Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Tuesday, October 31

Ohio House Races: News and Notes

The latest on the races for State Representative:

4th District: Former talk radio host Dennis Shreefer (D-Lima) is running against city council president Matt Huffman (R-Lima) for the seat of term-limited Rep. John R. Willamowski (R-Lima) in this district that encompasses highly-conservative Allen County. Thanks to the Ohio House Democratic Caucus blog for pointing out that "the last Democrat to represent Allen County in the Ohio House of Representatives was Ortha O. Barr, a hotel proprietor and attorney who served from 1931-34." Shreefer could be on the verge of an historic victory, however, because the Lima News reported Sunday that Huffman leads Shreefer by only 7 points (49% to 42%), with 9% of the voters undecided. In the city of Lima, Shreefer leads Huffman by 63% to 26% with 11% undecided. “It’s close enough to be a contest, and I’ll be working as hard as I have, and more,” Shreefer told the reporter.

12th District: The Cleveland Plain Dealer endorsed veteran legislator Michael DeBose (D-Cleveland) today, writing that during his four years in office he "has busied himself largely with criminal justice and health care issues." He has advocated improvements to the Amber Alert system and for "more specific ways to monitor sexual offenders after their release from prison." The editors also praise DeBose for his community education summits, "a valuable public service." Anthony Cefaratti (R-Maple Heights) did not attend the endorsement interview. This Cuyahoga County district comprises Garfield Heights, Maple Heights, and Cleveland Wards 1, 2 and part of 3.

25th District: Rep. Dan Stewart (D-Columbus) gave Daily Show reporter Samantha Bee a tour around the Ohio Statehouse yesterday. Stewart, no relation to host Jon Stewart, has the endorsement of both the Columbus Dispatch and the Suburban News Publications in his contest with challenger Michael D. Wiles (R-Columbus). Hat-tip to the Ohio House Democratic Caucus Blog.

42nd District: The Akron Beacon Journal gave challenger Paul Colavecchio (D-Cuyahoga Falls) a big boost the week before last by endorsing him over two-term incumbent John Widowfield (R-Cuyahoga Falls). Colavecchio is a staff attorney for the United Auto Workers' legal services plan in Macedonia. His wife Diana Colavecchio ran against Widowfield two years ago but did not gain the newspaper's endorsement. The editors praise Widowfield as "a voice of moderation" but criticize him on education funding for "tinkering around the edges, the larger and necessary task of an overhaul eluding him" and for delaying the addition of new judges to the Summit County Common Pleas Court in deference to powerful county Republican Party chairman Alex Arshinkoff. "In short, John Widowfield has had his chance." The editors praise Colavecchio for running a clean campaign and working hard, for being committed to a comprehensive school funding solution, and for demonstrating his independence by rejecting contributions from political action committees (including from the UAW). This Summit County district covers most of Cuyahoga Falls and Hudson, Stow, Silver Lake and Munroe Falls.

43rd District: Christine Croce (R-Green) has filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission against literature mailed by the Ohio Democratic Party on behalf of opponent Stephen Dyer (D-Green). The flyer says that Croce "recommended reducing charges against a man, 39, who was accused of using the Internet to lure a 20-year-old woman with mental disabilities to Akron before raping her." Croce said that she offered the defendant a plea bargain but it was rejected and the subsequent trial resulted in a stiff sentence. She also said the only reason she offered the plea was the victim's mother did not want her daughter to go through the ordeal of testifying. The Democrats and Dyer said that the flier was accurate because Croce did in fact offer the plea deal, in which 11 felony charges would have beeen reduced to two. Dyer also said Croce has been touting her law-enforcement experience on the campaign trail, and he believes the case is a representation of her experience. In an earlier complaint, Croce also accused Dyer of not having the proper campaign address on his literature. Hearings have been set on both complaints.

46th District: Mark Dansack (D-Monclova Township) has issued the first of a series of press releases recapping the reasons to elect him as a "voice for positive change" over incumbent Mark Wagoner, Jr (R-Toledo), who "embraces the present 'pay to play' dynamics now running rampant in Columbus." Today's release states that "Dansack will work to restructure state agencies in order to eliminate wasteful spending and wasteful investment practices" while "Wagoner will continue to accept large donations from corporate PACS and look the other way when Ohioans are being ripped off by powerful special interests":
We need to look no further than the Bureau of Workers Compensation in Ohio to see the obvious graft and misuse/misappropriation of public funds. From the investment deals which have cost Ohioans hundreds of millions of dollars, to the managed care method of treating our injured workers, which has resulted in waste of $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion since its implementation in the late 1990s, it is clear that change is needed in the way we administrate this system and also in the level of oversight which is required to insure elimination of waste and ineffeciency.
Dansack also takes Wagoner to task for failing to respond to Dansack's public challenge on September 14th to seek a "stay" of new legislation that cuts workers compensation benefits in the wake of investment losses, until a full investigation into the irregularities at the BWC is conducted.

50th District: John Johnson (D-Perry Township) was charged Tuesday with sexual battery and two counts of sexual imposition pursuant to an indictment alleging that he engaged in sexual conduct with a minor female between Jan. 1 and July 1. Johnson is in jail on $250,000 bond, facing one to five years in prison. His attorney says he denies all allegations and looks forward to going to trial. Ohio Republican Party Chair Bob Bennett called for Johnson to be removed from the ballot, and the Ohio Democratic Party concurred. "We have done nothing to promote this man's candidacy," said ODP spokesman Randy Borntrager. "He is not on the sample ballot we send out telling people what our slate is." Incumbent John P. Hagan (R-Alliance) is the other candidate in this district.

91st District: Columbus Dispatch columnist Joe Hallett called a TV ad being aired by former city law director William Hayes (R-Pataskala) against attorney Dan Dodd (D-Hebron) "the scummiest attack so far" in this year of sharply negative campaigns:
In a district that is 97 percent white, this is the "Willie Horton" ad of 2006, showing a big photo of a black deathrow inmate next to a photo of Dodd. "Dan Dodd does not want this man to be executed," a narrator says. "He kidnapped, raped and murdered a 14-year-old girl. Dodd’s liberal plan would spare his life." The evidence for this claim, which is not cited in the ad, is a scholarly treatise written in 2003 by Dodd and seven other University of Cincinnati law students showing that 88 of 173 Ohio Death Row inmates would be removed from Death Row if criteria used by a commission in Illinois were applied to Ohio.

Candidates who sling such sludge should not be rewarded.
This district includes all of Perry and Hocking counties and parts of Licking and Pickaway counties. Incumbent Ron Hood (R-Ashville) ran for the State Senate, 31st District, but lost in the primary.

UPDATE: Thanks to Paul at BSB for pointing out this amazing piece in the Logan Daily News, castigating Hayes for not repudiating the TV ad (which it denounces as scurrilous, racist, and beneath contempt) and endorsing Dodd in the election.

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