Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Thursday, September 13

AP Story: Dems Target Five Congressional Races in Ohio

There is an AP news story out based on an interview with Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, confirming that the Democratic party is targeting five U.S. House races in Ohio. Here are my notes on those five contests:
1st District SW Ohio (Hamilton, Butler Counties). Includes part of Cincinnati and western suburbs. Cook PVI R+1. Bush won 50% of the vote in 2004. Incumbent Steve Chabot defeated second-time challenger Councilman John Cranley by 53% to 47% in 2006.2nd District SW Ohio (Adams, Brown, Clermont, Pike, Hamilton, Warren, Scioto Counties). Includes part of Cincinnati and eastern suburbs, Lebanon,Portsmouth. Cook PVI R+13. Bush won 64% in 2004. Incumbent Jean Schmidt defeated Dr. Victoria Wulsin by less than 3,000 votes (51% to 49%) in 2006.14th District NE Ohio (Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Portage, Summit, Trumbull Counties). Includes northeast suburbs of Akron, Willoughby, Mentor, Ashtabula. Cook PVI R+2. Bush won 52% in 2004. Incumbent Steve LaTourette defeated law professor Lew Katz (D) by 58% to 39% in 2006.15th District Central Ohio (Franklin, Madison, Union Counties). Includes part of Columbus and northwestern suburbs, Hilliard, Marysville. Cook PVI R+1. Bush won 50% in 2004. Retiring incumbent Deborah Pryce defeated Mary Jo Kilroy by just over 1,000 votes (50% to 50%) in 2006.16th District NE Ohio (Ashland, Medina, Stark, Wayne Counties). Includes Canton, Massillon, Alliance, Wadsworth, Medina, Wooster, Ashland. Cook PVI R+4. Bush won 54% in 2004. Incumbent Ralph Regula, rumored to be retiring, defeated novice Rev. Tom Shaw (D) by 59% to 41% in 2006.
Regula and Schuring are in italics because it is unclear who will be running. There is no GOP candidate in the 15th because nobody has yet stepped forward, although apparently Rev. Aaron Wheeler (R-Worthington), an African-American former Democrat, is moving toward jumping in.

The only thing mildly surprising here is including the 14th. The various national prognosticators have not deemed this anything but a safe district for the GOP. However, I was at the Meet the Bloggers interview with Bill O'Neill last night (about which I will write much more in a separate post), and I can confirm that this is a serious race. Two things stand out: (1) O'Neill is taking contributions now that he is no longer a judicial candidate, he recognizes that he must raise about $2 million, and he is aggressively pursuing that goal; and (2) because of his prior judicial races (three for Appellate Judge, two for Supreme Court Justice), O'Neill's name has appeared on ballots throughout the 14th District five times. Yes, this is a race. O'Neill sees his campaign as riding the crest of the "dream team" statewide campaign wave (he was along on those bus trips with Strickland, Brown, Brunner, Dann, Cordray, Sykes, and Espy in 2006), and he is going to get support from the other members of that team. Dann has already appeared at two fund-raisers and will do another, and Strickland will be hosting on on September 29th.

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