Please Pardon the Interruption -- Light Posting Today

I will be doing little or no posting today (and perhaps tomorrow) due to unusual demands in non-blogging life.

Cordray Endorses AFFIL Six Principles of Fair Lending

This is a little off my usual subject matter but I think it is very significant. As regular readers of this blog already know, Americans for Fairness in Lending (AFFIL) is an organization started by consumer advocates, economists, and policy makers to raise awareness of abusive credit and lending practices and to call for re-regulation of the industry. It does excellent work in carrying out its mission to "raise the volume of our collective outrage and to shine a spotlight on predatory and unfair lending practices."

Cleveland is in some ways ground zero for the related problems of predatory lending and the subprime mortgage debacle and it is also the birth place of AFFIL, which came into existence as a result of a conference at Cleveland State University in October, 2004 called Changing Attitudes, Reforming Policy in the Credit Marketplace.

Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray (D-Grove City) has now become the first state official to step forward and endorse the six Principles of Fairness in Lending espoused by AFFIL, which spell out the lender record-keeping and accountability, equality of access, full disclosure, and legal recourse needed to assure fair lending. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have also endorsed them; John McCain so far has not.

Wood Co. Democrats Bowling Green Neighborhood Meeting

04/24/2008 - 7:30pm
04/24/2008 - 8:30pm

Grounds for Thought Coffee House, 174 South Main Street, Bowling Green Ohio 43402. Meet our county wide candidates including Jeff Bretz, Gordy Heminger, Joel Kuhlman, Julie Baumgardner and Alvie Perkins in a relaxed, informal atmosphere. No charge to attend. For more information see the Wood County Democrats website.

Ryan Endorses Clinton

One day after Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp) did so, Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) endorses Hillary Clinton.

It's all about Pennsylvania, which votes in two days. Both are from northeast Ohio, both say they are influenced by the way their districts voted in Ohio's March 4th primary.

I suspect that they were also influenced by the AFL/CIO and it's largest member, AFSCME, engaged in a bitter struggle with Obama-backing SEIU in Pennsylvania.

So much for the supposed solidarity of the seven-member Ohio Democratic congressional delegation. Except for Clinton national campaign co-chair Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Cleveland), they had all remained neutral for an extended period, with Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) indicating that it was a purposeful arrangement intended to compel the two candidates to address Ohio's particular issues.

As detailed on Friday, Ryan brings the total of Ohio superdelegates for Clinton to seven, with four for Obama and eleven yet to be determined.

News and Notes: General Assembly Races

Latest developments on the campaign trail:

OH House-59: Gerberry Appointed Dem Caucus Chair - Ohio House Democratic Leader Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) this week designated State Rep. Ron Gerberry (D-Austintown) to replace former state representative George Distel (D-Conneaut) as the new Caucus Chair, a non-statutory leadership position that serves an advisory role. Gerberry was a state representative from 1982 to 2000 and was appointed a year ago to replace retiring State Rep. Ken Carano (D). “I am humbled and proud that my Caucus and my Leader trust me to serve them in this position,” Rep. Gerberry said. “I have spent much of my adult life serving my community, and this new role only makes me want to work harder to improve the quality of life for my neighbors and the people of Ohio.”

OH House-70: Nisenoff Withdraws; Conner and Wichborn Under Consideration - Matt Nisenoff (D-Beavercreek) filed a letter with the Greene County Board of Elections yesterday morning (4/18) formally withdrawing his name from the fall election. He and his family are moving out of state for employment reasons. A district caucus of the Greene County Democratic Party Executive Committee will meet on Wednesday (4/23) to replace Nisenoff on the ballot. “We have two strong potential candidates who have stepped forward so far,” said Democratic Chairman Don Hollister, referring to former OH-07 congressional candidate Bill Conner (D-Beavercreek), who is an engineer and a U.S. Air Force veteran, and Carol Wichman (D-Fairborn), a retired public school teacher.

The 70th District is in Greene County in southeast Ohio and includes Beavercreek, Fairborn, and Xenia. It leans Republican (PVI R+8). The term-limited incumbent, Kevin DeWine (R-Beavercreek), is Assistant Majority Floor Leader and Deputy Chair of the ORP, as well as former Sen. Mike DeWine's second cousin. City council member Jarrod Martin (R-Beavercreek) is the Republican candidate.

OH House-92: Phillips To Keynote Meigs County Jefferson-Jackson Dinner - Debbie Phillips (D-Athens) will be the keynote speaker for the Meigs County Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Dinner tonight (4/19). Social hour begins at 5:00 p.m., dinner follows at 6:00 p.m., and the program will follow diner. Tickets are $15.00 per person or $25.00 per couple and are available at the door.

Betty Sutton Endorses Clinton

Sutton (D-13), is the latest OH superdelegate to go for HRC. At least, that's what First Read says.

UPDATE: The Plain Dealer reports that Sutton made the decision based on how her district voted in the primary. No explanation as to the timing of the announcement. As Rob R notes in the comments, Clinton now has 6 Ohio superdelegates and Obama has 4:

For Clinton:
Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones
Gov. Ted Strickland
Labor leader Patricia Moss
Labor leader Ron Malone
Labor leader William Burga
Rep. Tim Ryan
Rep. Betty Sutton

For Obama:
Mayor Rhine McLin
Mayor Mark Mallory
Former DNC chair David Wilhelm
Labor leader Sonny Nardi

Undetermined:
Rep. Marcy Kaptur
Rep. Dennis Kucinich

Rep. Charlie Wilson
Rep. Zack Space
Sen. Sherrod Brown
State Rep. Joyce Beatty
State Rep. Chris Redfern
County part chair Enid Goubeaux
[Redfern Pick #1]
[Redfern Pick #2]

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

Items of note on a sunny spring afternoon so gorgeous it makes you want to just toss yourself onto the grass and snooze for the rest of the day:

OH-01 - State Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill) will attend a Meet the Candidates Night hosted by the Forest Park Democratic Club on Thursday (4/24) at the Forest Park Senior Center, 11555 Winton Road.

OH-02 - Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) and the Xavier University Democrats will co-host a training event called "Getting to the Grassroots" at XU on Sunday, May 5th, from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. (details here).

OH-03 - Jane Mitakides (D-Washington Twp) will be at the meeting of the Montgomery County Young Democrats next Thursday (4/24) at 6:00 p.m. Call (937) 222-4007 for more information.

OH-06 - Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-St. Clairsville) has joined with Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Rick Boucher (D-VA) to co-sponsor H.R. 5638, a measure sought by a coalition of consumer groups and the car repair industry. The bill would exempt alternative repair parts from the design patents held by original car part manufacturers, thus holding down car repair costs.

OH-07 - GOP primary candidate Lt. Col. John Mitchel (USAF-ret.) is irritated that candidate Steve Austria (R-Beavercreek) has written a newspaper piece advocating a government solution for the home foreclosure crisis. He responds in an essay entitled "Ohio Republicans Have Lost Their Way":

We should remind Mr. Austria that it was on his watch in the Ohio General Assembly, including a stint as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary-Criminal Justice Committee, that lenders, mortgage brokers, title companies and real estate interests were given a long leash to issue high-risk loans to high-risk borrowers. I am offended that in the article Austria writes, “I urge all Ohio homeowners to keep track of their finances and mortgage payments,” when in fact both Austria and his campaign contributors in the industry were on the short list of those that caused the problem. For an elected official to offer that paternalistic advice when he is at least partly responsible takes arrogance and hypocrisy to a new level.

OH-09 - Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) will present the keynote address at the dedication of a 45-foot high wind turbine at Clay High School in Toledo at 9:30 a.m. on Monday (4/21). Students will use the turbine to collect data on wind energy.

OH-10 - Standing up for California cows during a subcommittee hearing yesterday, noted vegan Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) challenged a USDA finding of no humane violations at the Westland/Hallmark Meat plant in Chino, California where a Humane Society undercover camera had caught workers mistreating the animals with chains, electric prods, and water hoses.

OH-11 - CQ Politics reports today that Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Cleveland) and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) have each contributed to $2,000 to airline executive Nikki Tinker (D-TN), an African American challenger to white first-term incumbent Steve Cohen (D-MS) in majority-black TN-09. Cohen narrowly defeated Tinker in a 15-way primary in 2006. Some other black members of Congress, including Rep. John Conyers Jr (D-MI) and Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), are supporting Cohen, who has three other black challengers in the August 7th primary as well. [NOTE: I have corrected my original post which incorrectly referred to Cohen's district as MS-09. Also, although CQ Politics called Cohen's victory in the primary "narrow," it was in fact a decisive 4,000-vote victory. Thanks to a reader for these corrections.]

OH-13 - Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp) is pleased to have supported the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act, which passed in the House on a bipartisan vote yesterday. “This bill is one more piece of the higher education puzzle this Democratic Congress has been putting together to ensure that each generation builds on the achievements of the one before to provide our children and communities with a more prosperous future,” Sutton said. “No student in this country should be denied a higher education because of his or her economic circumstance or because student loans were not available.” *** Sutton has another round of "Congress in Your Community" events next week: Tuesday (4/22) at 8:30 a.m. at the Ehrnfelt Recreation Center in Strongsville and 11:00 a.m. at City Council Chambers in North Royalton; Wednesday (4/23) at 10:00 a.m. at the Richfield Administration Building and 11:30 a.m. at the New Franklin Administration Building in Akron; Thursday (4/24) at 9:00 a.m. at the Avon Lake Library, 10:00 a.m. at the Brecksville Community Center, 11:00 a.m. at the North Ridgeville Branch Library, 11:30 a.m. at City Hall in Broadview Heights, and 1:00 p.m. at the Sheffield Complex; Center; and Saturday (4/26) at 10 a.m. at the Lake Anna YMCA in Barberton.

OH-14 - Good news from the campaign of Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell) about his recovery from heart bypass surgery:

O’Neill has slowly worked his way back on the campaign trail in recent weeks, well in advance of his doctors’ expectations. He made appearances at Geauga County and Ashtabula County events [last] weekend and has worked from the campaign office since last Monday.

“I don’t think anyone expected Bill to be back so soon. We always knew he was eager to get back, but we’ve been very careful to follow doctor’s orders to ensure he gets the rest he needs,” campaign manager Toby Fallsgraff said. “The doctors and nurses have been impressed with how well he’s doing, which seems to be a surprise to everyone but Bill.”

O'Neill's fund-raising lagged during the second half of the first quarter due to the surgery, but the campaign is focused on the positives:

“We were on pace for another record-breaking fundraising quarter, but we’ll take our candidate’s health and timely recovery as a consolation prize,” Fallsgraff said.

What sets his campaign apart, O’Neill said, is not just the impressive amount of money raised, but the fact that most of the money is coming from small donors who are locally based.

“Steve LaTourette’s campaign is being funded by big checks from lobbyists and special interests in Washington, and our campaign is being funded by folks in Ohio who are tired of what those lobbyists and special interests have been doing,” O’Neill said. “I’ll take our team over theirs any day.”

OH-16 - The grand opening of the new campaign headquarters for State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) is tomorrow (4/19) from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at The Metropolitan Center, 601 Cleveland Ave NW in Canton.

Apply Now for CPL New Leaders Fellowship Program

Are you interested in getting a full-time, paid position at a leading progressive organization in Ohio?

The New Leaders Program at the Center for Progressive Leadership is working to change the face of tomorrow's political leadership by connecting 21-30 year old people of color, LGBT youth, and women to paid positions with progressive organizations. Applications are being accepted through May 1 for the 2008 New Leaders Fellowship Program in Ohio.

Click here to learn more about the program and how to apply.

The 2008 New Leaders Fellowship Program runs from June to November, and includes:

* Paid Position at a Leading Progressive Organization
* Leadership Trainings and Workshops
* Networking Events
* Mentoring and Career Coaching

Leading progressive organizations that have hosted CPL New Leaders in the past include the Alliance for Justice, Campaign for America's Future, Center for American Progress, Choice USA, Food and Water Watch, Human Rights Campaign, Progressive Majority, Service Employees International Union, Sierra Club, and many more. This will be the first year running the program in Ohio, so we're working on finalizing the partner organizations now.

Apply online today!

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

What's going on in Ohio's U.S. House races:

OH-01 - State Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill) presented an honorary high school diploma on Tuesday to Alma Combs, who left high school during World War II to help care for her family. Driehaus sponsored the bill allowing Ohio high schools to grant diplomas to women who left school during the war after speaking with Combs at a graduation ceremony where a male war veteran received his honorary diploma. "Alma came up to me and said, 'It's awfully great what you did for the veterans because they deserve it, but there were many young women who left high school to go home and support their families while the men were off fighting - nobody recognizes us,'" Driehaus said. *** Dave Harding reports at ProgressOhio.org that Americans United for Change is launching a radio ad slamming Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) for his votes to continue the Iraq War that is devastating our economy. Listen to the ad here.

OH-03 - The campaign of Jane Mitakides (D-Washington Twp) points out that Rep. Mike Turner (R-Centerville) spent more money than he raised in the first quarter -- even though he had no opponent in the primary. What's that about? He also spent more in the quarter than Mitakides did, although she had to fend off two primary opponents, and Mitakides out-raised him in each of the two six-week reporting periods. "Fundraising is a tangible measure of support for a race, and it’s big news when a challenger is consistently out-raising an incumbent," writes internet communications director Chris Kelly. "It shows that voters are ready to make change happen and finally end the era of back-room deals and no-bid contracts." *** Mitakides will speak tomorrow in Toledo at the Spring Convention of the Federated Democratic Women of Ohio, and next Wednesday (4/23) she will attend the 9th Annual Sugar & Spice Tasting sponsored by the Clinton County Democratic Party to raise money for high school scholarships.

OH-04 - A proposal to provide eight weeks of paid parental leave to federal employees was cut to four weeks yesterday due to opposition by three Republican members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, including Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana). They're balking at the cost and questioning the timing. Somehow the party of "family values" never seems to have much interest in actually helping families out.

OH-06 - Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-St. Clairsville) is a relatively conservative Blue Dog Democrat, but he contributed $1,000 to the re-election campaign of the right's poster child of liberalism, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland), last month. Not from his campaign fund, but personal money.

OH-07 - The Xenia Gazette has a report on the impressive fund-raising by Sharen Neuhardt (D-Yellow Springs) today. Campaign manager Jim Alexee told the reporter that "a sizable chunk" of the $173,000 reported was "raised during door-to-door campaigning." Steve Austria has raised a lot more money overall than Neuhardt, but he spent $420,000 winning his primary compared to $124,000 spent by Neuhardt, leaving them about equal in cash-on-hand.

OH-10 - Jill is "broken and mortally wounded" to learn that Jim Trakas (R-Independence) is helping MyOhioNow in its effort to bring a big, glitzy casino complex to southeast Ohio, and she's "not even a Republican." Trakas isn't exactly shouting about it. In fact, he's reportedly keeping a low profile in the campaign because many of his potential donors don't favor efforts to promote gambling. *** Sabrina Eaton noted on Openers that the astonishing $1,517,238.83 raised in the first quarter by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) included donations from celebrities like pornography publisher Larry Flynt, actress Shirley MacLaine, hair stylist Vidal Sassoon, writer Andrew Tobias, and actor Peter Coyote. That nationwide donor list he's got is powerful, if a little bizarre. *** Blogger AmericanFactotum posted a diary on DailyKos yesterday questioning why Kucinich was one of just two Democrats to vote against the Emergency Assistance for Secure Elections Act of 2008 (HR 5036), a measure that would have helped local governments pay for switching back to paper ballots if they chose to do so. However, the bill has been sharply criticized as a lukewarm compromise measure that doesn't go far enough to improve voting systems, so that presumably explains the vote. Kucinich is not one to compromise.

OH-12 - Blogger Bonobo takes Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Westerville) to task for proposing an amendment that would limit an extension of unemployment benefits to just 18 states that meet an arbitrary formula. Bonobo is "taken aback" at Tiberi's "apparent loss of ability to think of people as people, and not a collection of faceless aggregate labels."

OH-13 - On Tuesday Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp) introduced and managed the resolution leading to the passage of H.R. 5719, the Taxpayer Assistance and Simplification Act of 2008, which passed the House with a vote of 238-179. “Today is tax day, a source of stress and anxiety for so many working families in Ohio and across the nation,” Sutton said in a press release. “It is important that Congress acts to alleviate the frustration caused by our complicated tax system. I am pleased that we have passed legislation to make filing taxes simpler and fairer while also easing the burden of tax law compliance.” H.R. 5719 would modernize IRS functions to make filing taxes simpler while improving outreach to taxpayers.

OH-15 - Blogger ohio06win highlights this analysis of the record of State Sen. Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington) by Emily's List, which has endorsed Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus), and it ain't pretty: he is one of four Ohio Senators to vote against a bipartisan bill against predatory lending, he consistently opposes consumer protection efforts, and he earned a "0" rating from Ohio NARAL for supporting restrictions on the right to choose ... all while calling himself a moderate and pro-choice. And there was that offensive remark he made about female high school seniors visiting the Statehouse, which the recently-married politician minimized by commenting that he can "window shop," he just can't "buy."

OH-18 - The Hill reported yesterday that Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) is one of fourteen freshman members of the U.S. House (all Democrats) who have not visited Iraq or Afghanistan since taking office. Unlike some of the others, Space does not sit on the Armed Forces, Homeland Security, or Foreign Affairs committees, but I wouldn't put it past the NRCC to try to make an issue of this anyway. *** Even conservative blogger Ben Keeler has to admit that Space's fund-raising has his chances at re-election looking pretty good, although Dave of NixGuy is still holding out -- Dave still likes the chances of challenger Fred Dailey (R-Mt Vernon) provided he gets out and raises at least $200,000. That may not be easy to do. Brad Smith writes on the national conservative blog RedState.com that Space is "likely to cruise to reelection" so readers considering contributions to Dailey should give them to Steve Stivers in OH-15 instead.

News and Notes: General Assembly Races

This is an abbreviated entry because I am running out the door to the OPLN Happy Hour event -- I'll add more tomorrow morning:

OH Sen-16 - Danielle Blue (D-Columbus) will have her campaign kick-off event at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29th, at Spice Bar, 491 Park Street in Columbus, OH 43215. Suggested contribution is $50. Blue is an associate attorney at the Columbus firm of Gallagher, Gams, Pryor, Tallan & Littrell, specializing in civil litigation. She has a bachelor's degree from Wittenberg University and earned her law degree from Capital University Law School in 2002. Her campaign site will be at blueforohio.com.

OH House-33 - State Rep. Tyrone Yates (D-Cincinnati) co-sponsored a prison and reentry reform bill that was passed yesterday by the Ohio House. It contains a variety of measures designed to reduce prison population and improve the reentry of ex-prisoners into society, developed over the past year in consultation with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and key criminal justice stakeholders. “This is a great first step in resolving the deep problems we face in the criminal justice system,” Rep. Yates said in a press release. “With Ohio’s prison population at historic levels, I am pleased to see the state leaders working together to address this crisis.”

OH House-19 - Marian Harris (D-Columbus) will be the featured speaker at a meeting of the Westerville Democratic Club tomorrow night (4/17) at 7:00 p.m. at the Westerville Public Library.

OH House-28 - I talked with Connie Pillich (D-Montgomery) last week and she is very excited about this election. She is already knocking on doors in her district and has her campaign kickoff event scheduled for Foley's Pub in Reading at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 26th. She won 48.04% of the vote against Rep. Jim Raussen (R-Springdale) in 2006 and is convinced that with hard work and better name recognition she will win this seat on her second try.

OH House-43 - State Rep. Stephen Dyer (D-Green) will host a town hall meeting on Thursday, April 17th, to meet with constituents and discuss legislative issues, at at the Statehouse important to them and their families 7:30 p.m. at the Coventry Township Town Hall, 68 Portage Lakes Drive in Akron.

OH House-46 - Darlene Dunn (D-Sylvania Twp) will hold a Tea and Luncheon fundraiser this Saturday (4/19) at Clara J's Tea Room in Maumee. Next week she has a full slate of events including the Tribute to Mike Beasley in Toledo on Monday, a Lion's Club breakfast on Wednesday, and the "Business - Big & Small" event in the Leadership Maumee series on Thursday morning and the third annual signature event" of the League of Women Voters of Toledo-Lucas County on Thursday evening. Now, that's campaigning.

OH House-53 - After a recount, Tim Derickson (R-Hanover Township) defeated Paul Nenni (R-Middletown) by 54 votes in the GOP primary and faces Rocky Day (D) in the general election.

OH House-54 - State Rep. Courtney Combs (R-Fairfield) was not selected as the replacement for disgsraced Kay Rogers as Butler County Auditor, so he remains on the ballot against Ken Keith (D-Hamilton). Roger Reynolds (R) was chosen for the auditor position, preventing an open seat in this Ohio House race with a strong Democratic challenger.

OH House-57 - State Rep. Matt Lundy (D–Elyria) will hold a "Lundy Listens" Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, April 24th at 7:00 p.m. at the East Carlisle Building, 1959 Grafton Road in Elyria.

Comments on First Quarter Congressional Fund-Raising in Ohio

The first thing to point out here is that Democratic congressional candidates in Ohio, as a group, demolished the Republican candidates -- even though the GOP has an eight-to-seven lead in incumbent candidates and one of them is in a leadership position in the House. Adding up all the reported results for Democrats, they raised over $4,064,000 in the first quarter, while the Republicans raised only a little over $2,294,000. That's an average of about $254,000 for the sixteen reporting Democrats, compared to about $176,500 for the thirteen reporting Republicans. In overall cash-on-hand, which includes campaign cash brought forward from last year, the reporting Democrats total just over $5.7 million and the Republicans total a little more than $5.1 million.

Turning to the three Democrats in open seat races (all GOP-held), all of them did very well, raising more money than their Republican opponents in each race. Of these three, Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus) in OH-15 raised the most at about $409,000 and has about $944,000 in the bank, far ahead of Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington) at about $600,000 cash-on-hand. However, John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) in OH-16 has the biggest proportional advantage, having brought in about $307,000 and thus more than doubled up Kirk Schuring (R-North Canton) in cash-on-hand at just over $250,000 to just over $100,000. Even the less-heralded Sharen Neuhardt (D-Yellow Springs) in OH-07 has a lot to be happy about, out-raising retiring Rep. Dave Hobson's hand-picked successor Steve Austria (R-Beavercreek) by about $173,000 to $123,000 and finding herself basically tied with him in cash-on-hand at around $50,000.

Looking at the six Democratic challengers who filed reports, three brought in more than the incumbents -- Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill) in OH-01, Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) in OH-02, and Jane Mitakides (D-Washington Twp) in OH-03. Wulsin raised the most of these three at about $280,000, far more than the $187,000 raised by her opponent Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland), and is significantly ahead of Schmidt in cash on hand at about $213,000 to $177,000. (The Wulsin campaign points out in a press release that Schmidt has campaign debt of $277,000 as well, leaving her campaign technically insolvent.) Driehaus has the most cash-on-hand of the three at about $567,000, but his opponent Rep. Steve Chabot has amassed the biggest campaign war chest of any Ohio incumbent at about $1,133,000 -- almost a half million more than House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-West Chester). Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell), who underwent heart bypass surgery last month, was fourth among Democratic challengers with about $73,000 raised this quarter.

The big surprise among Democratic incumbents is Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland), who raised an eye-popping $1,517,238.83 in the first quarter. He is absolutely crushing challenger Jim Trakas (R-Independence) in cash on hand at about $641,000 to $12,000, almost exactly the same lead that Boehner has over political science graduate student Nick von Stein (D-Hamilton). Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover), once regarded as one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the nation, continued to bury that notion by raising about $360,000 in the quarter to push his cash balance up to about $993,000, more than opponent Fred Dailey (R-Mt Vernon) by about a 25-to-1 ratio. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) is second in cash-on-hand among Democratic incumbents at about $895,000, reflecting her seniority in the delegation, and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) is fourth behind Kucinich at about $367,000.

Roundup of Congressional Race Fund-Raising Reports

Here is a table showing first quarter contributions and cash-on-hand for the Democratic and Republican candidates in every Ohio congressional district. Some of the ones marked DNF (for Did Not File) may have sent their reports in by regular mail rather than electronically, so the numbers are not yet in the FEC data base. This is the case with David Robinson in OH-12, whose numbers here are approximations supplied by his campaign manager. Incumbents are marked with an asterisk. Leaders in each column are highlighted:

Dist Dem Cand 1Q Contrib On Hand Rep Cand 1Q Contrib On Hand
OH-01 Driehaus $213,273.99 $567,302.35 Chabot* $187,754.95 $1,132,939.38
OH-02 Wulsin $279,573.52 $212,410.04 Schmidt* $186,686.55 $176,670.37
OH-03 Mitakides $109,013.24 $100,888.00 Turner* $62,888.00 $496,409.29
OH-04 Carroll $6,435.00 $4,359.70 Jordan* $46,595.00 $425,124.94
OH-05 Mays DNF DNF Latta* $159,284.91 $40,356.05
OH-06 Wilson* $100,285.00 $339,123.92 Stobbs DNF DNF
OH-07 Neuhardt $172,991.32 $49,554.79 Austria $122,954.87 $51,819.23
OH-08 Von Stein $12,630.00 $12,071.75 Boehner* $495,721.00 $641,204.56
OH-09 Kaptur* $87,245.00 $894,924.95 Leavitt DNF DNF
OH-10 Kucinich* $1,517,238.83 $640,792.39 Trakas $85,827.50 $11,861.79
OH-11 Tubbs Jones* $99,928.00 $71,340.97 Pekarak DNF DNF
OH-12 Robinson $27,382.89 $7,611.55 Tiberi* $169,300.00 $757,719.08
OH-13 Sutton* $152,320.00 $256,267.55 Potter DNF DNF
OH-14 O'Neill $72,522.00 $46,536.42 LaTourette* $119,000.00 $660,710.83
OH-15 Kilroy $409,077.95 $944,326.33 Stivers $382,667.07 $599,689.68
OH-16 Boccieri $306,774.12 $250,522.62 Schuring $221,263.00 $103,474.52
OH-17 Ryan* $151,325.00 $366,752.01 Grassell DNF DNF
OH-18 Space* $359,838.49 $992,946.24 Dailey $54,131.00 $36,207.18

OH-03: Mitakides (D) Outraises Turner (R) in First Quarter

Jane Mitakides (D) filed a post-primary campaign finance report yesterday that confirms her strong fund-raising in support of her challenge to Rep. Mike Turner (R-Centerville). Mitakides reported contributions of $73,104.63 for the most recent period (2/14 to 3/31) and $109,013.24 for the first quarter as a whole, far out-pacing the incumbent who reported raising $47,510.00 in the reporting period and $62,888.00 in the first quarter. Turner has thus raised only 58% of Mitakides' total since she filed to run at the beginning of the year. However, the incumbent brought a substantial amount of campaign cash forward from last year, so he leads in cash-on-hand by $496,409.29 to $100,88.02.

OH-15: Kilroy (D) Maintains Large Cash-on-Hand Lead Over Stivers (R)

Keeping up a prodigious fund-raising pace, Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus) reported contributions of $411,931.59 for the first quarter, bringing her up to nearly a million in cash on hand, at $944,326.33. Opponent Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington) raised $382,667.07 in the first quarter but trails in cash-on-hand by a large margin at $599,689.68. Over the election cycle as a whole, Kilroy has raised $1,193,151.15 and Stivers has raised $787,370.48.

Most of Kilroy's contributions are from individuals, while most of Stivers' are from PAC's. According to the Kilroy campaign, she received 1,087 contributions from individuals from February 14 to March 31, with an average contribution of $173.33. In comparison, Stivers’ report shows fewer than 200 contributions from individuals.

“While Stivers is taking money from the mortgage industry, Mary Jo’s campaign is fueled by hundreds of small donations because working people know that she will put them first and change the priorities in Washington,” said Kilroy campaign manager Randy Borntrager in a press release. “Mary Jo has struck a chord with people concerned about the economy and they want a change. Our opponent’s excessive contributions from corporate interests and Taft allies showed how he has curried favor with the corporate special interests as one of their lobbyists and has followed their lead in the legislature."

OH-07: Neuhardt (D) Raises $50,000 More Than Austria (R) in First Quarter

Attorney Sharen Neuhardt (D-Yellow Springs) is off to a great start, reporting $172,991.32 raised in the first quarter, which is 40% more than the $122,954.87 raised by opponent Steve Austria (R-Beavercreek) since the beginning of the year. The two are about even in cash on hand. Neuhardt is sitting on $49,554.79, while Austria has $51,819.23.

Looking at the source of their contributions, Neuhardt is clearly running a campaign based on support from individuals, while Austria relies heavily on lobbyists and special interests. Neuhardt raised almost four times as much from individuals as Austria in the quarter ($161,678.99 to $46,023). Less than 7% of Neuhardt's contributions came from PAC's, while 63% of Austria's contributions for the quarter came from PAC's.

"We've got a real race on our hands. Those Washington pundits who think Austria's a 'shoo-in' for the open Congressional seat in Ohio's 7th district are wrong again," said Jim Alexee, Neuhardt's campaign manager, about these fund-raising totals. "Voters are demanding change and they are sick of career politicians. Sharen Neuhardt is committed to growing good jobs in the district, ending the war in Iraq responsibly, ending our dependence on foreign oil and making sure all Americans have access to affordable universal healthcare."

CQ Politics: Clinton Delegate Gain in PA Likely Minimal

A story in CQ Politics today reports on a district-by-district analysis of Pennsylvania, indicting that Hillary Clinton is likely to eke out a net gain of only three delegates when all the sturm und drang ends on April 22nd, assuming she hangs on to win at all.

This nomination contest is making me SO tired. It's much worse than a movie that goes on a half-hour too long -- a common enough experience. This is more like sitting down to a dreadful dinner with your in-laws and being stranded for a week by a sudden winter storm, or getting caught in an elevator for 24 hours with Glenn Beck and Randi Rhodes, or getting a toothache on a snow-shoe expedition in the Yukon with no pain-killers in your backpack.

Enough, already.

Dems Attack Partisan GOP Ohio House Energy Bill

At 2:18 a.m. this morning the 11 GOP members of the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee rammed through the 22nd version of Senate Bill 221, a substitute bill which was drafted by GOP legislators behind closed doors. The Democrats on the committee were not present, having walked out in protest of the heavy-handed tactics.

As a sign of how bought-and-sold the GOP leaders are to the big utilities, The Daily Briefing reports that the ten-page talking points memo sent out by Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted over the weekend was drafted by Sam Randazzo, general counsel for the Industrial Energy Users-Ohio. This fact was revealed by the information embedded in the .pdf document.

Dann Pledges Cooperation with Federal Investigation; Will Release Emails

Yesterday I went to a lecture by Attorney General Marc Dann at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at which he urged law students to pursue public service careers and explained how the philosophy of attorney generals across the country has changed due to the federal government's deliberate abandonment of its responsibility to regulate businesses under existing law, and aggressive attempts to stymie state regulation through federal preemption doctrine. In particular, Dann said that the subprime mortgage meltdown, which he characterized as the worst financial collapse in the history of this country, would not have happened if federal regulators had simply done their jobs. He described his office's ongoing effort to develop a basis to go after not only mortage lenders but the Wall Street players who propelled the explosion in subprime lending -- bond raters, investment banks, and other market intermediaries.

In his public remarks Dann did not mention the pending investigation of sexual harassment claims against his friend and subordinate Anthony Gutierrez, and no questions were asked about it during the question and answer period that followed the lecture. Instead, Dann met briefly with reporters before and after the event to address the matter. I stood nearby as Dann spoke on camera to a reporter for WKYC-TV (video clip here).

Dann declined to discuss the substance of the allegations, noting that there is an ongoing investigation from which he has recused himself, and it is being handled by Ben Espy of his office. However, Dann also said that "more importantly, there is a separate, independent federal investigation going on" because "the young women who have made allegations against my friend have filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission," and "you can't get any more independent than that."

Dann also said that he wants to give the people of Ohio an Attorney General's office they can be proud of, and that he "is as anxious as anyone to get to the bottom of this." He pledged full cooperation with the federal investigation.

In comments Dann made before the event (I was not present), he told Regina Fields of The Plain Dealer that the report in the Distpatch on Sunday that he has refused to turn over emails between himself and former scheduler Jessica Utovich was incorrect:

He blamed it on confusion about trying to figure out a cost-efficient way to provide the information to the newspaper. He said the records will be provided after they have been reviewed by two law enforcement bodies.

This is inconsistent with the story in the Dispatch today, which states that Dann agreed "yesterday" to "conditionally provide" the emails, suggesting that he had first refused and then changed his mind.

Also, Dann confirmed to Fields that his placing Communications Director Leo Jennings on paid leave based on "new information" is related to the investigation, although he would not say specifically what it is about. A letter to Jennings from Dann's human resources director reportedly says that Jennings could be fired if the undisclosed allegation against him is true.

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

What's happening in the U.S. House races:

OH-01 - Yesterday State Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill) helped kick off the campaign of sister Denise Driehaus (D-Price Hill) to replace him in the General Assembly before a big crowd at the Front Porch Coffeehouse. *** Steve Driehaus is one of many angry critics of the GOP version of the energy bill in the Ohio House. The new bill was released Thursday and could get a full House vote as early as tomorrow. "We're not going to have any hearings as to the content of the bill," he said. "Doesn't that strike you as a little odd?"

OH-03 - Jane Mitakides (D-Washington Twp) was endorsed recently by Eugene Rossides, a director of Sterling Bancorp and former GOP-appointed Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury Department. He said that Mitakides "has a real shot at winning” and earned his support because she is “an entrepreneur who understands the importance of bringing good jobs to her community and ensuring that those jobs stay there.” *** Mitakides will be the keynote speaker on Friday at the Federated Democratic Women of Ohio Spring Convention in Toledo.

OH-10: Kucinich Hosts Public Meeting on Closing of 3rd District Police HQ 4/14

04/14/2008 - 12:00pm
04/14/2008 - 1:00pm

Now that the decision has been made to close Cleveland's 3rd District Police Headquarters, what will it mean to Slavic Village and the surrounding area?

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) is holding a meeting today (April 14th) at noon at Karlin Hall, located at 5304 Fleet Avenue in Cleveland, to hear the public's concerns and questions.

Joining the Rep. Kucinich will be long time residents, business owners and civic leaders.

Carolina Chocolate Drops

From the Ministry of Kultural Affairs:

Pardon the interruption in our usual programming, but I just HAD to share this.

I got to see Tim O'Brien play a sold out show at the Hamilton, OH campus of Miami U. this weekend. The opening act was an African-American string band called the Carolina Chocolate Drops. They were PHENOMENAL! What they play is basically what African-American music sounded like in the south, particularly the Carolinas and the Eastern seaboard, before the great exodus to the cities of the North, starting with the Great Depression and WWII. Band member Rhiannon Giddens attended the Oberlin Conservatory here in Ohio (where I hope my kids will go to college!) I cannot find the superlatives to do their performance justice. It has been a VERY long time since a new artist has affected me so much. If you can get a chance to hear them, by all means GO!!!!

Fund-Raising Reports in Key Ohio House Races

Ten days ago I wrote about 17 key Ohio House races, including nine GOP-held open seats, five Democratic challengers, and three potentially vulnerable Democratic incumbents. Here is a rundown on post-primary campaign finance reporting in these races, with incumbents marked by an asterisk. Contributions shown are just cash contributions during the reporting period, not including in-kind contributions or loans:

Dist Dem Cand Contrib On Hand Rep Cand Contrib On Hand
16 Brady* $12,033.00 $25,898.35 Baker $2,250.00 $12,552.55
18 Patten $6,600.00 $35,583.84 Spada $4,400.00 $13,075.89
19 Harris $5,645.00 $19,361.29 Lewis $3,250.00 $3,917.94
20 Garland $13,180.00 $14,295.49 McGregor* DNF DNF
22 Carney $24,060.00 $138,233.56 Keenan $14,225.00 $56,280.31
28 Pillich $3,320.00 $22,341.01 Raussen* $14,268.00 $40,437.87
38 Leinisch DNF DNF Blair $11,800.00 $2,018.89
42 Moran $6,470.00 $24,288.43 Nero $14,200.00 $4,048.77
46 Dunn $5,055.00 $15,197.52 Sears* $12,350.00 $13,320.51
50 DeHoff $12,920.00 $1,421.42 Snitchler $10,730.00 $3,555.52
58 Barrett* $12,470.00 $27,211.99 Boose $11,820.00 $11,771.24
63 Schneider $585.00 $46,885.36 Schindel* $9,250.00 $15,618.58
84 Crockett $4,195.00 $4,682.29 Hackett $1,520.00 $7,460.14
85 Pryor $6,161.00 $14,323.32 Schlichter* $350.00 $627.67
91 Dodd* $2,750.00 $28,213.97 Hayes $1,940.00 $3,836.94
92 Phillips $24,844.06 $46,082.61 Thompson $2,400 $7,873.51
94 Stewart $8,855.00 $20,470.97 Balderson $8,895.00 $10,897.99

OH House-92: Great Fund-Raising News for Phillips (D)

In a race that represents one of the very best pickup opportunities for the Democratic Party in the Ohio House of Representatives, City Council member Debbie Phillips (D-Athens) has filed a post-primary report with $24,844.06 raised during the reporting period and $46,082.61 cash on hand. Her opponent, County Auditor Jill Thompson (R-The Plains), is reporting a paltry $2,400.00 raised and $7,873.51 on hand.

In addition, Thompson's reporting is sloppy as well as anemic: missing employment information for many individual contributors, and post office boxes instead of street addresses for numerous payees of campaign expenditures.

This is all good news for Phillips, a seasoned campaigner running for an open seat in a Democratic-leaning district.

Weekend Concert "Psych" Up

OK, the weekend is officially here. So from the Ministry of Kultural Affairs, let's send this one out to all the hosses in the Stable!

I'll be heading out to Hamilton, Ohio tomorrow to hang with my buddy (and Grammy Award winner) Tim O'Brien. (Sorry folks but it's SOLD OUT!) So I thought I'd offer this clip from the BBC Transatlantic Sessions 3 featuring Tim and Jerry Douglas, (the Charlie Parker of the dobro.)

Tim wrote this song which was the International Bluegrass Music Association Song of the Year for 2006.

And a special SHOUT OUT to Mando Momma, Tim's biggest fan in Twinsburg, Ohio.

And let me get in a special "break a leg" to all 800 hardworking and talented kids who will be competing in solo and ensemble at District 1 of OMEA tomorrow as well. (And to their long suffering parents who will be getting up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning to get them there!)

Here's "Look Down That Lonesome Road." Y'all enjoy,now.


New Report from CPBB: Income Gap Widening in Ohio

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities issued a report today that analyzes income trends in all fifty states.

In Ohio, the richest 20% of families now have incomes 6.2 times as large as the poorest 20% of families, a ratio that was 5.6 in the late 1980s.

The richest 5% of families saw their incomes rise 34% from the late 1980s to the mid-2000s, and the richest 20% saw their incomes rise 23.7% during that time frame. That compares to the middle 20% seeing 8.9% in income gain, and the poorest 20% seeing 11.6% in income gain.

Meanwhile John McCain, who has completely bought into the Bush administration's disastrous economic policies that have worsened the income gap, is coming to Ohio on April 22nd on a "Compassion Tour," stopping in economically ravaged Youngstown before heading off to a big-dollar fund-raiser in Toledo.

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