Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Tuesday, October 3

Congressional Races: News and Notes UPDATED

Ohio's Congressional candidates are but frail vessels toss'd on surging seas:

Senate: Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Cedarville) is out with another TV ad today attacking Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) for voting against intelligence funding in the 1990's, and Brown's campaign team is quick to respond:
*** The ad says that Brown voted to cut intelligence spending after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and Brown's campaign responds that defense hawk and Patriot Act co-author Rep. James Sensenbrenner also voted for the cut, along with a dozen other Republican hard-liners. This preliminary vote was in fact a protest against wasteful CIA slush fund spending, and Brown did vote for the final version of the intelligence funding bill. Also, Brown has voted for $2.9 trillion in defense funding in a sequence of nine votes from 1993 to the present.

*** The ad likewise says that Brown voted to slash intelligence spending after Al Qaeda killed 19 U.S. servicemen in Saudi Arabia in 1996, and voted against the intelligence budget in 1998 after terrorists struck U.S. embassies in Africa, and Brown's campaign again responds that Sensenbrenner joined Brown in those votes, along with many other Republicans. In further response, Brown's team points out that DeWine has missed nearly half of the public hearings of the Senate Intelligence Committee, while Brown has voted for important homeland security measures on nine occasions.

*** Finally, the ad attacks Brown for voting against the Patriot Act, to which Brown's campaign replies that parts of the act have been ruled unconstitutional by courts, and Brown has supported other parts of the act and voted to reauthorize it with oversight.
Sherrod Brown has pledged that he will respond rapidly to every attack thrown at him by the Republican smear machine, so it's gratifying to see him following through in this way.

1st District: This article in the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that both Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati) and challenger John Cranley (D-Cincinnati) have called for an investigation of the response by Republican House leadership to the scandal involving salacious emails to teenagers by disgraced congressman Mark Foley (R-FL), but there is a big difference. Cranley said an independent special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate because an internal investigation by the House Ethics Committee is not enough. "They can't investigate themselves," Cranley said. "This calls for an independent investigation by a special prosecutor." Chabot, on the other hand, wrote a letter to Hastert asking for "complete transparency" in the House's internal investigation. "It is also important for the investigation to review the extent to which there are individuals who had knowledge of sexually explicit messages but did not report them to the appropriate authorities," Chabot wrote, implying that the fault may lie elsewhere. "Anybody who has knowledge of this should say what they know and let the chips fall where they may," Chabot said. "The people of Ohio's First Congressional District have a very clear choice this November," responded Cranley in a press release, adding that he is "running for Congress to restore accountability to the First District and America."

2nd District: The same Enquirer article reports that Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) said that "[b]efore we go out and say somebody should resign, we should get all the facts. I think you have to look at who knew, how they knew, and were they in a position legally to do something about it." Like Chabot, Schmidt said that the investigation will "spill over into other areas, such as who knew about this and did they do what they were supposed to do." Challenger Dr. Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) said she believes Schmidt should be demanding an explanation from the House Republican leadership. "It's outrageous that people like Boehner and Hastert didn't investigate and then, not ask him to resign, but demand that he resign," Wulsin said. In a press release tonight, Wulsin elaborated: "When a physician has a suspicion of child abuse, she has a legal responsibility to report that suspicion. We should hold lawmakers of both parties accountable just like we hold doctors accountable. Imagine if this were your child. You would want a full and complete investigation. It's unacceptable that the Republican Congressional leadership have sat on this information for 11 months. These crimes must not go unpunished, and those who stood by and did nothing must be held accountable." Wulsin also called for a complete investigation by an independent prosecutor. "If it is true that Reps. Boehner and Hastert were aware of Rep. Foley's behavior and did nothing to stop it, they should both resign their leadership positions. I sincerely hope that Jean Schmidt will not continue to support Boehner and Hastert under such circumstances."

UPDATE - 3rd District: Per BSB, Dick Chema (D-Oakwood) has joined the chorus calling on Hastert to resign over Pagegate:
Democratic Congressional Candidate Richard Chema today called on his Republican opponent, Mike Turner, to push for the resignation of Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, and others in Republican leadership, over their mishandling of the online sex scandal between Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) and a teenage male page.

The former chief federal criminal prosecutor for Southern Ohio, Chema said, "While Mike Turner, Dennis Hastert, John Boehner and others in the Republican-led House stood by and let one of their own, Mark Foley, prey upon teenage pages working in Congress, I was putting people like them behind bars. There is no place for pedophiles in Congress, let alone on the streets of Ohio and America.”

Chema continued, “This is a failure at the top of the Republican leadership in the House, and I believe Mike Turner should be actively calling for the resignation of Hastert, Boehner and others who covered this up. Why has Turner been silent on this issue? Why has he been hiding from Pagegate? Is it because he’s a rubber stamp and does what Hastert, Delay and Boehner tell him to do 94 percent of the time?”

14th District: Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Painesville) failed to appear at a scheduled debate on Sunday, after having told the League of Women Voters that he would "probably" attend. Challenger Lew Katz (D-Chesterland) will meet LaTourette on October 18 in a Town Hall debate at 7 pm in Solon, and on November 2 at a noontime debate at the City Club in downtown Cleveland ... if LaTourette shows up.

There is a profile of this race in the Akron Beacon Journal here, focusing on LaTourette's fundraising advantage but potential vulnerability on the issues.

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