Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Tuesday, October 3

Ohio House Races: News and Notes

Items of interest in some Ohio House races:

14th District: Rep. Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) writes that "it looks like it could be a good year for Democrats across the board, which is vital to progressives who want opportunities to put forth good and sound policy alternatives." He will hold a fundraiser on Monday, October 9th, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm at Massimo's, West 25th Street and Detroit Avenue in Cleveland. Suggested contribution is $25, or "more if you can afford it." Foley notes that he "would love to see you there, and if you feel so inclined, please forward this email on to 500 of your closest friends or so."

The candidate and supporters will be out walking this weekend, with the goal of putting up as many yard signs as possible. Email foleypol-at-yahoo-dot-com if you can help out.

24th District: The Ohio House Republican Campaign Committee is running a TV ad that blames challenger Ted Celeste (D-Grandview) for a tax increase signed 23 years ago by a different Celeste altogether -- brother and former governor Dick Celeste. This is another attempt by a Republican, in this case Rep. Geoff Smith (R-Columbus), to portray a challenger as some kind of "incumbent." It reminds me of my mean baby sitter, who used to yell at me for things my older brothers did like spilling soda pop in the TV room. The Ohio Democratic party pointed out that it was Smith who actually did vote to raise taxes, citing a 1% sales tax increase in 2003. Celeste's response, as quoted in the article: "Give me a break."

Celeste will host an event called "Vote Ted to Ted" with entertainment provided by Arnett Howard & Band on Thursday, October 6th, at Global Living, 855 Grandview Avenue. Suggested contribution is $100 to $250; all contributions welcome. He will participate in Candidates Forums on Thursday, October 12th, at 6:00 pm at the Prairie Township Senior Center, 4656 West Broad Street, and on Friday, October 13th, at 8:00 am at Columbus Childrens Hospital, 575 S. 18th Street.

64th District: The Warren Tribune-Chronicle published this story on the contest between freshman State Rep. Randy Law (R-Warren) and challenger Tom Letson (D-Warren). Law defeated incumbent Dan Sferra (D) in 2004 with a media blitz at the tail end of the campaign, and this year both Law and Letson are relying heavily on TV advertising:
The Ohio House Democratic caucus has made regaining the seat a priority since the day Law took office. Republicans want to hold on to the traditionally Democratic seat just as badly. Both parties are expected to spend heavily in the race.
In the article, Letson links Law to the corrupt Taft administration by saying that "Randy has done the job the party asked him to do," and has "walked in lock step" with Taft, Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, and Auditor Betty Montgomery. Letson disagreed with Law’s votes on tax reform (Ohio’s new commercial activity tax covers necessities like milk and groceries as they go through the supply chain) and new regulations for construction and demolition debris landfills (Law sought legislation to regulate the landfills, but went along with watered-down provisions such as one that allows landfills with pending applications to follow the old rules). Law defended his votes as holding the line on runaway state spending and promoting economic development activity.

Letson and Law will face each other in a Candidates Forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Trumbull County on Wednesday, October 25th, from 6-8 p.m. at Kent State University, Trumbull Campus, Lecture Hall A, 4314 Mahoning Avenue, Warren. The audience will be permitted to submit questions to a bi-partisan screening committee prior to the start of the forum.

78th District: This article in the Cincinnati Enquirer is old (August 20th) but provides an interesting glimpse of the battle that is going on in conservative rural areas of the state. Candidate Adam Ward (D-Urbana), a 27-year loan officer at Citizens National Bank, has no campaign web site and I have found nothing previously by googling his name, but this article confirms that he is very conservative, in keeping with this very red district. The 78th District is located in Shelby County, which Bush carried with about 70% of the vote in 2004. However, retiring State Rep. Derrick Seaver (R-Minster) won the seat as an 18-year-old Democrat. (He switched parties after winning re-election in 2004.) Ward was formerly Seaver’s aide. Ward’s opponent is John Adams (R-Sidney), a retail furniture store owner and former Navy SEAL. He lost the GOP primary in 2000, lost in the general election to Seaver in 2002, and sat out 2004.

Ward was raised on a farm that his family has worked for eight generations. His literature describes him as pro-family, pro-life and pro-gun supporter. "I'm pretty much what you get around here in a Democratic candidate - a conservative," said Ward. Although nowadays "a Democrat generally has to look, act, and sound like a Republican" to win in this county, it wasn't always so. "Until the early 1970s, Shelby County was a Democratic county, said Jim Thompson, a businessman from the village of Botkins and a lifelong Democrat. 'Once abortion reared its ugly head, the whole county turned around.'" After Roe v Wade, the Republicans staked out a hardline anti-abortion position and "the German Catholic farmers and factory workers who dominate Shelby County life quickly switched party allegiances." Although the abortion issue is tricky for Ted Strickland, he is fighting Ken Blackwell hard for support in Shelby County, "one of the rural, small-town counties that line Interstate 75" and are seen by both as a "key to winning in November." Strickland and Blackwell are both working "to convince voters they are completely unlike the current governor, Bob Taft." Republican voter Gary Fullenkamp said, "it's shameful what they've done to this state. I think every bastard in Columbus needs to go." Ohio's stagnant economy has caused many of Shelby County's brightest young people to go elsewhere. Fullenkamp sits on the scholarship board of a local high school and most of the college money he passes out is used for out-of-state tuition. "They go to school elsewhere and they never come back."

92nd District: Debbie Phillips (D-Athens) will host a news conference on Thursday, October 5th, at 1:00 pm on the ground floor of the Athens County Courthouse to spotlight how, as Ohio servicemen and women are making enormous sacrifices in Iraq, Republicans have been quietly using their families as political footballs at the Ohio Statehouse. The Republican Statehouse delegation has followed orders from their partisan leadership and repeatedly voted to block a common-sense plan to help Iraq war widows prepare for life without another breadwinner. Phillips will also announce a proactive plan to make a college education more affordable for servicemen and women after they return home. Joining Phillips at the press conference will be Bill Theisen, veteran of Korean War and Athens County Commissioner; Fred Riffle, an Iraq war veteran; and Carol Glover and her son Bruce Glover, recently returned from Iraq. Phillips is running against Rep. Jimmy Stewart (R-Athens).

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