If This Is True — Wow — and What a Missed Opportunity for Democrats

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that Congressman Steve LaTourette (OH-14 in the state's northeast corner) has decided not to run for re-election after nine terms.


They claim he's not happy about his committee assignments. More likely, he just woke up the other and realized he just didn't want to go back to Ohio — ever. Maybe he saw a campaign event on his calendar — one of two or three he does every election year — and said to himself, "Nah — I barely know my way around the district anymore." It's a pretty open secret that since he dumped is first wife and family and married a young lobbyist, he's lived in the D.C. area for all practical purposes.

This is possibly one of the swingiest districts in the state, one that would be easily winnable by a Democrat — if LaTourette weren't running. LaTourette is inexplicably popular, coasting on his reputation as Lake County prosecutor two decades ago and his fake image as a "moderate," which the Dispatch recycles in this article. (On the other hand, calling him one of the most moderate members of the Ohio Republican delegation isn't saying much).

Sadly, this year, the Democrats don't actually have a viable candidate here. Bill O'Neill gave it two shots and couldn't do much against the entrenched LaTourette. Now he's running for state supreme court. That left perennial candidate Dale Blanchard to face LaTourette. Blanchard isn't a viable candidate. He was massacred by LaTourette in 2002. After that he lost to the eventual Democratic candidate in several primaries — I don't remember how many. LaTourette's other opponent, Capri Cafaro (2004), Lew Katz (2006) and O'Neill (2008 and 2010), fared much better.

What a shame there isn't a dynamic Democratic candidate already in the field in this district. Can you imagine the golden opportunity this would be if we had someone like Angela Zimmann, Joyce Healy Abrams or Sharen Neuhardt running here? Hey, I wonder if somehow Blanchard can be persuaded to drop out and Cafaro can run again? She was practically a toddler eight years ago, and she's been building her political savvy in the state legislature.

Oh well. If this is true, hopefully the Republicans will put up some useless putz and the Democratic Party can start planning now to take this seat in 2014. LaTourette is the only thing standing in their way.

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