Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Monday, August 7

Cong. OH-18: Ney (R) Out, Padgett (R) to Face Space (D)

As reported in the Columbus Dispatch here, scandal-tainted six-term incumbent Rep. Bob Ney (R-Heath) has dropped out of the race for the 18th Ohio Congressional District seat and will be replaced by State Sen. Joy Padgett (R-Coshocton), recruited over the weekend by Ney and another big-time recipient of lobbyist largesse, House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-West Chester). Padgett will oppose Law Director Zack Space (D-Dover), whose campaign to date has focused largely on Ney's corruption. The gerrymandered 18th District snakes through 16 counties in east central Ohio and includes Padgett's base in Coschocton County.

Ney has long insisted he would not resign, even if indicted. Prosecutors say Ney received gifts, trips, and other things of value from convicted Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his associates. Former Ney chief of staff Neil Volz pleaded guilty in May to participating in a conspiracy to corrupt Ney, his staff, and other members of Congress. Three Ney aides (including chief of staff William Heaton and spokesman Brian Walsh) announced their resignations in late June. Ney and some of his aides, including Heaton, have been subpoenaed in the ongoing investigation.

Padgett was briefly a candidate for Lieutenant Governor in this year's Republican primary, signing on as running mate to Jim Petro (R-Rocky River) after Phil Heimlich (R-Cincinnati) dropped out to run for County Commissioner. Padgett has extremely close ties to Ney, whom she says she has known for at least 20 years. Earlier this year, as reported in the Coshocton Tribune, Padgett said she had no doubts about Ney's innocence: "I looked him in the eye," she said. "We've talked. If he says to me that he is going to be cleared of all of this, then I believe him." She also said that she had no intention of giving back the $5,000 she received from Ney in 2004. "I think that was a good-faith donation," Padgett said. "I don't think it's an Abramoff donation."

Padgett, who is extremely conservative, is also remembered for running perhaps the ugliest campaign in Ohio history in 2004. Seeking a second term against Terry Anderson (D-Athens), who from 1985 to 1991 had been held hostage by Islamic radicals in Lebanon, Padgett accused Anderson of being a member of the "Blame America crowd" and distributed a campaign flier with a photograph of Anderson meeting with a Hezbollah leader. Anderson famously walked out of a debate with Padgett, citing his anger over the photograph's misleading implication that Anderson was soft on terrorism, when in fact the picture was taken when he returned to Lebanon to confront the terrorists who held him captive. Padgett defended her use of the photograph and won re-election with 54 percent of the vote.


At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't take my eyes of Ney's hair. It appears almost independent of the head it's resting on. Padgett isn't too attractive either. But it's what's inside that's really ugly....

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