Statewide Bus Tour a Huge Success
I'm hearing from all sides that the Turn Around Ohio Bus Tour by statewide candidates this weekend was a smash hit. The newspaper coverage in the Columbus Dispatch, the Akron Beacon-Journal and the Cleveland Plain Dealer was terrific, and reporter Mark Naymik of the Cleveland Plain Dealer gave it a positive report on an NPR broadcast this morning.
I met with Ohio House of Representatives candidates Matt Lundy (D-Elyria) of the 57th District and Matthew Barrett (D-Amherst) of the 58th District today, preparing for profiles that I will post soon, and each said that the tour stop in Elyria was fantastic. Lundy thinks the crowd was about 400 people. The story in the Lorain Morning Journal, headlined "Dems Hope 'Ohio Turns Blue!,' says only that the crowd was "more than 150," but gives a glowing account of the event.
I have also heard directly from several candidates for the General Assembly by email. Duane Grassbaugh (D-Howard), running against Rep. Thom Collier (R-Mt. Vernon) in the 90th House District, writes that they had "probably 200 people at the Mount Vernon rally," the very first tour stop on Friday, and "close to 100 in Mount Gilead," which is "just incredible ... 100 is just huge in Morrow County." Overall, it was "really a good day."
Jeff Ruppert (D-Franklin), running against Shannon Jones (R-Springsboro) for the seat being vacated by lieutenant governor candidate Tom Raga (R-Mason) in the 67th House District, sent out an exultant press release today:
There are very few days on a campaign when you feel like the breeze is at your back and pushing you along. But we all felt the winds of change blowing through Warren County on Saturday August 19, 2006. The day started as Jeff and the RUPPERT ROOTERS rolled out with the RUPPERT FLYER at the Carlisle Railroad Days Parade. Energy was high as the ROOTERS received one of their warmest welcomes of the campaign season; numerous shouts of "Give 'em hell, Jeff!" were heard along the route, and the FLYER was cheered as it made its way to Carlisle High School.Karen Adams (D-Kings Mills), challenging Rep. Michelle Schneider (R) in the 35th House District, was also featured at the banquet and emailed me an exciting description:
The morning's momentum rolled into evening as [Ted Strickland and Sherrod Brown] brought their TURN AROUND OHIO BUS TOUR to Shaker Run Golf Course for a reception with over 50 Warren County Republicans who have formed Republicans for Strickland, Republicans for Brown and Republicans for Ruppert committees. These committees are headed by Republicans Betty Davis, longtime Mayor of Mason, and Carl Boltz, a Mason resident and community leader.
A clear message was sent by the candidates and their Republican hosts -- Warren County and Ohio are ready for political leaders representing shared values and seeking consensus, and rejects those who practice the tired politics of fear and division. Warren County and Ohio are ready for COMPETITION, BALANCE and CHANGE.
The excitement only grew as [Ruppert] joined Ted Strickland, Sherrod Brown and the other statewide Democratic candidates at the Warren County Democratic Party Summer Dinner/Fundraiser. Shaker Run's banquet room was filled to capacity as folks from all over Warren County and Southwest Ohio came together to celebrate the winds of change blowing through Ohio.
[It was a] fantastic event last night in Warren County. The Warren County Democratic Party hosted two receptions and a dinner for the statewide and local candidates last night with guest speaker Congressman John Conyers, D-Detroit, MI. ... The first reception was for Warren County Republicans (yes, Republicans) who are supporting Ted Strickland. They wanted to meet the rest of the candidates.In other years this stretch leading up to Labor Day has been pretty quiet, but this year the energy is high and the Democrats are building on their momentum, even in the traditionally red counties.
Things are really changing in Warren County and the rest of Southwest Ohio. [The] place was packed. Over two hundred people came to the dinner (over 35 extra people showed up). There was good representation from all the surrounding counties too. Each of the statewide candidates addressed the crowd. Richard Cordray made an interesting observation - the Democrats traveled together all over the state campaigning and of course enjoyed campaigning together but the Republicans have not been seen together at all. Barbara Sykes said she was tired but I have never seen anyone deliver an address with so much energy. Sherrod Brown and Ted Strickland talked with such sincerity about the struggles the people of Ohio face and how the current governments in Ohio and Washington have made things so much harder for them. They talked about their vision to turn things around in Ohio and the country.
John Conyers was great and addressed so many issues facing our country due to the failures and misguided policies of the Bush administration. He also said it is very possible that the Democrats could take back the House of Representatives. Strickland pointed out Conyers would become chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Oh, happy days!
And there was entertainment. Shirley Pritchard, a Warren County Democratic volunteer, sang and played guitar (Francis and Shirley should go on tour). She has written several Democratic ditties that got the crowd going especially the sing along favorite, We'll Be Takin' Back Ohio in '06 (to the tune of She'll Be Comin' Around the Mountain). She wrote a very clever song about the good Dr. Wulsin and Jean Schmidt ... Russ Arey, of the Clermont County Democratic Party, is a professional auctioneer and did his bit for Warren County by auctioning off some Democratic memoriabilia. Very funny stuff. Democrats, besides being right, are just more fun.
It's great to be a Democrat in Warren County. All the hard work every Democratic volunteer is doing in Warren County, Southwest Ohio and in the whole state is turning Ohio around.