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.