Post-Election New and Notes
Items of interest about Ohio's recent elections:
Chuck Todd of the National Journal attributes Republican success in OH-1, OH-2 and OH-15, which he thought would all "fall in a wave," to solid turnout of the base. I think you have to add to that underwhelming turnout in urban areas -- Hamilton County and especially Franklin County lagged the state turnout rate badly.
The Toledo Blade editorializes that the switch to electronic voting equipment mandates greater expenditures to ensure smooth elections, and urges secretary of state-elect Jennifer Brunner (D-Columbus) to make seeking additional funding for county election authorities a high priority.
Jim Tankersley of the Toledo Blade reported yesterday that the Democrats' overall success in Ohio resulted from learning lessons from the debacle of 2004, while the Republicans failed to adapt and stumbled. Interesting bits include the news that then-House Minority Leader Chris Redfern approached Rep. Ted Strickland about running for governor at the Democrat's holiday party in 2004, just a month after Kerry conceded the presidency. The Democrats worked hard to win over independent voters in red counties, including an emphasis radio advertising, call-ins to radio shows by Sherrod Brown, NASCAR-watching parties for Ted Strickland, and the bus tour to rural counties by the entire ticket. The Strickland campaign tied all of his policy proposals to elements of his "hardscrablle life story," working to build personal trust for the candidate (in contrast to Kerry). Democrats also mostly avoided bruising primaries, leaving their candidates with more cash.
The Dayton Daily News has a story about labor's role in electing Democrats. The AFL-CIO worked through its affiliate Working America to increase the voter turnout among "drop-off" voters (those who vote in general elections but skip the midterms), and engaged in extensive grassroots efforts on behalf of Sherrod Brown. Twenty-eight percent of Ohio voters are in union households, and 68% of them voted for Brown. The AFL-CIO is especially happy with Brown's victory because his campaign themes echoed the organization's own positions on raising the minimum wage, renegotiating trade deals, and increasing health insurance coverage. Labor contributed over $300,000 to Brown's campaign. Unions also spent heavily to oust Republican Congressional incumbents Steve Chabot and Deborah Pryce, with less success.
Also noted in the Dayton Daily News, gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell (R) gained fewer votes last week than treasurer candidate Sandra O'Brien (R), despite outspending her $6.4 million to $28,000. Blackwell got 1.41 million votes at about $4.50 each, O'Brien got 1.55 million votes at less than 2 cents a pop.
Pho has an interesting post about exit poll numbers, which he crunches to determine that Democrats turned out their motivated voters in a higher proportion than Republicans turned out theirs. Clicking through to the CNN exit poll information, I see that only 20% of African-Americans voted for Blackwell, significantly fewer than I expected (and far, FAR fewer than Blackwell hoped). Strickland got 77%. In the Senate race it was 15% for DeWine, 85% for Brown.