Congressional Races: News and Notes
Snap, crackle and pop:
Senate: A Reuters/Zogby poll released yesterday further confirmed the solid lead of Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) over incumbent Mike DeWine (R-Cedarville):
49% Brown (D)
Among DeWine's ugly last-gasp attacks are unproven charges that a staffer under Brown at the Secretary of State's office (about 25 years ago) used marijuana. Russell at BSB makes an excellent "glass house" point: DeWine had a Washington staffer just a few years ago who engaged in sexual improprieties and then wrote all about it. In any event, news coverage at the time indicates that Brown was the first to notify authorities about the possible drug use (Dayton Daily News, 8/21/90), and Ohio newspapers (including the Columbus Dispatch here) have discredited this attack against Brown.
1st District: The Cincinnati Enquirer has a story today about the advantages enjoyed by Congressional incumbents, including constituent mailings funded by our taxes. John Cranley (D-Cincinnati) said that incumbent advantages shouldn't be abused and points out that incumbent Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati) used to agree, citing a 1988 statement that unsolicited mass mailing is "an abuse of tax dollars" and does not show "responsibility or a commitment to cutting the federal deficit," and a 1992 flier proposing an "end to taxpayer-funded mass mailings by Congress." This year Chabot has sent out a series of full-page color brochures to announce town hall meetings.
Meanwhile, Cranley has issued press releases catching Chabot in two more falsehoods. In an October 9th debate Chabot refused to admit that he has been voting to give oil companies billions in royalty relief and tax breaks for oil companies, but Cranley details Chabot votes that confer huge financial benefits on that industry, AND establishes that Chabot is heavily invested in three oil industry companies (Gulf Island Fabrication, Encore Acquisition, and Matrix Service) that stand to benefit from votes Chabot has cast. In the other instance, Chabot told a talk radio host on Wednesday that he never received any money "directly or indirectly" from Jack Abramoff or Tom Noe. Cranley's release itemizes over $250,000 in contributions to Chabot from Abramoff clients, Abramoff associates, and clients of Abramoff associates. Also, the Associated Press included Chabot in a list of 33 lawmakers who took official action for Abramoff clients and then got money those clients, and Chabot publicly gave up a small portion of the money he took from Abramoff clients in January, 2006.
2nd District: In the Cincinnati Enquirer story about the advantages of incumbency today, Vic Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) scoffed at that notion as applied to incumbent "Mean Jean" Schmidt (R-Loveland), whose first term has been marked by misteps and controversy. "Jean Schmidt's record is her own worst enemy," Wulsin said.
Former presidential candidate and Supreme Allied Commander of NATO Gen. Wesley Clark (ret.) will stump for Wulsin tomorrow, November 4th, at 9:30 am at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall, 6112 Montgomery Road in Pleasant Ridge. Clark will talk about the war in Iraq and the importance of electing a Democratic Congress that will conduct real oversight of the war. Also attending will be Tim Goodrich, executive director of the Iraqi Veterans for Progress, a political organization that advocates a new course for the war in Iraq. Iraqi Veterans for Progress has hired a veteran of the Iraq war as a full time field coordinator for the Wulsin for Congress campaign.
The Wulsin campaign has put out a special call for volunteers to be registered poll observers in ex-urban and rural precincts in Warren and Clermont counties, which tend to be overlooked by other organizations watching out for election problems. Please go to the campaign web site and select "Voting Protection Observer".
5th District: The Toledo Blade has a story today on this race between repeat challenger Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) and incumbent Paul Gillmor (R-Dublin). It includes this interesting take by Rex Damschroder, Gillmor's 2002 primary opponent:
Republicans will take "a hit this election to the tune of maybe 5 percent" in part because of the war in Iraq and the scandals that have plagued Republicans. "In the 5th District race, you could put a no-name Democrat on the ballot and they'll probably get 40 to 45 percent [of the vote]," he said. "Robin [Weirauch] has run in the past, and I think she is a credible person. You add that with the correction for this election, and that's putting her up there within striking range."The article also details the uneven finances of the candidates, with Gillmor having about $400,000 left to spend and Weirauch having only about $8,000. Gillmor "collected more than $400,000 from political action committees that largely represent banking, accounting, energy, industry, insurance, and health-care interests." Weirauch got $9,000 from labor PACs. Gillmor has done more radio and television advertising than in 2004. Weirauch has only done limited advertising on local cable stations, "but has been campaigning seven days a week in the expansive 5th District, which encompasses part or all of 16 northwest Ohio counties."
Confirmation that Weirauch is doing well in this race comes in the form of a fundraising email sent out by Randy Borntrager on behalf of the Ohio Democratic Party yesterday, pointing out that Deputy Majority Whip Gillmor is the second Republican Congressional leader in Ohio to be "on the run" (after Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Upper Arlington)) and extolling Weirauch's virtues.
12th District: The Columbus Dispatch reports today that Bob Shamansky (D-Bexley) joined with 15th District challenger Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus) yesterday in reiterating their determination to end the Iraq conflict and bring troops home. "There were no weapons of mass destruction, no connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11 and no link between Iraq and al-Qaida before our invasion," said Shamansky. "I say ‘stay the course’ is a slogan, not a strategy." Shamansky and Kilroy say they will push to withdraw troops under a time frame set by the military and refocus military efforts on capturing Osama bin Laden and other terrorists, and securing U.S. ports and other vulnerable areas.
14th District: The Cleveland Plain Dealer has coverage of yesterday's debate at the City Club of Cleveland, noting that Lew Katz (D-Chesterland) challenged Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Concord Township) "on a half-dozen points, including a last-minute vote change in 2005 that helped codify the Central American Free Trade Agreement - and LaTourette's admission later that he had changed his position on the basis of bogus information." Katz also criticized LaTourette for "portraying himself as a moderate at home, when he votes along party lines in Washington," and "told the packed room that he would be 'transparent' if elected, publishing lists of everyone he would meet with, including lobbyists." LaTourette "said a nonpartisan study supported his moderate reputation and that he voted against party lines more than any other Ohio member of Congress" and mainly touted his record, especially in bringing federal money to the district. I was at the debate and will publish much more about it later today. It was not televised, but an audio podcast will be available on the City Club site.
15th District: The Columbus Dispatch writes today about a terrific 10-minute video produced by Upper Arlington Progressive Action in reaction to negative advertising. It is a documentary-style, largely positive series of statements by ordinary citizens, with some great music at the end. The speakers express displeasure with Republican rule and with incumbent Deborah Pryce (R-Upper Arlington), and praise Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus). "We wanted to speak in a kind of a nonconfrontational way to our neighbors about what we thought were the issues that were really bothering us," a spokesperson said. The article also describes the genesis of this strong grassroots organization. Here is the video, which has already been viewed about 1000 times:
[NOTE: I have removed the embedded link, but the video is available here.]
18th District: Chris Slevin has a report in the terrific blog Fair Trade in 2006, launched in connection with Citizens Trade PAC, describing a rally for Zack Space (D-Dover) last night. Here's an excerpt:
Among the speakers was a 55 year-old gentleman from a USW plant in Newcomerstown that is laying off all but six workers due to increased imports and plant re-location to Colombia. He emphasized that he and his fellow workers have nothing against workers in Colombia, and same for workers in China, India and anywhere capital flows. But what it is upset at, he put simply, is corporate greed that drives the race to the bottom in labor, environmental, health and human rights that is nothing less than unraveling communities in Ohio and across the country. ... [Space] took the microphone and said, as it relates to unfair trade and what it is doing to families and communities, he “gets it,” essentially saying NAFTA and CAFTA are not the models to which the new Congress should base trade agreements on.Space and gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ted Strickland (D-Lisbon) will campaign across central Ohio today, November 3rd, including stops at the Westfork Community and Senior Center in Millersburg at 11:30 am, Civic Hall in Coshocton at 1:00 pm, the VFW on West 4th Street in Dover st 3:00 p.m, Courthouse Square in Carrollton at 4:15 pm, and the Harrison County Courthouse in Cadiz at 5:30.
Zack was pretty genuine and in no hurry to leave the union hall. We talked a bit about his experience as a small businessman and how the small and medium-sized guys are not getting the representation on trade in Washington from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers which are looking out for Wal-Mart, Catepillar and collaborating more with Big PhRma to write and push NAFTA expansion.