Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Tuesday, February 28

Cong. 2nd, 6th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 18th: New Websites

New candidate websites are up in a number of Congressional races:

2nd - Dr. Victoria Wells Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) (under construction)

6th - Bob Carr (D-Poland)

11th - Lindsey String (R-Cleveland Heights)

12th - Edward S. Brown (D-Columbus)

13th - Craig Foltin (R-Lorain)

18th - James B. Harris (R-Zanesville)

ADDENDUM: Okay, just to be clear, these are just websites that have recently come to my attention in the last few days. There are many other Congressional candidates with sites, as indicated by links on the List (also linked on sidebar).

Sen: Audio of Brown (D) on Air America Available

The campaign of Senate candidate Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) has posted audio of Brown's interview with Jerry Spring on Air America this morning, in which Brown talks about his campaign and the United Arab Emirates port deal.

Secretary of State: Montgomery (R) Withdraws

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that County Recorder Robert G. Montgomery (R-Columbus), pictured, has withdrawn from the Secretary of State race. Montgomery's departure leaves State Rep. Jim Trakas (R-Independence) and County Clerk Greg Hartmann (R-Cincinnati) in the Republican primary, and Jennifer Brunner (D) unopposed on the Democratic side. Tim Kettler of the Green Party and independent John A. Eastman are also in the race.

OH House 21st: Hernandez (D) Website Up

Dean Hernandez (D-Westerville), pictured at a Democratic bowling event (Hernandez is on the left), a candidate for the Ohio House 21st District seat of retiring Linda Reidelbach (R-Columbus), has a campaign website up. Hernandez joined the U.S. Army Reserves in 1991. He attended Wright State University and is presently Director of Investment Operations for a local family-owned investment firm. His site discusses jobs and the economy, school funding, health care, and the environment as major issues.

Also in the race are Jean Herendeen Ackerman (D-Powell) and insurance executive Kevin Bacon (R-Columbus).

Monday, February 27

Cong. 13th: Sutton (D) Website Up

Hat tip to the excellent Ohio 13 Blog for the link to the new web site for Betty Sutton (D-Chardon), candidate for Sherrod Brown's 13th District Congressional seat.

OH Sen. 19th: Griffith (D) Holds Kick-Off Breakfast

Candidate for Ohio Senate 19th District Jason Griffith (D-Howard) will hold a kick-off breakfast on Saturday, March 4, 2006, at 8:00 a.m. at Mazza's Restaurant, 214 W. High Street, in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. Admission is $20. You can RSVP by email at blueohiofun06-at-yahoo.com. Griffith will speak about his vision for Ohio and seek support for his campaign. The candidate's friends and family will be there.

OH Sen. 27th: Franchetti (D) Withdraws From Race

Joshua Franchetti (D-Copley) has pulled out of the race for the Ohio Senate 27th Distict seat. Remaining candidates are the incumbent, Kevin Coughlin (R-Cuyahoga Falls), and two Democrats, Kevin M. Griffith (D-Cuyahoga Falls) and Judy Hanna (D-Akron).

Sunday, February 26

Cong. 18th: The Up Side of a Contested Primary ...

This story in the Chillicothe Gazette illustrates everything that is good about having a contested primary: testing and defining candidates, repeating and reinforcing the party's message, generating exposure and enthusiasm. In brief, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern and the three Democratic candidates for the 18th Congressional District seat now held by Bob Ney (R-Heath) were featured at the annual Muskingum County Democratic Women's Club Mardi Gras Party, which filled the dining room of Zak's Restaurant in Zanesville. Each had a chance to address the gathering, but most of the evening was spent talking with people one-on-one. Redfern started by attacking Republicans and getting the party faithful excited about the prospects of victory. He has visited 22 counties in the last month and found Democrats everywhere excited about breaking the Republican stranglehold on government.

The three candidates followed, each stressing the issues of jobs, health care and education, but from distinct perspectives. "I'm running because we need change," said Law Director Zack Space (D-Dover). "Government should be working on the issues of fair trade, health care and educating children, instead it's in the back pocket of special interests." Jennifer Stewart (D-Zanesville) emphasized educational opportunities and jobs, drawing on her experience as a member of the state board of education and the Zanesville school board. Mayor Joe Sulzer (D-Chillicothe) said his experience and leadership qualities as a state legislator, mayor, and city council member will separate him from the rest of the candidates. Too many jobs have left rural Ohio and new jobs must be created, he went on, something he has been involved with in Chillicothe. Health care "needs some common sense applied to it" and corporations must maintain pensions that retired employees have earned. The candidates did little bashing of Ney.

What's not to like about that? So long as the primary continues in this manner, with the candidates focusing on positives and reinforcing each other's basic themes, whichever one emerges victorious will be that much stronger in the general election.

On another note, it is encouraging that Redfern seems to be everywhere these days, doing his job of promoting candidates and firing up the party. There has been a fair amount of grumbling about him, having to do mainly with (1) the heavy-handed way in which he was selected, (2) his youth, and (3) being another white guy. I have some sympathy for that last point, feeling that an opportunity to reflect the inclusiveness and diversity of the party was missed, but to my way of thinking Redfern's energy and hard work during this election cycle should trump those objections.

Cong. 13th: ... And the Down Side?

The troubling side of a contested primary is highlighted in this piece in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, describing the shooting of two 30 minute television "infomercials" for candidate Capri Cafaro (D-Sheffield Village) at a United Auto Workers hall. The theme here is money ... lots of it. As the reporter, Steve Luttner, puts it, "as other candidates in the crowded race for the 13th Congressional District seat are scrambling to raise campaign contributions, the Youngstown shopping mall heiress can simply open her checkbook." Cafaro said it will cost about $30,000 to air the infomercials, but as the May 2nd primary gets nearer her campaign expects to spend $250,000 per week on saturation TV advertising. For a primary. "I want to give the people an opportunity to get to know me," Cafaro said. (Go to Jill Miller Zimon's excellent blog Writes Like She Talks for a couple of fine rants on Cafaro's expenditure of this kind of money on a primary. )

So, how will the other Democrats in this crowded primary respond? They're going to have to spend precious resources of their own, and it hasn't taken long for the long knives to come out. As stated in the article, "at least one of her opponents is openly questioning her integrity, noting that in 2003 she was given immunity during a trial in federal court related to [disgraced former Congressman James Traficant]. In her early 20s, she was president of a Virginia-based aerospace company started by her multimillionaire father, who pleaded guilty to bribing Traficant in an attempt to win contracts for the company. J.J. Cafaro testified against Traficant, who is in prison. Capri Cafaro was never charged with any wrongdoing." At the taping of the commercials, Cafaro responded to the Traficant affair by saying "I love my dad dearly. He made a mistake. I have done nothing illegal. I have never done anything unethical. I'm the one running for Congress, not my dad."

Bottom line - Cafaro's bank account makes her candidacy formidable in the abbreviated time frame of a primary, and a lot of spending on all fronts and a descent into negative campaigning appear to be inevitable.

Saturday, February 25

Cong. OH-6: Wilson (D) to Run as Write-In Candidate

As reported in the Columbus Dispatch here, State Sen. Charles Wilson (D-St. Clairsville) will run in the Democratic primary in the 6th Congressional District as a write-in candidate, after his election petitions were disqualified for having too few valid signatures. His opponents will be relative unknowns Bob Carr (D-Wellsville) and John Luchansky (D-Poland).

OH House 14th: Interim Appointment Snagged

In today's "Tipoff" column, Michael K. McIntyre of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reveals that the appointment of one of the contenders for the Ohio House 14th District seat being vacated by incumbent Dale Miller (D), who has been appointed to the Ohio Senate 23rd District seat of retiring Dan Brady (D), has hit a snag. Attorney Mike Foley (D), pictured, who is executive director of the Cleveland Tenants Organization, was picked by a five-person screening committee to fill out Miller's term. However, he couldn't get the required 20 votes from the Democratic caucus to get the seat. Candidate and former State Rep. Erin Sullivan Lally, who also wants the appointment, claims to have the votes. Democratic leadership hasn't said what they'll do. McIntyre suggests that the seat may be left vacant until the May primary.

Friday, February 24

Attorney General: GOP Poll Shows Big Lead for Montgomery (R) over Grendell (R); Former Governor Endorses Chandra (D)

Thanks to the excellent Buckeye Senate Blog for the link to this GOP-sponsored poll, reported by Attorney General candidate and current Auditor Betty Montgomery (R), pictured, which shows her leading primary opponent Sen. Tim Grendell (R-Chesterland) by 57% to 9%, with 33% percent undecided. The poll also shows that Montgomery leads Sen. Marc Dann (D-Youngstown), by 13%. Montgomery's statement did not include any numbers regarding the other Democratic candidate, former Cleveland Law Director Subodh Chandra (D-Cleveland), perhaps indicating that those numbers are not so favorable to Montgomery.

The Ohio Democratic Party endorsed Dann over Chandra, pictured, last Saturday, but as reported in the Cleveland Plain Dealer "blog" Openers, former Ohio Governor Richard Celeste supports Chandra. "I am convinced that by virtually any measure Subodh Chandra is our strongest choice," Celeste said. Chandra worked for Celeste's administration and went to Stanford with Celeste's son Christopher, now Chandra’s campaign manager.

State Issues: Blackwell's TEL Amendment Challenged

As reported in the Akron Beacon Journal and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Coalition for Ohio's Future, a group opposed to Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell's proposed Tax and Expenditure Limitation (TEL) amendment to the Ohio Constitution, has filed legal protests against petitions seeking to put the issue on the November ballot. Similar to the controversial TABOR amendment in Colorado, which was severely limited by voters last November, Blackwell's TEL amendment would limit state and local government annual spending growth to 3.5 percent or the sum of the rate of inflation plus population growth. Bill Faith, speaking for The Coalition for Ohio's Future, said the TEL amendment's expected ill effects on social services spending aren't the only reasons he's opposed. "It's about what it does to local governments, it's about what it does to all services that the public sector touches. It just hamstrings everybody."

If county boards of elections uphold the protests, Blackwell's organization would have time to collect new signatures to correct the problems.

Meanwhile Blackwell's gubernatorial opponent, Attorney General Jim Petro (R-Rocky River), recently joined with two state legislators in introducing resolutions that would put an alternative anti-government growth ballot initiative before voters. Petro contends that Blackwell's amendment would be disastrous for the state's budget and has proposed a Citizens' Amendment for Prosperity (CAP) which would limit state revenues to 5.5 percent of the state's personal income. If revenues exceeded the limit, the first 2.5 percent of the excess would go into a state rainy-day fund, while any beyond that would be given back to taxpayers. However, Petro's support for his own proposal is less than absolute, since he has said that he would drop his own amendment if Blackwell would abandon the other.

OH Gov: Republicans Squabble Over Alleged Bias and Suppressed Straw Poll

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has the scoop on the latest internal strife to wrack the Ohio Republican Party. According to their account, ORP Northeast Regional Director Karl Raszewski resigned his post because party officials are secretly promoting the gubernatorial candidacy of Jim Petro (R-Rocky River) while publicly expressing neutrality. Specifically, Raszewski says ORP Executive Director Chris McNulty suppressed the results of a State Central Committee straw poll that showed overwhelming support for Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. Raszewski wrote in an e-mail to party officials that if McNulty had "let everyone see the results, Petro would have likely left the race within 48 hours." ORP Chairman Bob Bennett reportedly discussed the poll results with party leaders but did not release them publicly. Raszewski also wrote that he objects to the ORP "assisting a primary in the governor's race when we supposedly didn't want one." He called Blackwell "clearly the better candidate for Ohio and for the Republican Party nationally," and said he was "disappointed to find out that people there did not like him and frequently worked against what's best for Ohio."

Bennett disputed Raszewski's charges. Bennett said he didn't reveal the poll results because neither candidate had been notified that a poll would be taken and he didn't want the results to be seen as an endorsement. He denied that McNulty supports Petro even though McNulty's new wife, Jenna Soccorsi, is a fund-raiser for Petro.

Bob Paduchik, Petro's campaign chairman, said "I don't think the party has shown anybody any favoritism - certainly not Jim Petro." Ken Blackwel (R-Cincinnati), on the other hand, said "I've known for years that Bob Bennett has emotional, historical and political ties to Jim Petro. I also know that I'm his political prodigal son and Bob Taft and Jim Petro are his favorite sons. It didn't surprise me or alarm me that he threw his protective cover over Jim."

Auditor: Sykes (D) Won't Face Election Charges, Reardon (D) to Leave Race

As reported in the Akron Beacon Journal here, the Summit County Board of Elections voted unanimously not to refer a case against Barbara Sykes (D-Akron) to the county prosecutor and sheriff for an investigation into illegal voting. Sykes' lawyer told the board that Sykes had no criminal intent when she voted in 2005 from her former address. Sykes had voted in September and November from her former address in Akron's Precinct 3-K after she had moved to Precinct 3-N. The ballots in the two precincts were the same.

Sykes has gained the endorsement of the Ohio Democratic Party over her primary opponent, County Treasurer John Reardon (D-Youngstown). Reardon canceled his appearance before the screening committee, indicating that he planned a related announcement sometime this week. As reported in the Youngstown Vindicator here, Reardon's actions appear to indicate that he will withdraw from the race. The Vindicator's telephone calls to Reardon and his chief deputy treasurer were not returned.

Cong. OH-12: Singh (D) Drops From Race

Nick Singh (D), the earliest announced opponent to incumbent Pat Tiberi (R-Westerville) in Ohio's 12th Congressional District, has posted a farewell message on his website. Singh states that Democrats "now have 5 fantastic candidates who each in their own right bring the best qualities for which we Democrats have long been waiting. A spectrum of talent that ranges from the vigor of youth to the experience of age, we have candidates who bring passion, fortitude, and knowledge to the primary -- and I wish them all well." The remaining Democrats in the race are Patricia Shaffer (D-Dublin), John Swords (D-Columbus), former Rep. Robert N. Shamansky (D-Columbus), Edward S. Brown (D-Columbus) and Michael Reilly (D-Powell).

Cong. OH-16: Seeman (D) Disqualified

Jeff Seeman (D-Canton) posted this diary on DailyKos, indicating that his election petitions to run for the 16th District Congressional seat of Ralph Regula (R-Navarre) were disqualified because too many of the signatures he collected are invalid, putting him below required fifty signatures. Seeman indicates that he will appeal this decision.

Cong. OH-13: Four Candidates' Petitions Disqualified

Thanks to commenter OhioExile for directing my attention to this story in the Akron Beacon Journal, indicating that the Summit County Board of Elections has voted to disqualify four candidates in the 13th Congressional District because their petitions did not have enough valid signatures: Ruth Nader Abboud (R-Hinckley Township), Anthony J. Cirino (R-Avon), Lawrence L. Jaycox Jr. (R-Elyria), and Daniel Goulder (D-Westlake). Pending the outcome of any appeals, thsi leave five Republicans and seven Democrats in the race.

Wednesday, February 22

Cong. OH-6: Wilson (D) Off Ballot

As reported by the AP here, State Sen. Charlie Wilson (D-St. Clairsville) has been removed from the Democratic primary ballot for failure to submit the required 50 valid signatures.

Updating of Candidate List Completed

I have now finished checking my List of Ohio Candidates (linked on the sidebar or here) against candidate petitions filed by the February 16 deadline. If I have made any mistakes or omissions, please let me know. Candidates, please provide URLs for your campaign sites or blogs and I will link them on the list.

OH House 90th: Grassbaugh (D) Back for Another Whack at Incumbent Collier (R)

As reported in the Mount Vernon News, dairy farmer and entrepreneur Duane Grassbaugh (D-Howard) will again go head-to-head with incumbent Thom Collier (R-Mt. Vernon). While Collier won their contest with 63% of the vote in 2004, Grassbaugh notes that he ran only a brief campaign that year.

OH House 77th, 78th, 82nd, 83rd, 86th, 94th: Petition Filings Confirmed

I called the Boards of Elections for Mercer, Shelby, Marion, Logan, Highland and Muskingum Counties to pin down election petition filings for the following races:

* Betsy Marshall (D-Eaton) will again oppose incumbent Keith Faber (R-Celina) in Ohio House District 77. Faber defeated Marshall by 69.80% to 30.20% in 2004.

* In Ohio House District 78, the seat being vacated by Derrick Seaver (R-Minster), the Democratic primary will feature Thomas Matthew (D-Wapakoneta), Adam Ward (D-Urbana) and Jason Dorsey (D-Sidney). On the Republican side, announced candidate Jon Umstead (R-Urbana) did not file. Instead, it will be John Adams (R-St. Paris), Michael Galluzzo (R-St. Paris) and Steven Hess (R-St. Paris) in the primary.

* In Ohio House District 82, as previously reported on this blog, bakery founder and Navy veteran Willie Pickens (D-Marion) is running against incumbent Steve Reinhard (R-Bucyrus). Reinhard defeated his last Democratic opponent, David Combs, by 62% to 38%.

* Incumbent Tony Core (R-Rushylvania) has a primary foe, Michael J. King (R-Caledonia), in Ohio House District 83. The winner will be opposed by Shawn Allen (D-Bell Center) in the general election. Core won this district in 2004 with 73% of the vote.

* Bill Horne (D-Hillsboro) will again oppose incumbent David Daniels (R-Greenfield) in Ohio House District 86. Horne lost to Daniels by 39% to 61% in 2004.

* Aaron B. Phillips (D-Zanesville) will take on incumbent Jim Aslanides (R-Coshocton) in Ohio House District 94. Aslanides was unopposed in 2004.

OH House 3rd, 36th, 38th, 40th, 66th, 70th: Races Finalized

Telephone calls to the Wayne, Montgomery, Clermont and Greene County Boards of Elections confirmed election petition filings in these races:

* Incumbent Jim Carmichael (R-Wooster) is unopposed in the Ohio House 3rd District.

* Beverly H. Smith (D-Dayton) will again oppose incumbent Arlene Setzer (R-Vandalia) in the Ohio House 36th District. Setzer defeated Smith by 62% to 38% in 2004.

* Carolyn Rice (D-Kettering) will challenge incumbent John J. White (R-Ketering) in the Ohio House 38th District. The last Democratic opponent to White, John R. Doll, got 39.36% of the vote in 2004.

* Martin Arbagi (R-Dayton) will take on incumbent Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) in the Ohio House 40th District. Strahorn's last Republican opponent, Glenn Jones, got 29.83% of the vote in 2004.

* William Newby (D) will run against incumbent Joe Uecker (R-Miami Township) in the Ohio House 66th District. Uecker ran unopposed in 2004.

OH Sen. 33rd, House 59th & 60th: Petition Filings Confirmed

I called the Mahoning County Board of Elections and confirmed elections petition filings as follows:

* In the race for term-limited State Sen. Robert F. Hagan's 33rd District seat, State Rep. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) filed but State Rep. Sylvester Patton (D-Youngstown) did not. County Recorder Ron Gerberry had filed election petitions previously but has since filed a request that they be withdrawn, confirming earlier reports that he would drop out of the race. Boccieri will face Tracey Monroe-Wimbush (R) in the general election.

* In the Ohio House 59th District race, incumbent Ken Carano (D-Austintown) is unopposed in the primary and will face Mark Hanni (R) in the general election. Carano received 61.79% of the vote in 2004.

* In the race for term-limited Rep. Boccieri's 60th District House seat, announced candidates Anthony Caldwell (D) and Bill Flickinger (D) did not file. The seven Democrats who did file are State Sen. Hagan, High School Principal Richard Gozur (D-Campbell), City Councilman Rufus Hudson (D-Youngstown), Mike Latessa (D-Youngstown), Ian Stublarec (D-Youngstown), City Councilman Dan Yemma (D-Struthers), and James Fortune (D). No Republican filed in this race.

OH Sen: Bush Drags Down DeWine (R), But Hackett Hurts Brown (D)

According to this recent poll, George Bush's approval rating in Ohio is the lowest of any state that voted for him in 2004. His performance as President is disapproved by 60% of Ohioans and approved by only 37%, a negative spread of 23 points. These numbers are essentially unchanged since January, revealing that the State of the Union speech gave Bush no bounce here at all.

With Republican Governor Bob Taft's approval ratings mired below 20%, and Bush viewed with distaste by nearly two-thirds of Ohioans, it comes as no surprise that this recent poll shows Sen. Mike DeWine (R) at 44% disapproval and 43% approval, with 12% undecided. This is the first negative spread for DeWine since last August, when he was at 43% disapproval to 42% approval. In the intervening time he had climbed to 48% approval in November but never broke through to majority approval, a critical threshhold for incumbents in re-election races, and has since dropped back down.

While DeWine appears to have a Bush problem, Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon), pictured, has a Hackett problem. Following the abrupt and acrimonous termination of Paul Hackett's Senate campaign, this recent Rasmussen poll showed that DeWine now leads Brown by nine percentage points, 46% to 37%. In January DeWine was ahead by five points, 45% to 40%, so the Hackett debacle appears to have cost Brown four points.

How deeply has Brown been wounded? Interestingly, the Rasmussen poll indicates that only 18% of Ohio voters followed the story very closely, another 22% followed it somewhat closely, and 23% didn't follow it at all. Overall, 29% said that Hackett was betrayed by party leaders, 15% say he was not, and 55% have no opinion. Among Democrats, 31% say he was betrayed and 24% say he was not. These numbers suggest that the harm to Brown is serious, but not devastating.

In the wake of Hackett's departure from the race, the Toledo Blade reported here on opposition research prepared by Hackett's staff. Basically, Hackett's staff suggested that Brown would be vulnerable in the general election due to votes he made in the 1990's to cut back on funding for intelligence. The Blade reports on reactions to that story today. The Ohio Republican Party reacted by touting Brown's votes yesterday in a press release titled "Sherrod Brown's intelligence problem," which said Brown was on a "mission to undermine national security." However, Brown was quick to defend himself. Brown is quoted as saying that he would not change his past votes on intelligence. "Part of it was we wanted more oversight of what was happening," he said. "Intelligence gathering, they had a lot of money and were not using it well. And clearly in 9/11, the Bush Administration had intelligence they didn't use. We needed internal reforms in intelligence gathering." He also criticized Bush and DeWine for not spending more on homeland security, for making Americans less safe by starting the Iraq War, and for a recent report that the Bush Administration will allow a Dubai-based company to manage U.S. ports.
"These guys are failing at [national security] every day. They're not going to get away with saying we're soft, because we're not."

OH Gov: Strickland (D) Touts Lead, Blackwell (R) Blasts Petro (R)

On his campaign web site and in an email to supporters, gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ted Strickland (D-Lisbon) is trumpeting this new Rasmussen poll that shows him leading Republican front-runner Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R-Cincinnati) by twelve points, 47% to 35%, with 12% undecided. This is an eight point increase from Rasmussen's January poll, which showed him leading Blackwell 44% to 40%. Strickland leads the other Republican candidate, Attorney General Jim Petro (R-Rocky River), in the new poll 44% to 37%, essentially unchanged from January.

On the Republican side of the race, Blackwell has unleashed a scathing 30-second TV attack ad and a similar radio spot against his opponent. The TV ad, described by the Toledo Blade here, starts with indicted Republican fundraiser Tom Noe, moves on to current Republican Governor Bob Taft's conviction on ethics violations last year, and then links Noe and Taft to the ongoing FBI investigation of allegations that Petro threatened attorneys with losing state legal work unless they contributed to his political campaign. The ad concludes: "Petro's ethics are worse than Taft's."

Taft's disastrously low approval rating of 16% makes it plain that the Taft name is a powerful political weapon, but it's shocking to see one member of Taft's own administration try to use it against another. As to the Noe scandal, Noe contributed to both Blackwell and Petro in prior campaigns. However, Blackwell hopes that Petro will be especially tainted on the theory that Petro, as Attorney General, failed to take prompt legal action against Noe.

Denunciation of Blackwell has been swift and furious. As reported in the Cleveland Plain Dealer "blog" Openers, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett denounced Blackwell's smear tactics, saying that Blackwell "knows the accusations in these ads are politically motivated, and this kind of guttural [sic] politics doesn't win votes. If we can't win with substantive ideas for leading Ohio, we don't belong in the race." Petro's campaign manager, Bob Paduchik, said "Ken Blackwell's campaign of lies will not distract voters from his failed policies and his out-of-control spending record."

Monday, February 20

OH House 72nd: Three Dems Compete to Challenge McGregor (R)

This story in the Springfield News-Sun profiles the three Democratic candidates who have filed election petitions to run against appointed incumbent Ross McGregor (R-Springfield) in the Ohio House 72nd District. City Commissioner Kevin O’Neill (D-Springfield) is quoted as saying that his business background will help him bring a new perspective to the school funding issue. He also wants to ease the concern of local governments worried there will be cuts each time a new budget is approved. "We need to stop scaring local governments," O’Neill said. Former Mayor Dale Henry (D-Springfield) said it is premature to focus on the issues. However, he said he can bring a different outlook than his opponents. "I’m convinced I can have a lasting and positive effect on Democrats," Henry said. Richard Spangler (D-Springfield), a stay-at-home father, said two issues he will focus on will be attracting jobs and fixing school funding. Just because the Springfield city school levy was recently passed shouldn’t stop the fight for the state to help similar districts. Spangler unsuccessfully ran for the seat two years ago, receiving 40.21% of the vote. The 72nd District covers Clark County.

OH House 93rd: Gadd (R) to Oppose Garrison (D)

Thanks again to a reader who sent me an article from the Marietta Times, reporting on election petitions filed for the Ohio House 93rd District. Incumbent Jennifer Garrison (D-Marietta) will be opposed in the general election by Donald Gadd (R-Byesville), mayor of Byesville. Gadd says that he is running for the General Assembly in order to bring to the region the success he has had promoting economic development and jobs in Byesville. Garrison cites her plan for financing public education as a principal motivation for seeking re-election.

Sunday, February 19

OH House 65th: Hill (R) to Oppose Harwood (D)

This story in the Warren Tribune-Chroncile reports that Councilman Arno Hill (R-Lordstown) has filed election petitions to run against incumbent Sandra Stabile Harwood (D-Niles) in the Ohio House 65th District. Harwood won 70.63% of the vote in 2004.

OH House 89th: Knauff (R) Runs Against Book (D)

Thanks to a reader for referring me to this storyin the Portsmouth Daily Times, reporting on election petitions filed in the Ohio House 89th District race. Tim Knauff (R), a small business owner and a police officer at the United States Enrichment Corp. in Piketon, Ohio, will take on Assistant Minority Leader Todd Book (D-McDermott)(pictured). "I'm running for the same reason I ran for county commissioner (in 2004)," Knauff is quoted as saying. "The No. 1 thing is jobs and unemployment." Knauff claims that Book has not done enough to bring jobs to the 89th District. Book's statement: "I feel I am able to make a difference and help move southern Ohio and the entire state forward. It is my hope that during the remainder of this term, and God willing, my next term, I will be able to further help our area and bring back confidence in our government." Book received 66.68% of the vote in 2004.

Cong. OH-12: Swords (D) Furious About Dispatch Error

Imagine you are a fresh face in an important political race, running for a seat held by an entrenched and well-funded incumbent. You work hard at building name recognition, but without funds for TV ads you must do it by meeting people individually or in small groups, at meetings and candidate forums. Then, a major newspaper, through a bit of journalistic bungling, misrepresents to hundreds of thousands of readers that you belong to the incumbent's political party. How frustrating is that?

This is what happened to John Swords (D-Columbus), running for the 12th District Congressional seat of Pat Tiberi (R-Westerville), in this story in the Columbus Dispatch. Swords, a proud Democrat, is none too pleased to be misidentified as a Republican, as he stated in no uncertain terms in an email message to supporters: "Now, all those citizens I met in Licking County will ask if I am a Republican. All of the good people I have met at local Democrat functions will wonder what I was doing there if I am a Republican. All of the citizens I met going door-to-door will wonder if they misunderstood my party affiliation. The campaign today has already received several calls about the article and people are concerned about my party affiliation."

At the very least, the Dispatch owes Swords a correction. A profile of the candidate would be an appropriate way to set the record straight. How about it?

Saturday, February 18

OH Sen 25th, House 9th & 10th: Familiar Faces in Unfamiliar Races

From Michael McIntyre's column in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer (sorry - couldn't find direct link in the online edition), some interesting points about Thursday's petition filings:

* Former Euclid Mayor David Lynch (R), thought to be interested in challenging Cuyahoga County Democratic Chair Jimmy Dimora for the latter's County Commissioner seat, is instead running for Eric Fingerhut's open 25th District Ohio Senate seat. His opponent there is State Rep. Lance T. Mason (D-Shaker Heights).

* Nelson Cintron Jr (D-Cleveland), having suffered defeat in his bid for re-election to Cleveland City Council, has joined the crowded Democratic primary for the Ohio House 10th District seat being vacated by term-limited State Rep. Shirley Smith, who has obtained the endorsement of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party in her bid for the 21st District Ohio Senate seat of term-limited Minority Leader C. J. Prentiss (also a crowded race).

* Controversial Rev. Jimmie Hicks Jr., having lost his Cleveland Heights City Council seat to Mark Tumeo (D-Cleveland Heights) in 2005, has filed to run for the open 9th District Ohio House seat of term-limited State Rep. Claudette Woodard (D-CLeveland Heights), who is running for Ohio Senate against Shirley Smith. The startling fact here is that Hicks has switched parties -- he is running unopposed as a Republican. This guarantees that he will face either former State Rep. Barbara Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) or newcomer Julian Rogers (D-Cleveland Heights) in the general election.

There is a possibility of political synergy between Hicks' upstart House bid and the possible gubernatorial campaign of Ken Blackwell (R-Cincinnati) next fall. As readers may recall, Hicks was a strident opponent of Cleveland Heights' Domestic Partner Registry, voted in by Cleveland Heights residents in 2003. Hicks actually filed a lawsuit against the registry, assisted by a far-right Christian group, the dismissal of which was affirmed on appeal in 2005. Tumeo, Hicks' replacement on City Concil, is openly gay and was supported by the Stonewall Democrats. Hicks has a loyal following among certain African-American voters in Cleveland Heights, and he is perfectly positioned to make the rightwingers' pet issues of gay marriage and gay adoption, etc., the centerpiece of a noisy campaign. The top of the Republican ticket in Ohio could be an African-American candidate highlighting the same themes.

The Red and The Black

Okay, since I have not yet been able to cross-check my entire list of Ohio candidates with reports of election petitions actually filed by the February 16 deadline, what I've done is change the unchecked parts of the list to red type. Those parts are based on news accounts and various other pre-February 16 sources of information, so regard them as "preliminary" or "unofficial." As I get access to more data about election petitions, I'll change the confirmed candidate information from red to black.

Friday, February 17

Columbus Area Races Updated

Many thanks to a friend who just sent me an official list of petitions filed for the following Columbus area races, which I have updated on my list: Congressional races 12 and 15; Ohio Senate races 3 and 15; and Ohio House races 19-27. Some names that are new to me:

* Edward S. Brown (D-Columbus) and Michael Reilly (D-Powell) are additional candidates in the Democratic primary for Pat Tiberi's 12th Congressional District seat, joining Nick Singh, Paddy Schaffer, John Swords and Robert Shamansky.

* John M. Roscoe (R-Columbus) will oppose incumbent Ray Miller in the Ohio Senate 15th District race.

* Beverly Campbell (D-Gahanna) joins Edward Nyhan (D-Bexley) in the primary to determine an opponent to incumbent Jim McGregor (R-Gahanna) in Ohio House District 20.

* Insurance executive Kevin Bacon (R-Columbus) obtained the Republican party endorsement and will run for the open Ohio House District 21 seat of retiring incumbent Linda Reidelbach (R). Jean Herendeen Ackerman and Dean C. Hernandez are the Democratic candidates.

* James B. Agler, Chris Courtney, and Steve Von Jasinsky join Traci Johnson and Ted Celeste in the Democratic primary in Ohio House District 24. Geoffrey C. Smith (R) is the incumbent.

* Michael D. Wiles (R-Columbus) will oppose incumbent Dan Stewart (D-Columbus) in Ohio House District 25.

* Clarence Glover, Tracy Heard, and Jennifer Scott will challenge incumbent Mike Mitchell (D-Columbus) in the Democratic primary in Ohio House District 26. Michael Elicson is the Republican candidate.

* John E. Jufko (R-Columbus) will oppose incumbent Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) in Ohio House District 27.

OH House 44th: Green (D) Bows Out

Candidate William T. Green (D-Akron) has posted a message on his web site, thanking his supporters and stating that he is bowing out of the race.

Various Races Updated

By checking the Cincinnati Enquirer web site and CentralOhio.com, I have been able to update my list as to Congressional races 1, 2, 8 and 18; Ohio Senate races 29 and 31; and Ohio House races 5, 73, 76 and 85. Some highlights:

* In the 18th Congressional District, scandal-tainted incumbent Bob Ney (R-Heath) will be challenged in the Republican primary by financial anlayst James Broadbelt Harris (R-Zanesville).

* Morton Meier (D) will oppose House Majority Leader John Boehner in the 8th Congressional District.

* Incumbent Jean Schmidt (R) in the 2nd Congressional District will be challenged by two new Republican candidates in the primary, James E. Constable and Deborah A. Kraus, as well as by the previously-announced challenger, former Rep. Bob McEwen.

* April Howland (D) will oppose incumbent John Carey (R-Welston) in the Ohio Senate 17th District.

Cong. OH-6 and OH-12: Wilson (D) in Jeopardy; Shamansky (D) to Oppose Tiberi

The Columbus Dispatch reports that the campaign of State Sen. Charlie Wilson (D), the front-runner in the race for Ted Strickland's open 6th District seat, is in jeopardy. Wilson’s campaign manager was informed by Belmont County officials that it fell short of the 50 valid signatures of electors needed to qualify, despite filing petitions with 96 signatures.

In other news, the Dispatch reports that former Congressman Robert N. Shamansky will challenge three-term Republican incumbent Pat Tiberi in the 12th Congressional District. Shamansky represented the 12th District from 1981-83, but was defeated in 1984 by Republican John R. Kasich.

Northeast Ohio Races

Thanks to the Toledo Blade, I've now been able to update my list as to candidates in Northeast Ohio races: Congressional races 4, 5, and 9; Ohio House races 6, 46-49, and 74-76; and Ohio Senate races 1 and 11. A few notable points:

* Announced candidate John Kostyo (D) did not file in the 4th Congressional District, leaving only Richard Siferd (D-Lima) on the Democratic side. Republican front-runner State Sen. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) is joined by five other candidates on the Republican side.

* In Ohio House District 74, announced candidate Ted Penner, a Noble Township trustee, did not file. Four other Republicans will vie for the chance to run against Wittenberg University student Ben McCullough (D-Montpelier). Go, Ben!

* Of all the races on which the Blade reported, only incumbent Rep. Mark Wagoner Jr (R-Toledo) of the Ohio House 46th District can coast to re-election. All of the other incumbents picked up opponents.

* The Blade reports that Ohio Republican Party Executive Director Chris McNulty filed petitions in his own name to preserve the party's place on the ballot in the race for Auditor, in case a court voids the candidacy of State Rep. Mary Taylor (R-Green), based on a new state election law she may have violated.

Note on Updating Candidate List

Due to non-blog obligations (try saying THAT fast), I have not been able to update my List of Ohio Candidates in light of yesterday's filings as quickly as I would like. However, thanks to charts published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal today, I have at least been able to update the Northeast Ohio races. (That includes Congressional races 9-11, 13-14, and 16-17; Ohio Senate races 13 and 21-29; and Ohio House races 7-18, 41-45, 50-52, 56-58, 62-63, 68-69, and 97-98.) A few observations:

* Seventeen petitions were filed in Congressional District 13, but none of them were for rumored candidate Ted Kalo (D). Former city councilman and brother of current Congressman Gary Kucinich (D) brings a familiar name to the race, as does car dealer and brother of automobile legend Charles DeLorean (R).

* Neither Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-9th) nor Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-11th) have the luxury of running unopposed, but Rep. Tim Ryan (D-17th) does.

* After much discussion on DailyKos.com about whether Jeff Seeman (D) would file again to run against Ralph Regula (R-16th), he did. So did Tom Mason (D) and Thomas Shaw (D).

* Diana Huska (D) will oppose former candidate Sue Morano (D) in the Ohio Senate 13th District primary, not Jose Candelario (D) as I had believed.

* City Councilman Trevor Elkins (D-Newburgh Heights) dropped his bid for the 21st District Ohio Senate seat of term-limited Senate Minority Leader C.J. Prentiss (D), but there are three new Democratic candidates in the mix, along with the endorsed candidate State Rep. Shirley Smith (D) and established candidates State Rep. Annie L. Key (D) and State Rep. Claudette Woodard (D).

* Former City Councilman Jimmie L. Hicks (D-Cleveland Heights) is in the race for the 9th District Ohio House seat, along with endorsed candidate and former State Rep. Barbara Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) and political newcomer Julian Rogers (D-Cleveland Heights).

* The field of Democratic candidates for the open District 10 Ohio House seat has grown to eight, and for the open District 11 Ohio House seat has grown to seven.

* State Rep. Joe Koziura (D-Lorain), long rumored as a potential candidate in several races, will run for re-election in Ohio House District 56.

OH House: Akron-Area Races Finalized

This roundup in the Akron Beacon Journal identifies the contestants in area Ohio House races, based on yesterday's filings of election petitions. In the 41st District, Democratic incumbent Brian G. Williams (D-Akron) will face either football star Tom Cousineau (R-Akron) or Stephen Murphy (D-Akron). In the 42nd District, Republican incumbent John Widowfield (R-Cuyahoga Falls) will be opposed by either Paul Colavechhio (D-Cuyahoga Falls) or Adam M. Van Ho (D-Hudson). The 43rd District race, where incumbent Mary Taylor (R-Uniontown) is running for Auditor, will feature Jack Sarver (D-Tallmadge), Christopher Stoll (D-New Franklin), or Stephen Dyer (D-Tallmadge) against Christine L. Croce (R-Green). The 44th District, which is the seat Barbara Sykes (D-Akron) is vacating to run for Auditor, has University Professor Vernon Sykes (D-Akron), William T. Green (D-Akron), and Patrick Bravo (D) in the Democratic primary and Joseph D. Crawford (R-Akron) on the Republican side. In the 45th District, incumbent Bob J. Otterman (D-Akron) will face Joshua L. Jones (R-Akron). In the 50th District, incumbent John P. Hagan (R-Alliance) will face John Johnson (D-Massillon). In the 51st District, it's Republican incumbent W. Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton) against Kody V. Gonzalez (D-North Canton). Finally, in the 52nd District, incumbent William J. Healy II (D-Canton) will face Eric Waldrop (R-Canton).

Cong. OH-14: Blanchard (D) to Make Fourth Run Against LaTourette (R)

Accountant Dale Blanchard (D-Solon) has filed to run for the fourth time for the 14th District Congressional seat held by Steve LaTourette (R-Concord Township). In 2000 Blanchard captured 31 % of the vote, in 2002 he won 28%, and in 2004 he lost in the primary to Capri Cafaro (D). The other Democratic candidates in the race are law professor Lew Katz and meteorologist Palmer J. Peterson. Hat tip to Pho at Pho's Akron Pages for the info!

Thursday, February 16

Oh Sen 31st: Householder (R) Won't Run

The Cleveland Plain Dealer "blog" Openers is reporting that former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R), still under investigation by the IRS and FBI, has decided not to run for the Ohio Senate 31st District seat of term-limited incumbent Jay Hottinger (R-Newark). Having conducted polling in the district, Householder opted to forego joining State Rep. Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) and State Rep. Ron Hood (R-Ashville) in that Republican primary and will instead run for re-election as Perry County Auditor.

OH House 32nd: Bolton (D), Wilson (D) and Baldwin (D) Join Race

The Cincinnati Enquirer political "blog" is reporting that at least three candidates will oppose Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory's brother Dale Mallory (D-Cincinnati) in the primary for the Ohio House 32nd District seat of term-limited Catherine Barrett (D-Cincinnati). (Barrett is running against newly-appointed incumbent Eric Kearney (D-Cincinnati) for the Ohio Senate 9th District seat.) The three challengers to Mallory are former county recorder Eve Bolton (D-College Hill), former City Council candidate Eric Wilson (D), and first-time candidate Yvette Barbara Baldwin (D-University Heights).

OH House 7th: Valencic (R) to Oppose Yuko (D) Again

Beverly Valencic (R-Euclid) has filed paperwork with the Ohio Secretary of State to again oppose incumbent Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) in the Ohio House 7th District. Yuko defeated Valencic in 2004 by 74% to 26% of the vote.

OH Sen 19th: Burkhart (D) Joins Race

Thanks to Ohio House 90th District candidate Duane Grassbaugh (D-Howard) for letting me know that Thomas E. Burkhart (D-Danville), who ran for Congress against Mike Oxley (R-4th) in 1990 and against Ralph Regula (R-16th) in 1996, is running for the Ohio Senate in the 19th District against incumbent Bill Harris (R-Ashland). Burkhart joins Jason Griffith in the Democratic primary there. In 2002, Harris defeated Jack Campbell (D) by 67.58% to 32.42%.

Wednesday, February 15

Cong. OH-2: Brinkman (R) Won't Run

As reported by the excellent people at Ohio 2d Blog, State Rep. Tom Brinkman (R) has announced that he will not join former Rep. Bob McEwen (R) as an additional challenger to incumbent Jean Schmidt (R) in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District. According to Brinkman, his polling shows that either he or McEwen could beat Schmidt in a two-way contest, but Schmidt would likely prevail in a three-way race.

OH House 92nd: Struble (D) Joins Phillips (D) in Primary Race

As detailed in the Athens News here, school board official Michael Struble (D-Syracuse) has officially joined city council member Debbie Phillips (D-Athens) in the Democratic primary race to determine an opponent to incumbent Jimmy Stewart (R-Athens) in the Ohio House 92nd District. The Democratic candidate got 41.39% of the vote in this district in 2004.

The condition of Ohio's public education system is the paramount issue for both Phillips and Struble. Struble represents Meigs County's Southern Local School District on the Athens-Meigs Educational Service Center Governing Board, and also serves as president and legislative liaison for the board.

OH House 82nd: Pickens (D) to Oppose Incumbent Reinhard (R)

This story at CentralOhio.com reports on the candidacy of bakery owner and 22-year Navy veteran Willie Pickens (D-Marion), who will oppose incumbent Steve Reinhard (R-Bucyrus) in the Ohio House 82nd District. Pickens is quoted as saying that he decided to run six months ago, prompted mostly by a desire to help education funding. "I plan to go door to door during the campaign and get people's opinions on the issues that affect them. When I'm elected I will go to township trustees meetings, school board and council meetings. I will not disappear to Columbus," Pickens said. "We must bring jobs to this area, but we must bring the right kinds of jobs to keep the new generation of folks coming up here." By representing the people and refusing to be another cog in the corrupt Ohio Statehouse, Pickens promised to help restore honor to the government. "I have the courage to listen to all sides and decide what's best for my constituents, even if it's not what's best for my political party." The Democratic candidate got 37.99% of the vote in the 82nd District in 2004.

OH House 32nd: Herd (D) Leaves Race

Nate Livingston at Black Cincinnati Blog reports that Samantha Herd (D-Cincinnati) has dropped out of the race for the 32nd District House seat now held by term-limited Catherine Barrett (D-Cincinnati). Herd's announcement, in which she endorses remaining candidate Dale Mallory (D-Cincinnati), is quoted in full in the blog post.

I'm a little unclear if there are any other candidates in this race. I had heard that Aryeh Alex (D) was running, but his web site is down. Nate Livingston mentions Eve Bolton as a possible challenger to Mallory, but not in a definite way and I have no further information about it.

OH Sen 7th, House 28th, 29th, 35th: New Candidates

A check of the Hamilton County Democratic Party web site reveals some new candidates in Cincinnati-area Ohio Senate and House races. Rick Smith (D) will be running against incumbent Robert Schuler (R-Sycamore Township) for the 7th District Senate seat, not for the Ohio House as previously reported. The Democratic candidate got 28.64% of the vote in the 7th District in 2002.

Connie Pillich (D-Cincinnati) will oppose incumbent James T. Raussen (R-Springdale) for the 28th District House seat, where the Democratic candidate got 46.84% of the vote in 2004. In the 29th District House race it will be Brent Grey (D-Cincinnati) challenging incumbent Louis W. Blessing, Jr. (R-Cincinnati), whose Democratic opponent got 43.86% of the vote in 2004. In the 35th District House campaign, incumbent Michelle G. Schneider (R) will be opposed by Karen Adams (D-Kings Mills). The Democratic candidate got 27.36% of the vote in that district in 2004.

Cong. OH-13: Republican Primary Looking Very Crowded

The Cleveland Plain Dealer covers Lorain Mayor Craig Foltin's entry into the Republican primary in Ohio's 13th Congressional District here. Foltin indicates that local and national Republican leaders urged him to put his hat into the ring. In the general election, at least, Foltin plans to play down his Republican affiliation and seek votes from independents and Democrats. The Republican field that Foltin enters is already rather crowded. Other contenders are attorney David McGrew (R-Akron), businessman Joe Ortega III (R-Strongsville), car dealer Charles DeLorean (R-Medina), and Anthony Cirino (R-Avon).

Cong. OH-18: Stewart (D) to Enter Race

Noted in this post at the excellent Licking County Pro-Active Citizens (LICOPAC) blog is the entry of Ohio Board of Education Vice President Jennifer Stewart (D-Zanesville) into the race to determine a Democratic opponent to scandal-tainted Rep. Bob Ney (R-Heath). Stewart was formerly a teacher in Zanesville. Major Democratic candidates already in the race are Dover Law Director Zack Space and Chillicothe Mayor Joe Sulzer. Jeff Woollard is also running.

Tuesday, February 14

Atty Gen: Grendell (R) Next to Go?

The Cleveland Plain Dealer "blog" Openers is suggesting that State Sen. Tim Grendell (R-Chesterland) will drop out of the Attorney General race by Thursday's filing deadline, leaving Auditor and former Attorney General Betty Montgomery as the only Republican candidate.
UPDATE: Well ... not so much. At a 1:00 pm press conference today (2/15), Grendell surprised reporters by insisting that he is staying in the race. So, the anonymous commenter is right, at least for now!

OH Gov: Petro (R) Investigated by FBI, Assailed by Blackwell (R)

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Jim Petro (R-Rocky River) is besieged on multiple fronts. The Cleveland Plain Dealer "blog" Openers reports that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating allegations that Petro personally took lucrative special counsel work away from an Akron law firm after the firm's president refused to donate to his campaign. Jack Morrison, president of the law firm, said he has been contacted by the FBI and has agreed to meet with an agent on Wednesday. At the same time, as reported in the Toledo Blade, Petro's Republican primary opponent Ken Blackwell (R-Cincinnati) has launched a savage assault against Petro over the Noe/Coingate scandal. “Where was Jim Petro while Tom Noe allegedly pilfered millions of Ohio taxpayer dollars?” asked Mike Hernon, Blackwell’s campaign manager. Hernon went on to accuse Petro of ignoring warnings from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and special counsels to investigate the investment practices of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, which gave Mr. Noe $50 million to invest in rare coins. "On top of that, while Tom Noe was alleged to be defrauding Ohioans, Jim Petro was giving taxpayer-funded special counsel work to Tom Noe’s wife. That might be called the ultimate 'double dip,'" Mr. Hernon added.

Cong OH-4: Gilb (R) Drops Out

As reported in the Toledo Blade here, State Rep. Mike Gilb (R-Findlay) has quit the race to succeed Mike Oxley (R) in Ohio's 4th Congressional District. Gilb said continuing his campaign "would not be in the best interest of promoting party unity." Gilb also said that he does not intend to seek re-election to the 76th District seat in the Ohio House. Prior to announcing his Congressional bid, Gilb had expressed interest in running for the Ohio Senate, but there is no indication that he will revive that effort. Gilb is one of ten co-sponsors of atrocious H.B. 515, a measure that would decrease the chances of children in state custody from being placed in loving homes by barring gay couples as foster or adoptive parents.

Gilb's departure leaves front-runner State Sen. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) to face atorney Charles Weasel (R-Findlay) and businessman Jim Stahl (R-Findlay) in the Republican primary, with attorneys Richard Siferd (D-Lima) and John Kostyo (D-Findlay) squaring off in the Democratic primary. Mansfield-Richland Area Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Nestor (I) and Nathan Martin (I) appear to be running as independents.

OH Sen: Hackett (D) Pledges to Continue Speaking Out, Calls on Supporters to Fight On

From Paul Hackett's email message to his supporters, the following encouraging words. Although Hackett feels betrayed by his party and will not run for Congress in 2006, he vows to continue speaking out. He calls on his supporters not to give up on the Democratic Party but to work to improve it:

To my friends and supporters, I pledge that I will continue to fight and to speak out on the issues I believe in. As long as I have the microphone, I will serve as your voice.

It is with my deepest respect and humility that I thank each and every one of you for the support you extended to our campaign to take back America, and personally to me and my family. Together we made a difference. We changed the debate on the Iraq War, we inspired countless veterans to continue their service by running for office as Democrats and we made people believe again. We must continue to believe.

Remember, we must retool our party. We must do more than simply aspire to deliver greatness; we must have the commitment and will to fight for what is great about our party and our country; Peace, prosperity and the freedoms that define our democracy.

Rock on.

Paul Hackett is a great man whose voice and determination are badly needed in this nation. I look forward to seeing him on the campaign trail working to support the many Afghanistan and Iraq War Veterans inspired to run for office as Democrats by his example. And, I dedicate myself to working hard to revitalize and improve our party as we push forward.

Addendum: I realize there's a lot of rage and pain out there today, but I agree with Cindy at Heightsmom on this one. Those of you who are swearing off the Democratic Party are doing a disservice to Paul and everything he has been striving to achieve. The party needs changing, so take up the task of changing it. Don't turn this into a victory for those other people, the ones who have run this state into the ground.

Monday, February 13

OH Sen: Hackett (D) to Drop Out of Race

There are signs that Paul Hackett (D-Indian Hill) may indeed comply with the request by DCCC Chair Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) and leave the Senate race to run in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District. The Cleveland Plain Dealer "blog" reports this afternoon that Hackett has canceled an appearance on MSNBC Hardball scheduled for later today. Hackett's spokesman denied an earlier report of Hackett's withdrawal that was spurred by an email from Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, but the spokesman did indicate that Hackett would be making a statement later. And now Buckeye Senate Blog reports hearing that Hackett will announce his withdrawal form the Senate race tomorrow.
UPDATE: Faminehorse at the terrific blog Psychobilly Democrat has a nice roundup of the Mallory-based report and its aftermath.
2nd UPDATE: The Cleveland Plain Dealer "blog" now quotes Hamilton County Democratic Chairman Tim Burke as saying that both he and Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory were told Hackett would drop out of the race today.
3rd UPDATE: It's official, as reported in the Columbus Dispatch here. The surprise is that Hackett will NOT run for Congress. Feeling betrayed by his party, he says he will withdraw from politics altogether. As for my reaction, this is a case where getting half of what one wants is worse than getting naught.

Cong 13th: Foltin (R) To Make It Official

Scott is reporting at Word of Mouth Blog that Lorain Mayor Craig Foltin (R) will officially announce his campaign for the 13th Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) tomorrow night. Foltin joins attorney David McGrew and businessman Joe Ortega III in the Republican primary. The packed Democratic side includes Capri Cafaro, Betty Sutton, Tom Sawyer, and John Wolfe as officially announced candidates, and Gary Kucinich, Ted Kalo, and Elyria Mayor Bill Grace as unofficial contenders.

OH Gov: Fingerhut (D) Drops Out of Race

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that Eric Fingerhut (D-Shaker Heights) will announce his withdrawal from the gubernatorial race, leaving Ted Strickland and Bryan Flannery as contenders for the Democratic nomination.

OH House 78th: Umstead (R) Seeks Nomination

A new campaign filing at the Secretary of State website indicates that Jon Umstead (R-Urbana) will seek the 78th District Ohio House seat being vacated by Derrick Seaver (R-Minster). Seaver initially won this seat as a very young Democrat, later switching parties. He is one of the co-sponsors of the odious H.B. 515, a bill to bar adoptions or foster parenting by gay couples. Democrats in the race are Thomas Matthew (D-Wapakoneta), Adam Ward (D-Urbana), and Jason Dorsey (D-Sidney). The 78th District includes Shelby County and part of Auglaize County.

U.S. Senate: Hackett Called Upon to Switch Races

As reported in the Columbus Dispatch today, DCCC chair Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) has gone public with his desire for Paul Hackett (D-Indian Hill) to drop his bid for the Senate seat of Mike DeWine (R) and instead run again in OH-2 against Jean Schmidt (R), leaving a clear path for Senate candidate Sherrod Brown (D-Avon). Rep. Tim Ryan (D), a Hackett fan and early supporter, is quoted as echoing Emanuel's feeling in the matter.

Knowing that I will anger many in the blogosphere, let me state here and now that I agree. It would be best for the party. Our chances of wresting control of Congress are improving, but every single seat is critical. Hackett has the visibility, the funding, and the message to win that OH-2 race. In the Senate race, national money will be pouring into DeWine's coffers, and the Dems can't afford the expense of a primary battle.

It is quite possible that Hackett would fare better against DeWine in the general election than Brown, but I don't think that his edge is clear enough to settle the matter, and I would rather have two such strong candidates in two different races.

I love Hackett. I don't want him to go away, or to stop speaking out. However, it has always bothered me that he has no significant legislative experience as a foundation for running for the Senate. (Barack Obama (D-IL) was considered something of a novice in a national race, but at least he had substantial experience as a State Senator.) The House of Representatives is the more logical place for a non-legislator to seek a place in the national spotlight.

It bothers me, as it bothers many, that Brown encouraged Hackett to run and then turned around and ran against him. It wasn't fair. This decision, however, should not turn on what's fair to one candidate, but what is best for the Democratic Party going forward. Although it's a difficult call in some ways, on balance I want Hackett to switch to the Congressional race and clean Schmidt's clock, and I want Brown to be able to immediately focus all of his attention and resources on defeating DeWine.

OH Sen 27th: Griffith (D) Launches Campaign Site

Kevin Griffith, Democratic candidate for the 27th District Ohio Senate seat held by Kevin Coughlin (R-Cuyahoga Falls), has a campaign site up. Griffith credits his Peace Corps service in Uzbekistan and his relief work for victims of the tsunami in Southeast Asia for forging his determination to run for public office. He states on his web site: "Like you, I want a secure and prosperous Akron and northeast Ohio. Our community has this potential because our people are courageous and hardworking! We have intelligence and drive. And we need a government that helps us achieve our goals, not its own." Other Democratic candidates in the race are Josh Francetti and Judy Hanna. Hat tip to Redhorse at Psychobilly Democrat Blog for the link.

Cong. OH-2: Downey (D) Launches Web Site

Thanks to the excellent Ohio 2d Blog for publicizing the new campaign site for 2d District Congressional candidate Gaby Downey (D). Downey, a high school history and government teacher, states on her site: "Throughout American history, it is the middle class that has taken aim at corruption and inequality. The ineptitude and greed in government has gotten to the point that we need a drastic change in leadership. We have gotten away from the middle class values of compassion, kindness and compromise in our government. As a member of the productive, hard-working middle class I believe I can help make this needed change." Other Democratic candidates in the race are Jim Parker, Jeff Sinnard, Thor Jacobs, and Dr. Victoria Wells Wulsin.

Hamilton County Commissioner: Pepper (D) to Oppose Heimlich (R)

This blog entry at Cincinnati Beacon reviews indications over the weekend that David Pepper (D-Cincinnati) will run against former Blackwell running mate Phil Heimlich (R) for Hamilton County Commissioner. This appears to kill speculation that Pepper might enter the Congressional race in OH-2 or the Attorney General race.
UPDATE: It's official.

Sunday, February 12

OH House: Hate-Mongering Bigots (R) Introduce Anti-Adoption Bill

Targeting helpless children, Republican "legislators" have introduced H.B. 515, a hate law that would limit the chances for the 20,000 Ohio children in state or county custody of being placed in loving homes. As has become all too usual for the wingnut-dominated Republican party, this loathsome bill is supported by "truthy"-sounding junk science. The bill's principal sponsor, Ron Hood (R-Ashville), claims that studies have shown that youngsters do best in a home where they're raised by a mother and a father. The correct scientific term for this claim is "a lie." Any objective look at the pertinent studies shows that youngsters do no better or worse with straight versus gay parents. Of course, this falsification of science comports nicely with the Republican treatment of "intelligent design" and "abstinence" programs, and the dire threats of mercury pollution and global warming. As Sen. Inhofe (R-OK) likes to say, "Global warming is the second greatest hoax after the separation of church and state." Ri-i-i-ight.

Also consistent with other vile Republican policies, this piece of legislative offal purports to advance "morality." There are indeed true moral crises in the world today, and they are: the grotesque disparity between rich and poor (which is rapidly advancing due to Republican subservience to corporations and the super-rich), 46 million Americans without health insurance, degradation of the environment, the low minimum wage, the lack of jobs, and - oh yeah - the unjust and futile war in Iraq that is making us less and less safe against terrorism.

But no, the "moral" front upon which our Republican legislators wish to focus is pandering to fear, ignorance, and homophobia. Sounds like Wingnut GOTV to me. The Jesus whom I revere, by the way, is much more about acceptance, respect, and caring for the sick and the poor than about hatred and bigotry toward gays. So as to those of you who mistakenly think that your narrow-minded and perverted obsession with other people's sex lives is an acceptable expression of Christianity, I beg to differ. And trying to impose your twisted religious views on the rest of us through legislation is about as Un-American as anything I can think of.

UPDATE:Contact information for the ten co-sponsors is at Buckeye Senate Blog. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, this particular piece of hate legislation is doomed to fail, citing a staffer for the House Majority Leader, but this issue is not going away. Far-right "family values" groups are pushing it hard, and it may yet reappear in Ohio as a ballot initiative.

Kudos to Ohio House 21st Dist. candidate Jean Herendeen Ackerman (D-Columbus) for coming out strong against H.B. 515. She is running for the seat of Linda Reidelbach, a term-limited co-sponsor of the bill. Please join me in sending some dollars and/or volunteering some time to support her campaign!

Friday, February 10

OH House: New Faces in Seven Races

CORRECTED & NEWLY UPDATED: A check of new filings at the Ohio Secretary of State web site reveals new candidates in seven Ohio House races. Brent Gray (D-Cincinnati) will oppose incumbent James T. Raussen (R-Springdale) in the 28th District, where the last Democratic candidate garnered 46.84% of the vote. David Reilly (R-Uniontown) will run for the 43rd District seat being vacated by Mary Taylor (R-Uniontown) to run for Auditor. John Johnson (D-Massillon) will take on incumbent John P. Hagan (R-Alliance) in the 50th District, against whom the last Democratic adversary won 41.88% of the vote. Lee Strad (R-East Sparta) will oppose Hagan in the Republican primary there. Eric Waldrop (R-Canton) will oppose incumbent William J. Healy II (D-Canton) in the 52nd District, where Healy raked in 71.04% of the vote in 2004. Jeff Ruppert (D-Franklin) will run for the 67th District seat being vacated by Tom Raga (R-Mason) to run for Lieutenant Governor as Ken Blackwell's running mate. Shannon Jones (R-Springsboro) will run on the Republican side there. Richard Spangler (D-Springfield) joins Kevin O'Neill (D-Springfield) as potential Democratic opponents to incumbent Ross McGregor (R-Springfield) in the 72nd District. Finally, William Hayes (R) has filed to run for the 91st District seat now held by Ron Hood (R-Ashville), apparently confirming the report that Hood is running for the 31st District Senate seat of term-limited Jay Hottinger (R-Newark), who in turn is said to be seeking the 71st District House seat of term-limited David R. Evans (R-Newark). (Got all that?) The Democratic contender for Hood's 91st District seat is Dan Dodd (D), who received 47.36% of the vote in 2004.

OH Cong 10th: Dovilla (R) to Oppose Kucinich

As reported by Right Angle Blog today, former federal agency appointee and senior staffer to Sen. George Voinovich Mike Dovilla (R) will announce his candidacy for Ohio's 10th Congressional District tomorrow. Dovilla will contend with political newcomer Jason Werner (R) in the Republican primary. Barbara Ferris (D) will challenge Kucinich on the Democratic side. Independent Bruce Cobbeldick is also in the race.

Oh House 19th: Marian Harris (D) To Run

Marian Harris (D-Columbus), a long-time activist, former teacher, and former aide to Senator Howard Metzenbaum, has launched a website in support of her campaign for the Ohio House, 19th District. "I've always worked behind the scenes in politics - never had any aspirations to run for public office," Harris states on her site, "But now it's different. We have to take a stand. The Republicans in the Statehouse have run state government into the ground for 12 years and it's time to turn it around." Noting her long residence in the 19th district, she says "when I moved to Ohio, it was a proud state, a prosperous state, first in all the good things. Now, we lead in bankruptcies, foreclosures, job loss. Our educational system is floundering despite four - yes four - rulings by the Supreme Court that our system of funding education is unconstitutional. ... I have spent much of my life listening to people's problems and trying to find ways to solve them. Now I want to take your concerns to the Statehouse where once again, you will be heard." Harris will oppose incumbent Larry L. Flowers (R-Canal Winchester).

OH Sup Ct: Espy (D) Joins Race

The Toledo Blade reports that Columbus attorney Sam Espy, a former Ohio Senate Minority Leader, intends to seek the Supreme Court post of retiring Justice Alice Robie Resnick (D-Ottawa Hills). He has not served as a judge previously. Espy will face Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Peter Sikora in the Democratic primary, and the winner will face Robert Cupp (R-Lima), an appellate judge and former State Senator, in November. Espy would be the only African-American among candidates in either party for the two seats up this year on the currently all-white court; incumbent Terrence O'Donnell (R) will face either Judge William O'Neill (D-South Russell) or Judge A.J. Wagoner (D-Dayton) in the other race.

OH House: Familiar Names to Run

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting in its so-called "blog" (can they really call it that without allowing comments?) that football great Tom Cousineau (R) will run for the Ohio House in the Akron area, and Ted Celeste (D), brother of Ohio's former governor, will oppose a Republican incumbent in the Columbus area, but no districts are identified for either. I will update if I can get details for either.
UPDATE: Paul indicates in a comment that Celeste is running in the 24th District. My Akron source tells me Cousineau lives in the 41st District, so presumably he will run against incumbent Brian Williams (D), a narrow victor in 2004.

Thursday, February 9

Gov: Draganic (R) Drops Out

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that Cleveland-area underdog gubernatorial candidate Pete Draganic has dropped out, leaving only the Ken Blackwell (R)/Tom Raga (R) and Jim Petro (R)/Joy Padgett (R) teams to scratch and claw for the Republican nominations.

OH Sen. 23: Miller (D) to Replace Brady (D)

In a realignment of term-limited legislators, State Sen. Dan Brady (D-Cleveland) of the 23rd District will resign to take a municipal position as utilities advisor to Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson (D), and State Rep. Dale Miller (D-Cleveland) of the 14th District will be appointed to replace him. Miller, already positioned as a candidate for the 23rd District Senate seat, will therefore run as an incumbent, albeit a newly-appointed one. Ed Fitzgerald (D-Cleveland) has been identified as an opponent to Miller in the Democratic primary for that post. Democratic hopefuls for the open 14th District seat in the Ohio House include Christopher Corrigan, Michael Foley, Fran Lally, Brian Mooney, and William Ritter.

Wednesday, February 8

OH House 74th & 75th: Republicans Spar Over Open Seats

The shuffling of term-limited Republicans is reviewed in this Toledo Blade story. House incumbents Stephen Beuhrer (R-Delta) and Ron Hoops (R-Napoleon) are vacating their 74th and 75th District seats, respectively, and will vie for term-limited State Senator Lynn Wachtmann's 1st District seat. Wachtmann (R-Napoleon), meanwhile, will battle County Commissioner Tony Burkley (R-Paulding) for the House 75th District seat, and former newspaper editor Marcus Bowling (R-Wauseon), school administrator Bruce Goodwin (R), and attorney Ted Penner (R-Noble Township) will duke it out for the Republican nomination in the House 74th District. The only Democratic candidate to come to my attention in any of these very red districts is Ben McCullough (D-Montpelier), a 19-year-old student at Wittenberg University, who will seek the 74th District seat. Go, Ben!
UPDATE: I've just learned that 24-year-old graduate student Angie Byrne (D-Van Wert) is committed to carrying the Democratic banner in the Ohio House 75th District. Best of luck with your campaign, Angie!

OH House 61st: Okey (D), Luther (R) and Pope (R) in Race

This story from the Canton Repository reports that Mark Okey (D), an attorney who lives in Carroll County but practices law in Canton, intends to join the race for John Boccieri's 61st District seat in the Ohio House of Representatives. Boccieri (D) is running for the Ohio Senate, 33rd District. He won in the 61st District with 65.66% of the vote in 2004. Former Alliance City Councilmen Brant Luther (R) and Randy Pope (R) are in the Republican primary. Luther was also Stark County Auditor until his defeat seeking reelection in 2004.

Cong. 18th: You Want Zack, You Got Him!

An anonymous commenter complained that our item about incumbent Bob Ney (R) trailing both Joe Sulzer (D) and Zack Space (D) in GOP internal polling lacked a photo of the latter Democrat. Like a river flowing to my readers, Yellow Dog Sammy provides! Enjoy.

OH House 44th: Bravo (D) Enters Race

Big thanks to Pho for alerting me that Patrick Bravo (D-Akron) has entered the race for the Ohio House 44th District seat to be vacated by Barbara Sykes (D), who is running for State Auditor. Bravo will face the incumbent's husband, University of Akron Professor Vernon Sykes (D), and William Green (D) in the Democratic primary.

Tuesday, February 7

Cong. 7th: Neuhardt (D) Drops Out

Blogger DavidinNYC reports on DailyKos today that Sharen Neuhardt, the only announced Democratic opponent to David Hobson (R) in the 7th District Congressional race, has dropped out. There is some hope that Tony Bourne may run, but he has not confirmed it. DavidinNYC also mentions Dan Saks as a possible candidate in OH-7. In a different Congressional race, DavidinNYC questions whether Jeff Seeman (D) will again take on Ralph Regula in OH-16, citing missed FEC filings, but I've been told quite directly that Seeman will in fact file by February 16. Meanwhile, over in OH-8, where new House Majority Leader John Boehner (R) is still unopposed, the Democratic candidate in the cross-border district IN-6, Barry Welsh, reports that he will be meeting with a potential Democratic candidate and hopes that an announcement will be made tomorrow. If that does not pan out, DailyKos diarist and OH-8 resident LatidaSothere is reluctantly thinking about filing.

OH House-64th: Letson (D) to Oppose Law (R)

Credit to Model500 at the excellent blog High & Broad for catching this item in today's Warren-Tribune Chronicle, reporting the announcement by attorney Thomas B. J. Letson (D-Warren) that he will oppose incumbent Randy Law (R-Warren) for the Ohio House 64th District seat. The announcement was attended by former two-term State Rep. Daniel J. Sferra, defeated by Law in an upset in 2004. Also present were House Minority Leader Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus), UAW Local 1112 President Jim Graham, and a host of Democratic lawmakers and officials from the area. Letson said that Law has failed to represent the working families in the district, while Letson would work to change the "culture of corruption" and "fight for the ideals of the Democratic Party - equality, justice and compassion." Letson also said that health care costs and college tuition are spiraling out of control, while jobs are being "swallowed up by corporate greed."

Cong. 3rd: Studebaker (D) Official Announcement Saturday

Stephanie Studebaker (D-Dayton) will officially kick off her campaign for the Congressional 3rd District seat of Rep. Mike Turner (R) at 4:00 pm this Saturday at her home in Dayton. She will face attorney David Fierst and former Mayor of Waynesville Charles Sanders in the Democratic primary. At the announcement, Studebaker will be presented by Dayton celebrity Phil Donahue. A VIP reception will start at 2:00. Details are here, and for further information about Studebaker or her campaign contact Communications Director Jerid Kurtz at (216)392-8198, Fax: (937)913-3019, AIM: jeridkurtz. He invites bloggers to attend and cover the event.

OH House-69th: Schira (D) and Batchelder (R) to Run

This piece in the Medina County Gazette confirms that Jack Schira (D-New Brunswick), a former Township Trustee, will run for the Ohio House 69th District seat being vacated by term-limited incumbent Chuck Calvert (R-Medina). Schira's likely opponent is former 69th Dist. State Rep. William Batchelder III (R-Medina). Schira recently dropped out of the Democratic primary for the 13th Congressional District, citing lack of funds, and endorsed Betty Sutton (D-Chardon) in that crowded contest. "The importance of the state race is that somehow the Democrats need to get control of the Ohio House if we're going to fix problems with public schools and health care," Schira is quoted as saying. Schira is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy with a master's degree in aeronautics and astronautics. He lost a former bid for this House seat in 2002 to Calvert.

Monday, February 6

OH Sen-31: Hood (R) Considering Bid?

According to the campaign blog of Ohio House 91st District candidate Dan Dodd (D), current 91st Distict State Rep. Ron Hood (R-Ashville) has taken out petitions to run for the Ohio Senate 31st District seat of term-limited Jay Hottinger (R-Newark). Hood will face State Rep. Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster) in the Republican primary. Hottinger, meanwhile, is said to be considering running for the Ohio House 71st District seat of term-limited State Rep. Dave Evans (R-Newark), unless he is tapped to enter the Congressional 18th District race in the event that scandal-tainted incumbent Bob Ney (R) drops out. Dodd further indicates that there are several Republicans prepared to enter the 91st District race, including Hood's hand-picked successor, but Dodd is not willing to go public with the names at this time.

Cong. 18th: Ney (R) Trails Sulzer (D) and Space (D)

Thanks to DailyKos diarist ZachC for bringing to our attention two separate reports that scandal-tainted Rep. Bob Ney (R) trails Democratic opponents Joe Sulzer (pictured) and Zack Space in internal GOP polling. The Washington Post political column The Fix cites such polling as showing the two Democrats ahead of the incumbent, indicating that Ney is in trouble due to the Abramoff investigation despite the fact that Bush carried this district by 57% in 2004. The author continues: "Even more troubling for Ney, the surveys seem to indicate that, regardless of the eventual result of the federal investigation, voters have decided that he has the taint of corruption on him, according to sources familiar with the numbers." This report is echoed in an MSNBC item here.

OH House-88: Hall (R) to Challenge Bubp (R)

This story in the Brown County newspaper The News Democrat (don't be fooled by the title) confirms that insurance businessman Paul Hall (R-Mt Orab) will challenge incumbent State Rep. Danny Bubp (R-West Union) for the 88th District seat in the Ohio House of Representatives. Bubp is nationally known as the source of the telephone call that Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) cited in her inflammatory assault on Rep. Jack Murtha (D-OH) on the floor of Congress, basically calling Murtha a coward, after Murtha announced his support for redeployment of U.S. troops out of Iraq. Bubp later denied that he named Murtha specifically in his telehone conversation with Schmidt. Hall's official entry in the 88th District race puts to rest speculation that he might challenge Jean Schmidt in the Republican primary for OH-2, leaving former Rep. Bob McEwan (R) as Schmidt's only official challenger at this point. There have been rumors that State Rep. Tom Brinkman (R-34th Dist.) may be considering a challenge to Schmidt as well.

Ohio Sen-27: Hanna (D) to Announce Candidacy

We are told that Akron professor and election reform activist Judy Hanna will announce her candidacy for the 27th District Ohio Senate seat now held by Kevin Coughlin (R-Cuyahoga Falls). She has taught at the University of Akron, has been an election reform field supervisor for Common Cause, and was a 2004 election recount observer. She will join Kevin Griffith and Joshua Franchetti in the Democratic primary.

Cong. OH-2: Wulsin (D) Prepares to Enter Race

A few weeks ago Victoria Wells Wulsin, Indian Hills physician and director of an AIDS prevention agency, was trying to decide whether to run for Congress again or to run for the Ohio House in District 35 against incumbent Michelle Schneider (R), as reported in a Cincinnati blog here. The decision depended on whether Paul Hackett (D-Indian Hills) stuck with his Senate race against Sherrod Brown (D-Avon), or dropped out to take another whack at Jean Schmidt (D) in OH-2. Apparently Wulsin is now convinced that Hackett will persevere, because she's decided to take on Schmidt. The excellent blog Ohio 2d reports running into Dr. Wulsin the night of the State of the Union address, when she said she's planning a kickoff event for her Congressional campaign on February 12. Also, Wulsin's name appears on the list of candidates at the web site of the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

Wulsin will join Jim Parker, Jeff Sinnard, Thor Jacobs and Gaby Downey in the Democratic primary for OH-2. (I've read reports in two places that David Pepper may also be considering a bid.) Having finished second to Hackett in the primary for the OH-2 special election in 2005, Wulsin will enter as the presumptive front-runner.

Gov: Blackwell (R) Picks Raga (R) as Running Mate

As reported by the Columbus Dispatch here, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell has confirmed persistent rumors by selecting State Rep. Tom Raga (R-Mason) as his running mate. Raga is in his third term in the Ohio House. His district is just northeast of Blackwell's base of Cincinnati.

Saturday, February 4

Cong. OH-13: Grace (D) Joins Race

According to this story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer today, Elyria Mayor Bill Grace (pictured) has decided to join the crowded Democratic primary field in Ohio's 13th Congressional District. Aside from Grace the Democratic side includes Betty Sutton, John Wolfe, Tom Sawyer, Capri Cafaro, Gary Kucinich, Ted Kalo and perhaps Walter Jones. On the Republican side it's David McGrew and Joe Ortega, and perhaps Lorain Mayor Craig Foltin. Interestingly, as reported in this piece in the Akron Beacon Journal, candidates John Wolfe (D) and David McGrew (R) are neighbors.

Friday, February 3

Cong. OH-6: Carr (D) Relocates to Ohio and Joins Race

The intrepid Model500 at High and Broad has the story, as reported in the Youngstown Vindicator: former Michigan Congressman Bob Carr (D) has moved to Ohio and filed paperwork to jump into the Democratic primary in Ohio's 6th Congressional District, being vacated by Ted Strickland to run for governor. Already in the race are State Sen. Charlie Wilson (D) and teacher Diane DiCarlo Murphy (D).
UPDATE: Okay, so this is not THAT Bob Carr. This is a Bob Carr who ran unsuccessfully for Congress from Michigan in 1996 as a Republican ... and has now switched parties and will try again in Ohio. Here's a link to his entry in The Political Graveyard.

Thursday, February 2

Cong. OH-8: Boehner (R) Wins Leadership Post, Dems Need a Candidate

Ohio Congressman John Boehner (R-West Chester) has won a surprising second-ballot victory over Tom DeLay protege Roy Blunt (R-MO) in the contest for House Majority Leader. For Democrats, this means we need a candidate in the OH-8 race, NOW.

First, because Boehner is the only Republican Congressional incumbent in Ohio who is unopposed. Second, because of the dirty tricks that the Republicans pulled to oust House Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) in 2004. Third, because Boehner's ties to the corrupt K Street lobbying cesspool are thick and deep, so we need someone on the campaign trail calling attention to them each and every day between now and November.

The filing deadline is February 16. Who's it going to be?

Cong. OH-12: John Swords (D) Enters Race, Posts on DailyKos

John Swords, a new Democratic opponent to entrenched incumbent Pat Tiberi (R), has posted a fierce diary on DailyKos.com. Calling on the netroots for support, Swords writes that "Republicans fear the ability of the grassroots to take them out of power. I hope that as my campaign progresses all of you will fight with me to reclaim Congress for Democrats." He then provides the transcript of a rousing speech that he gave last night at a Democracy for America candidates forum in Columbus. Calling on his listeners to rededicate themselves to the ideals of past Democratic leaders, he asks inspiring questions:

"How many of you will devote all of your energy to ensuring that control of Congress is returned to the Democratic Party, the Shepard of our ideals?

"How many of you want to leave this country better off than it was given to us?

"How many of you have a gut instinct that is telling you that it is time to start fighting for this country?

"How many of you know it is time for Democrats to stop letting Republicans set the table on issues of national security, education, and health care?

"How many of you wonder what happened to the party of Wilson, Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson? Men who would have rather died than cede one issue or thought to Republicans.

"How many of you wonder what happened to the party that won World Wars 1 and 2, and gave us the greatest generation?

"Do you covet the noble act of sacrifice? Do you covet honor? We as Democrats point the finger at corrupt Republicans, but we will get no honor of our own until we stop serving ourselves and become the servants of justice, prosperity, and humanity."

Welcome to the race, Mr Swords! We wish you the very best.