Post-Election News and Notes UPDATED
Monitoring the morning news about Ohio's elections:
The Cleveland Plain Dealer interviewed Ohio Republican Party Chair Bob Bennett, who said he doesn't think voters "want a more moderate Republican Party, [they just] want us to concentrate on solving problems at hand, whether it is education funding or whether it is taxes." (I think he's in a denial, since hard-right ideologues like Ken Blackwell and Sandra O'Brien did poorly and progressive Brown did well in many conservative areas.) Bennett accepts some blame for failing to pressure disgraced Rep. Bob Ney (R-Heath) to resign much sooner (he quit four days before the election) and failing to recognize that Gov. Bob Taft (R) would be unable to "spin his way out of" his misdemeanor convictions on ethics charges, but in general he seems to attribute the electoral setback to the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune, not bad Republican governance or unpalatable candidates.
UPDATE: Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Rep. Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island) gets off a good return volley in the Dayton Daily News:
"The Republican Party of less government, stay out of my life, is no more," Redfern said. "This political party in Ohio is more focused on what's going on in the bedroom and let us assist you in getting into heaven." ...Although Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted (R-Kettering) and his chief of staff, Scott Borgamenke, crow in this Columbus Dispatch story about losing only seven seats in the Ohio House, the article goes on to make it pretty clear that Democrats would have won more if it weren't for the Republicans' huge advantages of cash (they spent a combined $8.3 million compared to $1.3 million for the Democrats) and gerrymandered districts (Borgamenke has said in the past that the way districts were drawn by the GOP-controlled apportionment board should give the Republicans 53 safe seats, and that is exactly how many they now hold). House Minority Leader Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus), on the other hand, is ecstatic with the results because her goal was to pick up 3 to 5 seats. It's been 34 years since the Republicans have lost as many as seven House seats in one election. Only once in the past 55 years (1993-94) has either party had a majority as narrow as 53-46, and the Democrats are in great shape to make a run at controlling the chamber in 2008 by winning only four more seats.
Redfern, an Ohio House member, said Democrats would continue building an "88-county party" and focus on mayoral and city council races in 2007. Democrats, he said, are welcoming back the "Reagan Democrats" who left the party for the Republican Party during the past 15 to 20 years.
Cong OH-15: The big Voters Rights rally at Ohio State University is covered by Lucie on BSB, on the Kilroy for Congress Blog, and by the local Fox TV station. The Columbus Dispatch reports that the final, official vote count in Franklin County will start on November 19th (a day later than allowed, in deference to the big Ohio-Michigan football game) and should conclude by November 21st. There are at least 19,524 late absentee and provisional votes left to count in the district (9,137 absentees and at least 9,469 provisionals in Franklin County, plus 918 of both kinds from Madison and Union counties).
Gov: Ted Strickland (D-Lisbon) picked Columbus mayor and pre-primary foe Mike Coleman (D-Columbus) to head up his transition team.
Atty Gen: Marc Dann (D-Liberty Township) promises more oversight and less partisanship:
"People in this state are sick and tired about being sick and tired of partisanship," said Dann. "Certainly I’ve been partisan from time to time in my career in the Senate. I don’t intend to be partisan as attorney general."Ohio House 16th: The Columbus Dispatch acknowledges the election of late replacement candidate Jennifer Brady (D-Westlake) to an open GOP-held seat as this year's surprise result. "We always knew Jennifer Brady existed," House Minority Leader Joyce Beatty said. "Obviously they didn’t, which was a good thing for us."
Dann said he would move quickly on creating a unit to ensure integrity in elections and would involve his office’s 350 lawyers more directly in decisions by state agencies to award contracts. Dann has said corruption flourished in Columbus in part because contracts were awarded for political reasons without oversight.
Ohio House 22nd: House Minority Leader Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) identified health care lawyer John Carney (D-Columbus) as a candidate who lost by a small margin (less than 8%) and would be well-positioned to win in 2008, when opponent Rep. Jim Hughes (R-Columbus) will be term-limited out. "I’m not going to rule anything out at this point," Carney said. I interviewed Carney back in September and regrettably never got it written up and published among the incredible crush of news and events that followed. He is truly an impressive candidate -- smart, passionate, dedicated. Interestingly, he was a student leader at Ohio State University at the same time as Josh Mandel (R-Lyndhurst), who won the open 17th District seat in suburban Cuyahoga County. We need to get Carney in the General Assembly as well.
Ohio House 24th: I love this tale of two Teds from the Cincinnati Enquirer blog Politics Extra:
A capacity crowd of volunteers jammed Strickland campaign headquarters in downtown Columbus today to greet their newly-elected governor. "Ted, Ted, Ted," they shouted.
In walked Ted Celeste, much to the delight of fans of his brother and former governor, Richard Celeste. Ted Celeste defeated incumbent state Rep. Geoff Smith Tuesday ...
When Strickland finally strolled in, the governor-elect shouted, "Ted." "Ted," Celeste replied. The pair of Teds hugged as Democratic volunteers broke into cheers.