Ohio Senate: Hints About 2008
Today the Columbus Dispatch has a few thoughts about Ohio Senate races in 2008:
* Republicans now hold 21 seats, Democrats hold 12. Of 16 seats up for election in 2008, 13 are held by Republicans. That's a lot of defense for the GOP to play, particularly since seven of those Republicans are term-limited. That means that those seven will either be open seats or in some cases perhaps held by interim appointees yet to be identified. Just for the record, the three Democratic seats to be contested in 2008 will definitely include two appointees (Marc Dann's replacement in the 32nd District and Charlie Wilson's replacement in the 30th) along with veteran Kimberly Zurz in the 28th.
* Although not term-limited, Sen. Joy Padgett (R-Coshocton) of the 20th District "will again be a prime target." Padgett held off a challenge from former Middle East hostage Terry Anderson in 2004 (in a singularly nasty campaign), but this year she was "battered in an unsuccessful congressional run [against Zack Space (D-Dover) for Bob Ney's former 18th Congressional District seat] as questions surfaced about her personal bankruptcy." According to the story, "Democrats see a high-quality challenger in Rep. Jennifer Garrison of Marietta, though it’s unknown if she will run. Garrison surprised many with an upset win in 2004 and then crushed her GOP challenger this month by 42 points." Garrison's opponent was Donald Gadd, Mayor of Byesville.
* Sen. Robert F. Spada (R-North Royalton) of the 24th District will be term-limited, "though don’t be surprised if this is not an open seat come 2008." The Dispatch doesn't identify any potential candidates. The only Democratic state representative in that suburban senate district is newly-elected Jennifer Brady (D-Westlake) of the 16th House District. Would the Democratic candidate be a present or former Cuyahoga County official? Veteran Rep. Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) of the 18th House District seems a more likely contender on the Republican side than newly-elected Josh Mandel (R-Lyndhurst) of the 17th House District, although outgoing Rep. Jim Trakas (R-Independence) of the 17th seems like another possiblity.
* Sen. Randy Gardner (R) of the 2nd District is also term-limited in 2008, "perhaps offering a tempting challenge for state Rep. Chris Redfern [D-Catawba Island, 60th Dist.], the Ohio Democratic Party chairman who also is facing term limits. Asked recently, Redfern only noted that he won re-election this year by 27 points, his biggest margin ever." Hmmm.