Add Skindell, Celeste and Hagan to List of Potential Dem House Leaders?
Cross-posted at my new location, Ohio Daily Blog:
If the Democratic Party wins four seats and therefore control of the Ohio House of Representatives, their caucus leader will be House Speaker rather than just Minority Leader. Their current leader, State Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus), is term limited in 2008. So, the hunt for a new leader is on.
I reported previously that the Toledo Blade had suggested State Reps. Todd Book (D-Portsmouth), Jennifer Garrison (D-Marietta), and Matt Szollosi (D-Toledo) as possible choices. Today, Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Mark Naymik identifies three more possibilities: State Reps. Mike Skindell (D-Lakewood), Ted Celeste (D-Grandview Heights), and Bob Hagan (D-Youngstown).
Skindell is an interesting prospect. He is in his third term and is the ranking minority member on the powerful Finance and Appropriations Committee. I heard him speak at a forum on the state budget and his grasp of substantive issues is impressive. However, the other two newly mentioned contenders have powerful political credentials. Celeste, in his first term after whipping incumbent Geoff Smith (R-Upper Arlington) last fall, is the brother of the former governor and ambassador Richard Celeste. He was a campaign manager for his brother and ran for U.S. Senate himself in 2000. Celeste has bolstered his position with solid fund-raising since taking office. And Hagan was a state senator (and minority whip) before running for his current seat in the House due to term limits. Hagan's father was a county commissioner and primary candidate for Lieutenant Governor, and his brother is a commissioner for Cuyahoga County.