Congressional Races: News and Notes UPDATED
Gosh, I haven't posted about Ohio's Congressional races since, I don't know, yesterday?
Senate: An article in yesterday's New York Times discusses how Ohio Democrats are showing their religious side to voters as evangelical Christians are showing signs of disaffection toward the Republican party. I wasn't surprised by the examples given about gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ted Strickland (D-Lisbon), a former Methodist minister, but this part about Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) seems more newsworthy:
Until recently, Representative Sherrod Brown, a Lutheran who is running for Senate here, seldom spoke publicly about his religious views. This year, however, Mr. Brown’s advisers discovered that after visiting Israel a decade ago he had written to his daughters and a Jewish friend about the emotions he felt reading aloud from the Sermon on the Mount at the site where Jesus is believed to have delivered it. Mr. Brown’s campaign quickly incorporated his private words into messages sent to Christian voters. In an interview, Mr. Brown said he now talked about his faith “a bit, not a lot.” A campaign aide then arranged a second interview with Mr. Brown’s wife, Connie Schultz, who said her husband tithed, listened to Lutheran hymns to relax and prayed before each campaign debate.This struck me because at the Meet the Bloggers interview with Brown in August I asked him to explain his "moral compass" and he seemed a little put out by the question, although he did refer to growing up in a Lutheran family readily enough in his answer.
The campaign of Sen Mike DeWine (R-Cedarville) is calling Brown's claim in his new TV ad that he has "passed dozens of bills" into law "outrageous claims" and "lies all over again." DeWine claims Brown has passed only four bills into law. If one reads this statement posted on DeWine's site yesterday, however, the dispute seems to boil down to whether the phrase "passing bills" includes co-sponsoring bills or only being the sole sponsor. I'd love to hear from a knowledgeable reader on this, but my impression is that the vast majority of bills these days have multiple co-sponsors.
1st & 2nd Districts: John Cranley (D-Cincinnati) and Vic Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) will hold a joint press conference at 11:00 am today, November 1st, at the Hamilton County Democratic Party Headquarters, 6109 Webbland Place in Cincinnati, to challenge Republican initiatives offered by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati) and Rep. "Mean Jean" Schmidt (R-Loveland) which, when paired together, would give energy companies unprecedented leverage to ship radioactive materials on Ohio highways and locate nuclear waste facilities in the towns and communities of southern Ohio. From the announcement:
Chabot introduced legislation recently that would take power away from local elected officials and zoning boards to make decisions about how their communities are developed, and put it in the hands of the federal courts. This sweet-heart deal for wealthy developers encourages lawsuits against local communities and discourages valuable community protections.Yesterday the Cook Report upgraded the 2nd District race between Schmidt and Wulsin from "Lean Republican" to "Toss-Up." The race between Chabot and Cranley has been rated "Toss-Up" since September 7th, and the average of the last three polls in this race is 47.3% for Cranley and 43.7% for Chabot.
The potential dangers of this type of radical legislation were crystallized on Monday when the Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Schmidt is supporting an effort to store nuclear waste shipments from around the world at the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in southern Ohio. Such a plan would not only bring nuclear waste to Portsmouth, but would put the radioactive material on roads, bridges and highways across Ohio threatening the health and safety of communities. With the broad leverage given by the Chabot bill to developers, this kind of radioactive dump could be put on the fast and easy track for placement in any town in Ohio.
At least one election observer has tagged the 2nd District as a bellwether race that may signal where election night is headed when the polls close at 7:30 pm EST:
But if Victoria Wulsin is able to unseat Dem nemesis Rep. Jean Schmidt in the Republican-leaning 2nd district, a loudmouth pol will have received her comeuppance and Democrats will be on track for a big night.Meanwhile, Redhorse at Psychobilly Democrat awarded Chabot the "Dumb Quote of the Day" award yesterday for Chabot's observation that the value of a visit by Senate Majority Bill Frist (R-TN) and other GOP celebrities is that "it focuses attention ... that there is an election coming." Wow. Maybe they should just put up some big billboards about it and save all that airfare.
UPDATE - 14th District: Cleveland Peace Action has prepared a downloadable Voter Guide for this race between incumbent Steve LaTourette (R-Concord Township) and Lewis Katz (D-Chesterland). LaTourette did not respond to their questionnaire, so they looked up his voting record related to peace issues and plugged them into their site. LaTourette voted against the organization's preferred position 7 out of 9 times.
18th District: The NRCC is reportedly pulling out of this race, transferring some of the money it would have spent on behalf of State Sen. Joy Padgett (R-Coshocton) to the 15th Ohio Congressional District and the rest elsewhere. Meanwhile, Zack Space (D-Dover) will visit the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority to meet with staff and employees at the Central Ohio Aerospace and Technology Center (called "The Base") in Heath at 11:30 am today, November 1st. The Base is the largest defense-related facility in the 18th Congressional District employing over 900 people and with an estimated $200 million annual impact on the regional economy. Boeing and Bionetics are the largest companies located at The Base.
Meanwhile, Padgett is attacking Space for not voting when he was in his early twenties. The Space campaign isn't denying the charge but questions its relevance and calls it a cheap shot and a sign of desperation.
Padgett also has put up a special website where she rails about campaign contributions her opponent has received from dangerous liberals, such as Senator John Kerry's son-in-law, Andre Heinz, and unnamed donors who are guilty of living in California, New York, and Massachusetts. Sca-a-ary!
UPDATE: A new Zogby poll shows Space leading Padgett by 58% to 33%, a whopping 25 point lead.