Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Thursday, October 12

Congressional Races: News and Notes

What's going on in those Ohio Congressional races?

Senate: Columnist David Brooks writes about the Senate race in the New York Times today (subscription required for online edition of editorial page). Broder calls it "the most important race in the country" because "each candidate comes from the most vibrant strain in his own party. Brown is a full-bore economic populist. DeWine is an independent McCainiac conservative." (I don't buy the latter part.) Broder explains why DeWine faces an uphill fight:
Voter frustration with Republican rule blots out the distaste many may have for liberal Democrats. DeWine has tried to portray Brown as an out-of-step liberal, to little effect.

More important, President Bush’s polarizing political strategy has made it hard for independent Republicans to distinguish themselves from their party’s national brand. As the Catholic University political scientist John K. White points out, we seem to be amid a parliamentary election this year, with voters making decisions about national parties, not local candidates. There is a yawning 19-point gap between those who say they like DeWine personally and those who say they plan to vote for him.

Ohio is crucial to winning the presidency. If Brown wins this year, he’ll be the model for Democrats nationally. If DeWine pulls this out, Republican will copy him. This is what politics looks like as conservatism wanes: feisty economic liberals against independent, party-bucking Republicans.
1st District: Laura Bush "heaped praise on Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati) while barely mentioning her own husband" at a lunch event that raised $170,000. After she left, Chabot told reporters that "as grateful as he was for the help, he couldn't promise to support the Bush administration on every issue, every time." Meanwhile, the Hill Monitor "recently said Chabot voted with the Bush administration position 92 percent of the time." Chabot complained about opponent John Cranley's advertising, which he said distorts his record. "For a professional politician, he sure is a crybaby," Cranley replied. "He's practically said that I am responsible for 400 murders in Cincinnati and you don't hear me whining about it."

12th District: Bob Shamansky (D-Bexley) issued a hard-nosed press release in reaction to news of military plans to stay at current troop levels in Iraq through 2010, calling on Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Genoa Township) to come clean about how long he’s prepared to support keeping U.S. troops in Iraq:
"In an interview yesterday on WOSU radio, Mr. Tiberi once again indicated his support for an open-ended commitment of U.S. troops to the war in Iraq. Just a few months ago, Mr. Tiberi said he thought we’d see troops coming home by the end of this year. Instead, the number of troops in Iraq has increased by roughly 10,000. Now we hear of Army plans to keep our brave soldiers there 4 more years, through the end of 2010.

"Does Pat support that? It’s time he came clean with the voters -- and stopped trying to bob and weave until after the election.

“Let me make my position clear. The war in Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 or the war against terrorism. Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and no ties with al-Qaeda prior to our invasion. Sectarian violence has now killed over 30,000 Iraqis in the past 3 years -- which is a civil war by any definition. Civil wars require political solutions, not military ones, and only the Iraqis themselves can reach that solution.

"It is time to end our military involvement in Iraq -- and to ask our military to plan a timetable for withdrawal based on how quickly we can safely extract our troops. Those withdrawals should begin within a year -- and we should be gone long before 2010.

“In yesterday’s radio interview, Mr. Tiberi again accused those who favored withdrawal from Iraq as 'cutting and running.' Last week, Republican Sen. John Warner of Virginia -- the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a former Secretary of the Navy -- said it was time to 'change course' in Iraq. Does Mr. Tiberi think Sen. Warner is also guilty of wanting to 'cut and run'?"
13th District: The Cleveland Plain Dealer issued a ridiculous endorsement of Lorain mayor Craig Foltin (R-Lorain) over Betty Sutton (D-Copley). The editors gush over Foltin's knowledge of accounting ("number crunching" is a "skill sorely needed in that profligate body [Congress]") while ignoring his mismanagement of the city and his harboring of convicted staff. Meanwhile, Sutton is criticized for harping on the Republican culture of corruption, as if corruption weren't a huge problem that's on the minds of most voters. However, the GOP is pulling their national resources out of this race, in which Sutton is far ahead, so the endorsement really doesn't matter much at this point.

14th District: Lew Katz (D-Chesterland) will speak at a Ted Strickland for Governor rally this Saturday, October 14th, at 10:00 am at Colby Park in Wickliffe. (Strickland arrives at 10:30.) The campaign requests that you "show your support and pride by attending the rally in your 'Katz for Congress' T-shirt. We want a sea of red (Katz red, not Republican red) in the audience at the rally!"

15th District: Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Upper Arlington) makes the front page of the New York Times, and not in a good way. The article details how aggressive attacks by Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus) over the Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) sex scandal have put the brakes on Pryce's campaign momentum. Kilroy's stance:
“When you have a member of Congress abusing his authority and his position with pages, and you have leaders of Congress looking the other way — protecting their majority instead of protecting the pages — people here saw that and said, that’s the final straw,” Ms. Kilroy said. “She’s in leadership. And I don’t understand why she is not calling on those leaders who didn’t act to step down.”
Pryce accuses Kilroy of gay-baiting, and says she still has time to regain the momentum. ORP Chair Bob Bennett says the Foley affair is over-politicized and everyone is sick of it. *Sigh* They really don't get it!

17th District: There is an interesting op-ed in the Youngstown Vindicator, praising Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) for his nuanced pro-life stance. Like other Democrats for Life he advocates reducing the number of abortions rather than criminalizing it, but he has broken with others over including the promoting of birth control as part of the strategy. The author says Ryan is on the right track.

18th District: As reported on the Cincinnati Enquirer political blog here, disgraced Rep. Bob Ney (R-Heath) will plead guilty on Friday, October 13th. (Whoa! Has anybody else commented on the date?) The six-term Congressman will appear before Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia at 10 a.m., after years insisting he did nothing illegal or improper. Will Ney also resign from Congress? House leaders Rep. Dennis Hastert (D-IL) and John Boehner (R-West Chester) have not called for him to do that, although his own handpicked would-be successor, State Sen Joy Padgett (R-Coshocton), has done so. Meanwhile, Ney continues to collect his salary of $165,200 per year. In about ten years he can start collecting a pension of $30,000 per year.


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