Incumbent Jon Husted (R-Kettering), Speaker of the House, is unopposed. Dem candidate got 34.99% in 2004.

38th District – Incumbent John J. White (R-Kettering) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 39.36% in 2004.

43rd District – Incumbent Mary Taylor (R-Uniontown) is running for Auditor. Dem candidate got 20.88% in 2004, 46.39% in 2002. No announced candidates for either party.

46th District – Incumbent Mark J. Wagoner, Jr. (R-Toledo) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 37.97% in 2004.

50th District – Incumbent John P. Hagan (R-Alliance) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 41.88% in 2004.

51st District – Incumbent W. Scott Oelslager (R-Canton) is unopposed. He was unopposed in 2004. Dem candidate got 30.01% in 2002.

53rd District – Incumbent Shawn N. Webster (R-Hamilton) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 34.17% in 2004.

54th District – Incumbent Courtney Eric Combs (R-Hamilton) is unopposed. He was unopposed in 2004. Dem candidate got 27.57% in 2002.

55th District – Incumbent Bill Coley (R-West Chester) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 29.92% in 2004.

57th District – Incumbent Earl J. Martin (R-Avon Lake) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 42.98% in 2004.

58th District – Incumbent Kathleen L. Walcher (R-Norwalk) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 46.01% in 2004.

61st District – Incumbent John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) is running for Ohio Senate, 33rd Dist. He got 65.66% in 2004. No announced candidates from either party.

64th District – Incumbent Randy Law (R-Warren) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 45.98% in 2004.

66th District – Incumbent Joseph W. Uecker (R-Miami Township) is unopposed. He was unopposed in 2004.

67th District – Incumbent Tom Raga (R-Mason) is unopposed. He was unopposed in 2004.

69th District – Incumbent Chuck Calvert (R-Medina) is term-limited. Dem candidate got 44.67% in 2004. No announced candidates for either party.

74th District – Incumbent Stephen Buehrer (R-Delta) is term-limited. He was unopposed in 2002 and 2004. No announced candidates for either party.

75th District – Incumbent James M. Hoops (R-Napoleon) is term-limited. Dem candidate got 30.81% in 2004. No announced candidates for either party.

76th District – Incumbent Mike Gilb (R-Findlay) is running for U.S. Congress, 4th Dist. Dem candidate got 32.01% in 2004. No announced candidates for either party.

77th District – Incumbent Keith Faber (R-Celina) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 30.20% in 2004.

79th District – Incumbent Diana M. Fessler (R-New Carlisle) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 33.85% in 2004.

81st District – Incumbent Jeff Wagner (R-Sycamore) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 40.68% in 2004.

82nd District – Incumbent Steve Reinhard (R-Bucyrus) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 37.99% in 2004.

84th District – Incumbent Chris Widener (R-Springfield) was recently appointed. He is unopposed. Dem candidate got 34.17% in 2004.

85th District – Incumbent John M. Schlichter (R-Washington Court House) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 37.59% in 2004.

86th District – Incumbent David T. Daniels (R-Greenfield) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 38.92% in 2004.

87th District – Incumbent Clyde Evans (R-Rio Grande) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 34.49% in 2004.

88th District – Incumbent Danny R. Bubp (R-West Union) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 37.61% in 2004.

94th District – Incumbent Jim Aslanides (R-Coschocton) is unopposed. No Dem candidates in 2002 or 2004.

97th District – Incumbent Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeville) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 35.20% in 2004.

98th District – Incumbent Matthew J. Dolan (R-Novelty) is unopposed. Dem candidate got 34.79% in 2004.

Thursday, January 19

Senate: New poll shows Hackett leading DeWine

This new poll released by Zogby today shows Paul Hackett (D) leading Mike DeWine (R) by 41.9% to 35%, and Sherrod Brown (D) also leading DeWine by 41.3% to 37%, with a margin of error of 2.8%.

These numbers flip the results of a fairly recent Rasmussen poll, which showed DeWine leading Hackett by four points and Brown by five. Not to make too much of it (because the difference is tiny, and it's wa-a-a-a-y early), but ... interesting that Hackett is faring better than Brown in both polls, n'cest pas?

Wednesday, January 18

OH House & Senate

This story in the Columbus Dispatch today confirms that Sue Morano (D), a registered nurse, will run again in OH Sen-13. She lost last time by only 500 votes or so to Jeffry Armbruster (R-North Ridgeville), who is now term-limited.

The article quotes ODP Chair Chris Redfern as predicting that Democrats would pick up four seats in the Ohio House if the election were held today. That would result in a 56-43 split. Kris Long, chief of staff for the Senate Democrats, is reportedly optimistic about picking up one to three seats in November, which would mean at best a 30-14 split. So, at this point Democratic leaders are predicting modest gains at best.

Personally, I think the ODP ought to be scrambling to field a viable candidate in every single Senate and House race. I don't accept that the failure of the Reform Ohio Now ballot issues means the public thinks the corruption among Ohio Republicans isn't real, or that Republicans are doing a good job running the state. The public simply didn't like the amendments, period: too long, too confusing, too many conflicting claims on the airwaves, too much opposition from Democrats. When I was going door to door in support of RON, it seemed like everyone I talked to agreed that state government is a stinking cesspool of graft, and that Taft ought to be in jail. All of this by way of saying that I believe a dramatic surge of support for Democrats in November is possible.

Cong. OH-13: Foltin (R) pondering bid

Republican mayor of Lorain Craig Foltin told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he hasn't decided about entering the race, but has been strongly encouraged to do so: "If you would have asked me a week or two ago, inside I was saying 'No way,' . . . But I am hearing a lot of things from a lot of people. There are a lot of people who are pushing me."

Here's the PD's take on Cafaro: "If Cafaro is comparatively inexperienced in politics, she is undeniably wealthy. She has the potential to use her own considerable money for the campaign. In her failed bid to beat LaTourette, she pumped more than $1.6 million of her own cash into the campaign.

"'I believe she will spend whatever is necessary,' [spokesman] Rubenstein said of the upcoming campaign. He said Cafaro has recently rented a home in the Lorain County community of Sheffield."

I like how Pho described her in a note to me last night: CarpetBaguette. Indeed.

Tuesday, January 17

Congressional races: OH-13; Cafaro is in

Credit goes to Ohio 13 Blogfor this information: Capri Cafaro is definitely in the race, as reported in the Lorain Morning Journal here.

I think this is not a good thing. She has certain advantages in running, such as her personal fortune, catchy name, and undeniable good looks. But, does she have the ideas, the gravitas, the savvy? Her resume is mighty slim. On the other hand, she has already shown the potential to pick up support from labor (she got an early endorsement from the UAW local in Lordstown), and being from the Mahoning Valley will help her. I just hope that she learned a lot from her 2004 race, and that she has good advisors.

New Elections Blog - ReclaimOhio.com

Ryan Fissel and Paul Ackerman of Linwood Campaign Services have a great new site called Reclaim Ohio, in which they promise to cover Ohio 2006 elections in detail from a Democratic point of view. Their list of declared candidates has a lot more names than mine, so it's worth a look. Also, they helpfully display Democratic vote percentages for every legislative race.

Ohio Governor

As reported in the Columbus Dispatch here and the Cleveland Plain Dealer here, Jim Petro(R-Rocky River) has dropped County Commissioner Phil Heimlich (R-Cincinnati) as running mate. Heimlich will run for reelection to his old seat, not Lieutenant Governor. Heimlich's father was the inventor of the famous life-saving maneuver.

Petro is reportedly considering State Sen. Gary Cates (R-West Chester) and State Sen. Joy Padgett (R-Coshocton) as replacements.

This is seen as a significant stumble for Petro, who has already had to deal with losing his campaign manager Matt Cox last September and the allegation in December by an attorney that one of Petro's fund-raisers offered him lucrative legal assignemnts for the state in return for a campaign contribution.

Among the other major party candidates, only Bryan Flannery has announced a running mate, who is TV football commentator Frank Stams.

Monday, January 16

Ohio Supreme Court

There are seven Justices on the Ohio Supreme Court, and all but one currently are Republicans: Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer (R), Justice Terrence O'Donnell (R), Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton (R), Justice Maureen O'Connor (R), Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger (R), Justice Alice Robie Resnick (D), and Justice Paul E. Pfeifer (R). Only two seats, those of O'Donnell and Resnick, are up for election in 2006.

Resnick, who pleaded guilty to drunk driving last February and was subsequently reprimanded by a disciplinary panel composed of state appellate judges, will not seek reelection. Peter Sikora (D-Cleveland)is running for Resnick's seat, and William O'Neill (D-South Russell) and AJ Wagner (D-Dayton) will compete in a primary to run against O'Donnell.

Friday, January 13

Ohio Governor: Fingerhut to announce

Surprising few, at least at this point, term-limited State Senator Eric Fingerhut (D-25th) will formally announce his candidacy in Columbus next Wednesday, Jan. 18, with an event to follow the next day in Cleveland. He's saying that he has pledges for 1 million, and plans to raise a total of 4 million for the primary.

Ohio Supreme Court

According to the ODP Blog, there are three confirmed Democratic candidates for Ohio Supreme Court: William O'Neill (D-South Russell), Peter Sikora (D-Cleveland), and A.J. Wagner (D-Dayton).

Former judge C. Ellen Connelly (D-Cleveland), who ran for Supreme Court in 2004, is reportedly being courted for some other statewide race, along with term-limited State Rep. Barbara Sykes, as part of Chris Redfern's initiative to racially diversify the Democratic campaign slate.

New Ohio House information

According to Jeff Sinnard, Democratic candidate for the 2nd Dist. Congressional seat, Rick Smith (D) is going to run for Tom Brinkman's seat, and has a primary opponent whose name Jeff could not recall.

The ODP Blog is reporting that Frank Szollosi's brother, Matt Szollosi, will run for Jeanine Perry's seat, 49th Dist. So what will Frank run for?

Thursday, January 12

General Assembly

State Senate. There are 33 state senators, each representing about 330,000 people. At present there are 22 Republicans and 11 Democrats. Each is limited to two four-year terms. Odd-numbered districts will be put to a vote in 2006:

*1st District - Incumbent Lynn R. Wachtmann (R-Napoleon) is term-limited.

Surely somebody is running?

3rd District

It's incumbent David Goodman (R-Columbus) against former social worker and teacher Emily Kreider (D).

5th  District

Incumbent Tom Roberts (D-Trotwood).

*7th District

Incumbent Robert Schuler (R-Sycamore Township).

9th District

Incumbent Eric Kearney (D-Cincinnati) was appointed in November 2005 to replace Mark Mallory, now Mayor of Cincinnati.

11th District

Incumbent Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) is Minority Whip.

*13th District - Incumbent Jeffry J. Armbruster (R-North Ridgeville) is term-limited.

Sue Morano (D), a registered nurse and SEIU member, lost by only about 500 votes in 2004. Will she run again?

15th District

Incumbent Ray Miller (D-Columbus).

*17th District

Incumbent John Carey (R-Welston).

*19th District

Incumbent Bill Harris (R-Ashland).

21st District - Incumbent and Minority Leader C. J. Prentiss (D-Cleveland) is term-limited.

It's between State Rep. Claudette Woodard (D-Cleveland Heights) and city councilman Trevor Elkins (D-Newburgh Heights).

*23rd District - Incumbent Daniel Brady (D) is term-limited.

So, who's it gonna be?

*25th District - Incumbent Eric Fingerhut (D-Shaker Heights) is term-limited and is running for Governor.

Who's in?

*27th District

Incumbent Kevin Coughlin (R-Cuyahoga Falls).

*29th District

Incumbent J. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton).

* 31st District - Incumbent Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) is term-limited.

State Rep. Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) is running.

33rd District - Incumbent Robert Hagan (D-Youngstown), Assistant Minority Whip and former gubernatorial candidate, is term-limited.

State Rep. John Boccieri (D-New Middleton) has announced his intention to run.  

House of Representatives. There are 99 representatives, each representing 110,000 people. The Republicans hold 60 seats, Democrats 39. Each is limited to four two-year terms. All seats are on the ballot next fall.

*1st District - Incumbent Chuck Blasdel (R-East Liverpool), Speaker Pro Tem, is running for U.S. Congress, 6th Dist.

Who's in the race?

*2nd District - Incumbent Jon M. Peterson (R-Delaware).

*3rd District - Incumbent Jim Carmichael (R-Wooster) is Majority Whip.

4th District - Incumbent John R. Willamowski (R-Lima) is term-limited.

Simeon Talley (D) is running.

*5th District - Incumbent Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) is running for Ohio Senate, 31st Dist.

Ah .... hello?

*6th District - Incumbent Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green).

7th District - Incumbent Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights).

8th District - Incumbent Lance T. Mason (D-Cleveland) is Assistant Minority Whip.

9th District - Incumbent Claudette J. Woodard (D-Cleveland Heights) is running for Ohio Senate, 21st Dist.

Former State Rep. Barbara Boyd (D) is listed as candidate by ActBlue.com, but I can't find any confirmation.

Julian Rogers (D-Cleveland Heights) is a Cleveland Municipal School District administrator and progressive Democratic activist.

*10th District - Incumbent Shirley A. Smith (D-Cleveland) is term-limited.

Who's in?

11th District - Incumbent Annie L. Key (D-Cleveland).

12th District - Incumbent Michael DeBose (D-Cleveland).

13th District - Incumbent Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood).

14th District - Incumbent Dale Miller (D-Cleveland).

15th District - Incumbent Tim J. DeGeeter (D-Parma).

*16th District - Incumbent Sally Conway Kilbane (R-Rocky River) is term-limited.

What's happening here?

*17th District - Incumbent Jim Trakas (R-Independence) is term-limited and is running for Secretary of State.

Any takers?

*18th District - Incumbent Tom Patton (R-Strongsville).

*19th District - Incumbent Larry L. Flowers (R-Canal Winchester) is Majority Floor Leader.

*20th District - Incumbent Jim McGregor (R-Gahanna).

21st District - Incumbent Linda Reidelbach (R-Columbus) will not seek reelection. This district went for Kerry by 52%, and Reidelbach won reelection by less than 55% in 2002 and 2004.

Progressive Dean Hernandez (D) and teacher Jean Herendeen Ackerman (D) are running.

According to Ohio Chamber of Commerce: "The Franklin County Republican Party Central Committee meets on January 11 and will endorse a candidate on that day in hopes of avoiding a primary. At least four candidates are pursuing the party's endorsement, including Kevin Bacon, government affairs representative for Farmers Insurance, Worthington realtor Ted Oatts, John Stacy, legislative aide to Rep. John Willamowski (R-Lima), and Bill Todd. Todd is an attorney with Squire, Sanders & Dempsey and serves as the Ohio Chamber's general counsel."

22nd District - Incumbent Jim Hughes (R-Columbus).

Jan Fleming (D) is a teacher, former banker, and progressive activist.  

Jimmy Stewart (D), Brian McCann (D), and John Carney (D) are also running.

*23rd District - Incumbent Larry Wolpert (R-Hilliard).

*24th District - Incumbent Geoffrey C. Smith (R-Columbus).

Pat Byrne (D), owner of Byrne's Pub, lost to Smith 60%-40% in 2002 and lost again 2004 as an independent.  Will he run, and if so under what banner?

25th District - Incumbent Dan Stewart (D-Columbus).

26th District - Incumbent Mike Mitchell (D-Columbus).

27th District - Incumbent Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) is newly chosen as Minority Leader.

*28th District - Incumbent James T. Raussen (R-Springdale).

*29th District - Incumbent Louis W. Blessing, Jr. (R-Cincinnati).

*30th District - Incumbent Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) is Assistant Majority Whip.

31st District - Incumbent Steve Driehaus (D-Cincinnati) is Minority Whip.

*32nd District - Incumbent Catherine L. Barrett (D-Cincinnati) is term-limited.

Anyone running?

33rd District - Incumbent Tyrone K. Yates (D-Cincinnati).

*34th  District - Incumbent Tom Brinkman, Jr. (R).

*35th District - Incumbent Michelle G. Schneider (R-Cincinnati).

*36th District - Incumbent Arlene Setzer (R-Vandalia).

*37th District - Incumbent Jon Husted (R-Kettering) is Speaker of the House.

*38th District - Incumbent John J. White (R-Kettering).

*39th District - Incumbent Dixie J. Allen (D-Dayton) is term-limited.

Anyone want to jump in here?

40th District - Incumbent Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton).

41st District - Incumbent Brian G. Williams (D-Akron).

*42nd District - Incumbent John Widowfield (R-Cuyahoga Falls).

*43rd District - Incumbent Mary Taylor (R-Uniontown) is running for Auditor.

So, who will take her place?

44th District - Incumbent Barbara A. Sykes (D-Akron) has announced that she will not seek reelection.

William Green (D) is running.

45th District - Incumbent Bob J. Otterman (D-Akron).

*46th District - Incumbent Mark J. Wagoner, Jr. (R-Toledo).

47th District - Incumbent Peter Ujvagi (D-Toledo).

48th District - Incumbent Edna Brown (D-Toledo).

*49th District - Incumbent Jeanine Perry (D-Toledo) is term-limited.

Who's in on this race? Councilman Frank Szollosi has been mentioned as a possibility.

*50th District - Incumbent John P. Hagan (R-Alliance).

*51st District - Incumbent W. Scott Oelslager (R-Canton).

52nd District - Incumbent William J. Healy II (D-Canton).

*53rd District - Incumbent Shawn N. Webster (R-Hamilton).

*54th District - Incumbent Courtney Eric Combs (R-Hamilton).

*55th District - Incumbent Bill Coley (R-West Chester).

56th District - Incumbent Joe Koziura (D-Lorraine).

*57th District - Incumbent Earl J. Martin (R-Avon Lake).

*58th District - Incumbent Kathleen L. Walcher (R-Norwalk).

59th District - Incumbent Ken A. Carano (D-Austintown).

60th District - Incumbent Sylvester Patton (D-Youngstown) is term-limited.

Mike Latessa (D) is running.

*61st District - Incumbent John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) is running for Ohio Senate, 33rd Dist.

Who will seek this seat?

62nd District - Incumbent Lorraine M. Fende (D-Willowick).

63rd District - Incumbent Tim J. Cassell (D-Madison).

*64th District - Incumbent Randy Law (R-Warren).

65th District - Incumbent Sandra Stabile Harwood (D-Niles).

*66th District - Incumbent Joseph W. Uecker (R-Miami Township).

*67th District - Incumbent Tom Raga (R-Mason).

68th District - Incumbent Kathleen Chandler (D-Kent).

*69th District - Incumbent Chuck Calvert (R-Medina) is term-limited.

Any candidates?

*70th District - Incumbent Kevin DeWine (R-Fairborn), Mike DeWine's son, is Assistant Majority Floor Leader.

*71st District - Incumbent Donald R. Evans (R-Newark) is term-limited.

According to Red-State.com, Term-limited State Rep. Jay Hottinger (R) anticipates running for this seat, unless he is tapped to replace Bob Ney (!).

*72nd District - Incumbent Ross McGregor (R-Springfield).

*73rd District - Incumbent Bill Hartnett (D-Mansfield) is term-limited.

Who's on first?

*74th District - Incumbent Stephen Buehrer (R-Delta) is term-limited.

What's the deal?

*75th District - Incumbent James M. Hoops (R-Napoleon) is term-limited.

Who will run for this seat?

*76th District - Incumbent Mike Gilb (R-Findlay) is running for U.S. Congress, 4th Dist.

How about this race?

*77th District - Incumbent Keith Faber (R-Celina).

*78th District - Incumbent Derrick Seaver (R-Minster) has announced that he will not seek reelection.

So, who's in?

*79th District - Incumbent Diana M. Fessler (R-New Carlisle).

*80th District - Incumbent Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island), former House Minority Leader and current ODP Chair, is term-limited.

Who will fill the big guy's shoes?

*81st District - Incumbent Jeff Wagner (R-Sycamore).

*82nd District - Incumbent Steve Reinhard (R-Bucyrus).

83rd District - Incumbent Tony Core (R-Rushsylvania).

Shawn Allen (D) is running.

*84th District - Incumbent Chris Widener (R-Springfield) was recently appointed

*85th District - Incumbent John M. Schlichter (R-Washington Court House).

*86th District - Incumbent David T. Daniels (R-Greenfield).

*87th District - Incumbent Clyde Evans (R-Rio Grande).

*88th District - Incumbent Danny R. Bubp (R-West Union).

89th District - Incumbent Todd Book (D-McDermott).

90th District - Incumbent Thom Collier (R-Mt. Vernon).

Duane Grassbaugh (D) lost to Collier in 2004, 62.86% to 37.14%.

91st District - Incumbent Ronald Hood (R-Ashville).

Dan Dodd (D) is the Democratic candidate.

92nd District - Incumbent Jimmy Stewart (R-Athens).

Debbie Phillips (D) is running.

93rd District - Incumbent Jennifer Garrison (D-Marietta).

*94th District - Incumbent Jim Aslanides (R-Coschocton).

95th District - Incumbent John Domenick (D-Smithfield).

96th District - Incumbent Allan Sayre (D-Dover).

*97th District - Incumbent Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeville).

*98th District - Incumbent Matthew J. Dolan (R-Novelty).

99th District - Incumbent George Distel (D-Conneaut).

Statewide Races

Governor/Lt. Governor.

Incumbents Bob Taft II (R) and Bruce Johnson (R) are term-limited. Also, Taft is the worst (and lowest-rated) governor in the nation.  (Couldn't resist.)

Congressman, psychologist, ex-minister, and ex-college professor Ted Strickland (D-Lisbon) is the front-runner by a wide margin, but State Senator and 2004 Senatorial candidate Eric Fingerhut (D-Shaker Heights) is apparently quite serious about his bid to enter the race; he has filed a "designation of treasurer" form, allowing him to raise money for a primary campaign, and has sent out fundraising mailers and scheduled fundraising events.  Former State Rep. Bryan Flannery (D-Strongsville) is a long shot.  On the Republican side, evil Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R) is solid with the religious right and is the front-runner, although current Attorney General Jim Petro (R) has gained in the race with an early blitz of TV ads portraying him as an extreme right winger on abortion and religion. State Auditor Betty Montgomery (R) is a serious candidate, although lagging, and lesser lights Pete Draganic (R) and Larry Bays (R) are also in the race.

Recent Rasmussen polling on this race was diaried by JOEL1954 here. This poll taken Jan.3, with a MoE of 4.5%. Stickland leads Blackwell 44-40, leads Petro 43-38, and leads Montgomery 49-33. Also, Strickland is rated favorably by 54% of respondents, up from 40% in November.

Secretary of State.

Incumbent Ken Blackwell (R) is running for governor.

Jennifer Brunner (D) was one Sherrod Brown's deputies in the 1980s, then was an elections attorney and Court of Common Pleas judge until she resigned in September to run for this office. She has been getting her name in the news and looks to be a strong candidate. (There were rumors that Toledo State Sen. Teresa Fedor (D) and Columbus City Councilwoman Charleta Tavares (D) might run, but apparently they will not.)  On the other side it's between State Insurance Director Ann Womer Benjamin (R) and State Rep. Jim Trakas (R). County Clerk Greg Hartmann (R) and recent law school graduate Colin Beach (R) are also in the race.

Attorney General.

Incumbent Jim Petro (R) is running for Governor.

Former Cleveland Law Director Subodh Chandra (D) and State Sen. Marc Dann (D) are active, well-qualified candidates on the Democratic side.  For the other party it's State Sen. Tim Grendell (R) and perhaps Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien.

State Treasurer

Appointed incumbent Jennette Bradley (R) will feel the heat in the Republican primary from well-heeled challenger John Hritz (R), the former chief executive of AK Steel. On the Democratic side it's between two county treasurers, Richard Cordray (D-Columbus) and Hugh Quill (D-Dayton).


Incumbent Betty Montgomery (R) is running for governor.

It's Mahoning County Treasurer John Reardon (D-Youngstown) against State Rep. Mary Taylor (R-Uniontown).

Congressional Races

1st District SW Ohio. Includes Cincinnati and western suburbs. (Counties: Hamilton, Butler.)

Incumbent Steve Chabot (R) defends against John Cranley (D), Cincinnati City Councilman, who campaigned well and lost narrrowly to Chabot in 2002. Chabot's opponent did well (44%) in 2004, a bad year for Dems.

2nd District SW Ohio. Includes eastern suburbs of Cincinnati, Lebanon, Portsmouth. (Counties: Adams, Brown, Clermont, Pike, Hamilton, Warren, Scioto.)

Jean Schmidt (R) faces a strong primary challenge from former Congressman Bob McEwen (R). (State Rep. Tom Brinkman (R) and insurance agent Paul Hall (R) have also been mentioned as challengers, but haven't declared.) Whoever emerges from the Republican primary will face either health care administrator Jim Parker (D), engineer Jeff Sinnard (D), or businessman Thor Jacobs (D). (Another possible Democratic candidates is David Pepper (D) , but he has not declared.)

3rd District SW Ohio. Includes Dayton and southern suburbs, Kettering, Miamisburg. (Counties: Clinton, Highland, Montgomery, Warren.)

Incumbent Michael Turner (R) will face David Fierst (D), an attorney and army veteran, or Stephanie Studebaker (D), a veterinarian and Deaniac.

4th District West Central Ohio. Includes Mansfield, Findlay, Marion, Lima, Bellefontaine, Sidney. (Counties: Allen, Auglaize, Champaign, Hancock, Hardin, Logan, Marion, Morrow, Richland, Shelby, Wyandot.)

Incumbent Michael Oxley is retiring. The major Republican contenders are State Rep. Mike Gilb (R) and State Sen. Jim Jordan (R). Local Republican officials Ed Olson (R) and Jim Stahl are also in.

The Democratic candidate is Richard Siferd (D), an attorney.

5th District North Central Ohio. Includes Norwalk, Bucyrus, Tiffin, Defiance, Bowling Green, Fremont. (Counties: Ashland, Crawford, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Huron, Lucas, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Van Wert, Williams, Wood, Wyandot.)

Incumbent Paul Gillmor (R) will again face local activist Robin Weirauch (D).

6th District SE Ohio. Includes Athens, Marietta, Steubenville, East Liverpool. (Counties: Athens, Belmont, Columbia, Gallia, Jefferson, Lawrence, Mahoning, Meigs, Monroe, Noble, Scioto, Washington.)

Incumbent Ted Strickland (D) is running for Governor. Veteran State Sen. Charlie Wilson (D) and teacher Diane diCarlo Murphy will compete for the Democratic nomination. The leading Republican candidate is Ohio House Speaker Pro Tem Chuck Blasdel (R), with evangelical paster Tim Ginter (R), county official Danny Harmon (R), and consultant Richard Holt (R) also in the mix.

7th District South Central Ohio. Includes southwest suburbs of Columbus, Lancaster, Xenia, Circleville, Springfield. (Counties: Clark, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Perry, Pickaway, Ross.)

Incumbent David Hobson (R) will face corporate lawyer Sharen Neuhardt (D).

8th District West Ohio. Includes northern Dayton suburbs, Troy, Hamilton, Fairfield. (Counties: Butler, Darke, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Preble.)

Incumbent John Boehner (R-West Chester) is unopposed.

9th District North Central Ohio. Includes Toledo, Sylvania, Sandusky. (Counties: Lucas, Erie, Ottawa, Lorain.)

Veteran incumbent Marcy Kaptur (D) has resisted recent pressure from union leaders to enter the Governor's race.

10th District NE Ohio. Includes western suburbs of Cleveland. (County: Cuyahoga.)

Incumbent Dennis Kucinich (D) faces primary challenger Barbara Ferris (D) and Republican opponent Jason Werner (R).

11th District NE Ohio. Includes Cleveland and eastern suburbs. (County: Cuyahoga.)

Incumbent Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D) is unopposed.

12th District Central Ohio. Includes northwest suburbs of Columbus, Dublin, Delaware. (Counties: Delaware, Franklin, Licking.)

Nick Singh (D) will take on incumbent Patrick Tiberi (D-Columbus).

13th District NE Ohio. Includes Akron and eastern suburbs, Cuyahoga Falls, Lorain, Elyria, Brnswick, Strongsville. (Counties: Cuyahoga, Lorain, Medina, Summit.)

Incumbent Sherrod Brown is running for Senate. This is considered a very winnable Democratic seat, if not an outright safe one, and the jockeying for position is underway. The declared Democratic candidates are Chardon labor lawyer and former State Rep. Betty Sutton (D), who was warmly received into the race by labor leaders and the DCCC, and long-time Akron attorney, Democratic activist and WWII vet John Wolfe (D), and on the Republican side businessman Joe Ortega (R). According to a recent post at the excellent blog Ohio13, and also this editorial in the Akron Beacon Journal, the bid by former Congressman Tom Sawyer (D) to enter the race is in trouble due to poor fund raising among individual donors and lingering labor hostility over his "yes" vote on NAFTA. On the other hand, photogenic Youngstown-bred shopping center heiress Capri Cafaro, loser to Stephen LaTourette in OH-14 in 2004, is a likely candidate, and surprisingly has received an early endorsement from UAW Local 1714 in Lordstown. According to Ohio13, Lorain County Commissioner Ted Kalo (D), former State Rep. Walter Jones (D), and Lorain Mayor Craig Foltin (R) probably will not run, despite swirling rumors to the contrary. I've also heard the names of Lorain State Rep. Joe Koziura (D), attorney Michael Beer (R), and even Dennis' brother Gary Kucinich (D) mentioned.

14th District NE Ohio. Includes northeast suburbs of Akron, Willoughby, Mentor, Ashtabula. (Counties: Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Portage, Summit, Trumbull.)

Incumbent Steven LaTourette (R) will face either law professor Lewis Katz (D) or meteorologist and activist Palmer Peterson (D).

15th District Central Ohio. Includes Columbus and western suburbs, Hilliard, Marysville. (Counties: Franklin, Madison, Union.)

Entrenched incumbent Deborah Pryce (R-Columbus) will face energetic opposition from firebrand Mary Jo Kilroy (D).

16th District NE Ohio. Includes Canton, Massillon, Alliance, Wadsworth, Medina, Wooster, Ashland. (Counties: Ashland, Medina, Stark, Wayne.)

Incumbent Ralph Regula (R-Canton) has represented this district since 1973. Jeff Seemann (D) will oppose him again.

17th District NE Ohio. Includes Youngstown, Niles, Warren, Kent. (Counties: Mahoning, Portage, Summit, Trumbull.)

Incumbent Tim Ryan (D) against ... anyone?

18th District East Central Ohio. Includes Chillicothe, Zanesville, Mt. Vernon, Newark and New Philadelphia. (Counties: Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Guernsey, Harrison, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Knox, Licking, Morgan, Muskingum, Ross, Tuscarawas, Vinton.)

Incumbent Bob Ney (R-Bellaire) looms large as the next target in the Abramoff investigation. There's much talk that Ney's resignation is inevitable, but publicly Ney and the Ohio Republican Party deny any wrongdoing. Meanwhile, we have a spirited contest on the Democratic side among Dover Law Director Zack Space (D-Dover), Chillicothe Mayor Joe Sulzer, Jr (D), and training consultant Joe Woollard (D).

Senate Race

The incumbent Mike DeWine (R) will face either Northern Ohioan Sherrod Brown (D) , the current Congressman and former Secretary of State, or Paul Hackett (D), the personal injury lawyer and Iraq War veteran from Southern Ohio who nearly upset Jeanne Schmidt (R) in the August 2005 special election in OH-2nd.

Republican challengers John Mitchel (R), William Pierce (R), and David Smith (R) are not a serious threat to DeWine.

Sherrod Brown has raised the ire of Ohio bloggers by cancelling an appearance at Meet the Bloggers, scheduled for Jan. 14, reportedly due in part to hostility toward Ohio blogger Tim Russo.

Rasmussen polling on this race was diaried on DailyKos by JOEL1954 here. The poll was conducted on Jan. 3, with a MoE of 4.5%. DeWine has improved his numbers slightly but the race is still essentially tied; DeWine leads Hackett 43-39 and Brown 45-40.