Freedom of Choice Ohio Prevention First Lobby Day in Columbus 4/9

04/09/2008 - 9:30am
04/09/2008 - 4:30pm

On April 9, 2008 pro-choice Ohioans from around the state will gather in Columbus, Ohio for the third annual Freedom of Choice Ohio Prevention First Lobby Day. Participants will learn all about the Ohio Prevention First Act and other reproductive health legislation, and then join with others from their area to talk to their state legislators about this important legislation.
Details after the flip.

News and Notes: General Assembly Races

Items of interest in those critical state legislative races:

OH Sen-2 - Lisa Renee reports that school board member Sylvia Washburn (D-Maumee) has dropped out of this race and will be replaced on the ballot by someone yet to be determined. Washburn was recruited by then Ohio Senate Democratic Leader Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) after attorney Dan McGookey (D-Sandusky) declined to run. Paul notes that Washburn reported no campaign money in February's pre-primary campaign finance filing, while recently appointed State Sen. Mark Wagoner (R-Ottawa Hills) reported $31,700.53 cash on hand.

UPDATE: A replacement candidate would be selected by a vote of the chairpersons and secretaries of the four county Democratic Parties in the District (Lucas, Wood, Ottawa and Erie.) Since two other Ohio Senate Democratic candidates were described by Senator Fedor as being "placeholders" (her word) this might not be the last candidate to drop out.

OH House-02 - Nurse and attorney Jan Lanier (D-Westerville) reacted sharply to a recent move by the Delaware County Commission to restrict public comment at meetings. "Elected officials are supposed to serve the public, and part of that service entails listening to citizens’ concerns," she wrote on her campaign site. "Offering your attention to the emotional pleas of residents should be seen as the business of an elected official, not as an obstacle to conducting business. When officials lose sight of that fundamental principle, the result is a loss of public confidence and an erosion of trust in government." Opponent Kris Jordan (R-Dublin) is one of the county commissioners.

OH House-10 - The Statehouse visit and meeting with the Governor and other elected officials by 45 students from Cleveland's Iowa Maple Elementary School on Tuesday, organized by State Rep. Eugene Miller (D-Cleveland), was a big success. “We want to make sure that our young people have an understanding and appreciation for government and how it affects and improves their daily lives,” Rep. Miller said. “I hope that this program jumpstarts civil lessons in their classrooms so that they can be involved, well-educated citizens as they grow up.”

OH House-15 - Yesterday State Rep. Tim DeGeeter (D-Parma) and State Sen. Lance Mason (D-Cleveland) introduced a concurrent resolution urging Congress to reauthorize funding for the Federal DNA Backlog Grant program, which assists states and localities in reducing DNA case turnaround time and DNA forensic casework backlogs and increases the output of their DNA laboratories. “Developing a sustainable source of funding for existing DNA programs has been a significant concern in Ohio,” Rep. DeGeeter said. “I strongly encourage Congress to reauthorize this funding, which will go a long way to strengthen the criminal justice system.”

OH House-19 - State Rep. Bob Hagan will host a fundraiser for Marian Harris (D-Columbus) on Tuesday, April 15th, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Queen Bee Restaurant, 248 S. 4th Street in Columbus. Suggested contribution is $250. *** Harris has walking lit with the theme "Recipe for Ohio's Future," and it includes a favorite recipe of hers ("the best poppy seed cake ever").

OH House-25 - The State Government and Elections Committee yesterday unanimously passed a resolution co-sponsored by State Rep. Dan Stewart (D-Columbus) to require filing of petitions for ballot issues 125 days before the election instead 90 days, a measure intended to avoid a repeat of the costly fiasco involving an issue over rules governing adult businesses that was a late scratch last fall. “I’m pleased that my colleagues saw the importance of this legislation and approved it today,” said Rep. Stewart, who is the ranking Democrat on the committee. “This legislation will help create a more transparent ballot petition process, save hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars and ease voter confusion.”

OH House-50 - Yesterday I spoke briefly to Celeste DeHoff (D-Massillon), who won a crowded primary and is gearing up to run a strong campaign in this key targeted race. Her campaign manager is Denise Houston, a Canton attorney. Her campaign site is not up yet, but will be at "CelesteDeHoff.com". (In the meantime, contribution checks payable to "Friends of Celeste DeHoff" can be sent to 900 Mill Ridge Path, Massillon, OH 44646.) She has been a Tuscarawas Township Trustee for ten years and is Assistant Law Director for Jackson Township. She expects the big issues in her race to be funding and improving the schools, jobs (lots of district residents lost their jobs when the Hoover plant in North Canton closed), and the environment (there have been big problems in the district with garbage dumps that have been leaking through the liners and damaging the groundwater). DeHoff regards attracting new businesses and helping people get the education and training to give them necessary job skills as the keys to the jobs issue.

OH House-84 - Connie Crockett's campaign site is down for the present, but when it returns it will be at the same location as before. In the interim she is accepting donations by mail payable to "Crockett for Ohio," 611 Xenia Ave., Yellow Springs, OH 45387, and she can be contacted at crockett4ohio-at-sbcglobal-dot-net. She plans a vigorous campaign in this open seat race against Madison County Commissioner Bob Hackett (R-London). She notes that two of the three counties in the district (Madison, Clark, and Greene) turned blue in the primary, and the other one almost did. One of the big issues in this race will be mega-farms and the negative impact they are having on the environment and quality of life. Here is a short video clip of the candidate speaking at a candidates forum hosted by the Cedarville Chamber of Commerce in February:


OH House-99 - Here is a photo from the swearing-in of State Rep. Deborah Newcomb (D-Conneaut) on Tuesday:

Rep. Newcomb was on Conneaut City Council for a decade and was re-elected as Ashtabula County Commissioner three times after her appointment in 1999. “I know I have big shoes to fill; George Distel is a legend in this district,” Rep. Newcomb said. “But I intend to hit the ground running and provide seamless service to my neighbors in northeast Ohio.”

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

On the radar screen today:

OH-02 - She's at it again! In September 2006 Rep. "Mean Jean" Schmidt (R-Loveland) plagiarized an editorial by Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Upper Arlington) for a guest column in the Community Press. Now she has apparently recycled material from an IRS informational letter for a taxpayer-funded letter to constitutents explaining the economic stimulus package, something that has been widely discussed in the media as well as in the prior IRS letter. As former Cincinnati Enquirer copy editor Jack Cannon commented in a letter to the editor of his former employer, “So, why would the congresswoman waste all that taxpayer money sending out letters to the Second District to rehash it all? Could it be just to get her name out there before the voters?"

OH-03 - Patrick McHugh, campaign manager for hard-charging challenger Jane Mitakides (D-Washington Twp), confirms that she will report an amount in excess of $150,000 for the first quarter. "There is a lot of excitement about this race out there and it is growing by the day," he adds.

OH-07 - Here's a short video clip of challenger Sharen Neuhardt (D-Yellow Springs) speaking at a candidates forum hosted by the Cedarville Chamber of Commerce in February, before she won the six-candidate Democratic primary:

She presents herself well as a pragmatic, business-friendly Democrat, and she makes a good point about putting more Democrats in Congress in order for Ohio to have "more seats at the federal table." It is instructive how she makes a stronger impression during the Q and A, when she is no longer referring to notes.

OH-12 - Russ Goodwin (D-Columbus), who won 35% of the vote in the three-way Democratic primary, has sent out a note saying that he is "very happy with this result" and he is pleased that his campaign followed through on an early decision to run an "above board, clean campaign and not spend tons of money." He also lists his endorsements for November in a host of Democratic candidates up and down the ticket, and significantly he includes his former adversary, primary winner David Robinson (D-Columbus).

OH-16 - State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) announced today that he met his goal of achieving "cruising altitude" by raising $20,000 online during March. He also asks supporters to donate or loan office supplies, desks, tables, chairs, computers, etc. for his new campaign headquarters, which will be opening soon at 601 Cleveland Avenue NW in Canton. *** Boccieri told Gerry Ricciutti of WYTV in Youngstown that he wants something more in the bipartisan economic stimulus plan announced by Gov. Strickland yesterday: "[He] says he'd like to see the plan go even further to help distressed cities like Youngstown get rid of blight, saying he may propose an amendment to the plan to allow cities to come up with funding for demolition."

OH-18 - David notes that Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) will attend a ceremony at ABC Manufacturing, 210 13th Street in Malta, Ohio, on Monday (April 7th) at 1:00 p.m. Space had worked with the company and local officials to secure this facility for the area. As David says, this is a "perfect chance for 18th district residents to see both their congressman and the effect he’s having on the area."

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

What's rocking and rolling in the House races:

OH-01 - State Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill) will speak to the Wyoming Democratic Club at Northern Hills Fellowship, 460 Fleming Road in Wyoming, Ohio next Tuesday, April 08 2008, at 7:30 p.m. *** Yesterday I wrote that Sharen Neuhardt in OH-07 leads all Ohio congressional challengers in ActBlue fundraising but I was mistaken -- Driehaus actually holds the lead at $51,246, an impressive showing. My apologies for the error.

OH-03 - Jane Mitakides (D-Washington Twp) raised $600,000 for her 2004 campaign, and she appears to be off to a very strong start this cycle. The Hellenic News of America published a story yesterday indicating that she has "raised a solid $150,000" since entering the race in mid-January. The story, which urges Greek Americans to open their pocketbooks to various candidates, also states that GreekPAC has endorsed Mitakides, that she is an active member of the American Hellenic Institute, and that she is right on "key Greek American issues" including calling for the removal of the Turkish troops, settlers, and barbed wire fence now dividing Cyprus. Mitakides' comments to the paper are very upbeat:

We were a little overwhelmed with the immediate response to the campaign. It certainly isn't a cliché here to say that people are ready for change. ...

The mood for change that hit Ohio in 2006 hasn't crested yet The voters of this district want leaders who will put our country back on track – an economy that works for all Americans, health care that is affordable and accessible to every American, and an end to our dangerous dependence on Mideast oil. We need to start investing in America for a change. Financial support is just one piece of what we're seeing in this campaign. The energy here is electric.

OH-12 - The campaign site of challenger David Robinson (D-Columbus) highlights this video clip, in which the candidate gives a thoughtful explanation of why he is running:


OH-16 - Retiring Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Navarre) was cited along with Sen. George Voinovich (R-Cleveland) in the Congressional Pig Book (compiled by Citizens Against Government Waste) for earmarking $126,000 for the First Ladies Library and Museum in Canton, founded by Regula's wife.

OH-18 - Although Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) has taken a hard (and very public) stance against illegal immigration, he was not one of the nine Democrats to sign a GOP-backed "discharge petition" before the spring recess to try to bring an enforcement-only border security bill to the floor. Over the recess, the RNCC circulated talking points in the 18th District and several other rural districts held by first-term Democrats, criticizing them for not acting to bring a harsh anti-immigration measure to a vote.

Carnival of Ohio Politics #111: Hero of Trafalgar Edition

All Hands On Deck! England Expects That Every Man Will Do His Duty!

PPP Poll Has Obama Ahead in PA

Following up on my post yesterday about a Rasmussen poll showing Barack Obama only five points behind Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania with three weeks to go . . . a Public Policy Polling poll out today shows Obama ahead by 45% to 43%, which is within the 2.8% margin of error but still an astonishing change from the 26 point Clinton lead reflected in the last poll by this outfit two and a half weeks ago.

Bipartisan Economic Stimulus Plan Announced

This morning Gov. Ted Strickland (D) announced a bipartisan economic stimulus plan as a press conference with House Speaker Jon Husted (R-Kettering) and Senate President Bill Harris (R-Ashland). Instead of borrowing $1.7 billion, to which the GOP leaders had objected, the plan is to borrow $400 million and divert the other money from the general fund and turnpike revenues. The jobs creation target got lowered from 80,000 to 57,000. The targeted investment areas (local road, bridge and water projects and advanced energy work) remain the same.

Strickland had pledged to gather signatures and get his original plan on the ballot in November. He would have faced stiff resistance and it isn't clear that the measure would have found strong support. Now the less ambitious $400 million bond issue will be on the ballot with bipartisan support, so it should go off without a hitch.

Politically it looks like both sides gained something by reaching this agreement, or at least avoid the risk of political damage down the road. Harris and Husted stared down the governor and got a big concession. But Strickland burnishes his reputation as a moderate who seeks bipartisan cooperation, which helps keep him popular, and he and the Democratic party avoided the consequences they would have endured if the original bond plan had failed to capture popular support and became instead an albatross in the fall.

With the energy bill and other hotly contested issues on the legislative agenda, it is probably a good thing to have put this initiative on a sound footing and move on to another battle.

UPDATE: Reactions are rolling in. From press releases:

“These targeted investments are what we need to break Ohio out of the national economic slump. We can revitalize our communities more quickly, and invest in the jobs of the future immediately,” says State Rep. Matt Lundy (D-Elyria). “Governor Strickland continues to demonstrate bold leadership. I will work with him on these innovative ideas designed to turn around Ohio. I’m excited about the positive impact this initiative will have on Lorain County and Ohio.”

“This package means folks will see essential economic investment a year earlier than if this issue went to the November ballot,” says State Rep. Steve Dyer (D-Green). “It accelerates investment in emerging industries, our workforce and our infrastructure to create jobs and prosperity in Ohio. It is another demonstration of Governor Strickland’s decisive leadership in these difficult economic times.”

Help Retake the Ohio House - Support a Challenger or Open Seat Candidate

Friday (April 4th) is an important campaign finance reporting cut-off for General Assembly candidates. Those who put up good fund-raising numbers in their Post Primary Election Campaign Finance Report will be in a stronger position to attract donors and support as their campaigns move forward.

Since the number one goal for Ohio Democrats in the state this year is achieving a net gain of four seats and thus retaking the Ohio House of Representatives, now is the time to pick out a challenger or open seat candidate or two and give them some support. Bear in mind, of course, that you get to claim a $50 credit ($100 if filing jointly) on your state tax return next year for contributing to a General Assembly candidate during 2008. So it basically COSTS YOU NOTHING to send $50.00 to a challenger right now. Or give $10.00 each to five of them. Just get it done. (I did, and it's a great feeling.)

I wrote about some key targeted races last week. A number of them have online donation links set up, so you can click on through and make a donation right now. Here are some contribution links for key races that I highlighted last week:

92nd - Debbie Phillips

22nd - John Carney

20th - Nancy Garland

42nd - Mike Moran

46th - Darlene Dunn

28th - Connie Pillich

19th - Marian Harris

17th - Bob Belovich

Here are some candidates who don't have online contribution links yet but you can mail them a check, it'll just take a minute to do:

50th - Celeste DeHoff: "Friends of Celeste DeHoff," 900 Mill Ridge Path, Massillon, OH 44646

18th - Matt Patten: "Friends of Matt Patten," 15311 Sassafras Dr., Strongsville, OH 44136

94th - Jennifer Stewart: "Jennifer Stewart for State Representative," PO Box 190, Zanesville, OH 43702

85th - Ray Pryor: "Ray Pryor for State Representative," c/o Lawrence Brown, Treasurer, 263 Rozelle Creek Road, Chillicothe, Ohio 45601

84th - Connie Crockett: "Crockett for Ohio," 611 Xenia Ave., Yellow Springs, OH 45387

GOP: $730,018.17 -- Democrats: $33,807.06

That's the current financial position of a potential (lets even say speculative) race for Ohio Secretary of State in 2010.

More about this here.

Wake-Up Walmart Starts 2008 Campaign

Promoted from the Forums. - Jeff

Wake Up Walmart has released its first video of 2008. Walmart is a key issue for progressives to focus on- because of their awful health care benefits, Ohio citizens are estimated to be paying $70,882,417 a year in taxes to cover poor Walmart employees and their families with health care- while Walmart is making huge profits.

Please check out this video, and let your friends know why we need to "Wake Up Walmart".


News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races UPDATED

Buzz from the battlefields:

OH-03 - As Chris Kelly asks on the Mitakides campaign blog, "What’s a Congressman to do, when the only legislation he’s passed during five years on the job renamed a Dayton park?" Answer: make stuff up. Challenger Jane Mitakides (D-Washington Twp) sharply criticized Rep. Mike Turner (R-Centerville) yesterday for claiming credit for helping Delphi workers with their eligibility for economic stimulus checks when actually he had done nothing to affect their eligibilty. The controversy arises from this March 5th newspaper column in which Turner wrote that "it seemed for a while as if Delphi workers might not be eligible for a recovery rebate" because of buyouts they received in 2007, but he had "worked to obtain a clarification of the rebate process and how Delphi workers can participate." In reality, the workers' eligibility was never in doubt, and Turner's column merely caused needless worry. Mitakides accused Turner of "creat[ing] the illusion of working for the people" of the district:

"The notion that these rebates were at risk and then somehow salvaged was absolutely misleading. It's the legislative equivalent of turning in someone else's homework and taking credit for it."

Mitakides will be at the Warren County Democratic Party Spring Fundraiser on Saturday night.

UPDATE: OH-07 - One thing that I just love about challenger Sharen Neuhardt (D-Yellow Springs) is that she really gets it about the importance of early fund-raising. She has collected a total of $45,390 through ActBlue.com to date, more than any other Ohio challenger. (Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell) is close behind at $45,044.) The biggest ActBlue haul of any Ohio congressional candidate is by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) at $141,120, the bulk of it coming through The People's Email Network. Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) is the only other incumbent ahead of Neuhardt, at $53,335 raised so far. [PS: ActBlue announced today that it broke two records -- funds raised in a quarter, and funds raised in a single day (i.e., yesterday). Also, I overlooked another challenger, Steve Driehaus in OH-01, who has raised even more on ActBlue than Neuhardt at 451,246.]

OH-09 - Yesterday Avi Zenilman of Slate.com wrote a piece categorizing the various types of undecided superdelegates, and gave Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) as an example of the "parochial" type who "need reassurances that there’s something in it for them or for the places they hail from." He quoted Kaptur as saying of herself and other Ohio congressional superdelegates that “our job is to represent our constituents and their deepest concerns. I’m hoping superdelegates [who] are uncommitted that have the economy as their major concern will gravitate to our group and use that power to gain additional attention.”

OH-10 - Blogger Jay McDonough makes a good point about Clinton's argument that she must not be pressured to drop out of the race because voters in the remaining ten primaries must have their say: "By the same reasoning, do Bill and Hillary Clinton believe Dennis Kucinich should have stayed in the race so as not to deny those (rabid) Kucinich voters in Pennsylvania and North Carolina the opportunity to cast their vote for Kucinich?"

OH-12 - David Robinson (D-Columbus) had a very successful pair of campaign events over the weekend. Gray Hunter of the Licking County Pro-Active Citizens reports that "some 50 first-wave volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon for the campaign kick-off" and were "greeted by a large table overflowing with professional-looking literature, a huge swarm of campaign pins, stacks of candidate postcards, bumper stickers and yard signs, altogether an amazing array of get-out-the-vote tools." At Saturday's breakfast meet-up in Newark, Robinson "vowed before an audience of about 40 Licking County activists to run a "positive" campaign, one avoiding personal attacks while still going after Tiberi's record of supporting the Bush agenda." Robinson told the crowd that:

Pat Tiberi is not the moderate Republican he portrays himself as. On Iraq, for example, he says the same things Bush has been saying for five years...and he advocates extension of all the Bush tax cuts which are completely immoral in terms of the debt we're heaping on our young people.

Hunter praises Robinson for "his seemingly boundless energy and a drive to organize derived from his business and environmental background."

UPDATE: OH-14 - The campaign of Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell) hit a grand slam with its baseball-themed push to raise $2,300 online by the end of Opening Day. The program raised $3,285. Congrats!

OH-15 - County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus) expressed outrage yesterday at the enormous paychecks received by executives of mortgage companies that perpetrated the subprime mortgage meltdown in Ohio. “It’s time to change the priorities in Washington so the powerful banking lobby no longer writes the rules to benefit Wall Street at the expense of Main Street," she said in a press release, as reported on The Daily Briefing. *** As Dave Harding notes at ProgressOhio, Kilroy joined the other two Franklin County Commissioners today in adopting a resolution to protect county employees from discrimination in employment, housing or public accommodations because of sexual orientation or gender identity. This is analogous to the recently-introduced non-discrimination bill in the General Assembly over which opponent State Sen. Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington) has expressed some reservations, saying that changes are needed to protect employers in job interview situations.

OH-16 - While running hard for Congress, State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) has attained a goal he had set for himself in the Ohio Senate -- appointment to the Energy and Public Utilities Committee, where he is now the ranking Democratic member.

Rasmussen Poll: Clinton Lead in PA Down to 5 Points

Whoa. Rasmussen has a new poll out showing Hillary Clinton with only a five point lead in Pennsylvania, three weeks out from the primary:

47% Clinton
42% Obama

That is down from a ten point lead on March 25th, a thirteen point lead on March 13th, and a fifteen point lead on March 6th.

The pollster notes that Obama was recently endorsed by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), leads in recent national polling by Gallup, and is out-spending Clinton in Pennsylvania by a wide margin.

Most of the recent chatter about the presidential race has been premised on the assumption that Clinton would win Pennsylvania, Obama would win North Carolina, and later primaries like Indiana would loom large thereafter. If Obama pull Pennsylvania out, it might all be over.

Obama closed the gap in Ohio in similar fashion but still lost the primary. However, looking back at the polls in Ohio, I don't see any that showed Obama as close as 5 points until a PPP Poll on February 23-24th, a little more than one week before the election. Obama has much more time left to work with in Pennsylvania than he did in Ohio at that time.

Ct App-12: Birthday Campaign Kickoff For Carter (D) in Hamilton 4/4

04/04/2008 - 5:00pm
04/04/2008 - 7:30pm

Attorney Bruce Carter (D-Fairfield) is running a spirited campaign for the Court of Appeals in the 12th District, which hasn't had a Democratic appellate judge in far too long.

Carter is having a campaign kickoff event on Friday called "Look Who's Turning 52 and Feeling Blue!!!" The invitation says:

Come Cheer up the Candidate on His Birthday - Cake, soft drinks and coffee will be served - No Alligator Wrestling Allowed!

While there will be no alligator wrestling, additional embarrassing photographs (such as the one at above right) may appear (but no guarantees).

The party is 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 4th at Butler County Democratic Headquarters, 633 High Street, Suite 105, in Hamilton. Suggested donation is $20.00.

RSVP to Chair-at-carterforappeals-dot-com.

News and Notes: General Assembly Races

Catching up with some newsworthy items:

OH Sen-21 - State Sen. Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland), the new leader of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, sent a letter to Attorney General Marc Dann yesterday calling on him to take action against Argent Mortgage Company, which the Ohio Civil Rights Commission ruled has engaged in targeting African Americans with predatory subprime home loans. The complaint had been filed by Housing Advocates, Inc., which sought to compel Argent to put money into a reserve fund to help homeowners refinance subprime loans. "We must do what is in our power to support ethical lending regulations and give help to people in need," Smith wrote. "In many cases, this means taking decisive action against those who prey on vulnerable citizens in a malicious way. I encourage the Attorney General's office to pursue any appropriate action against Argent."

OH Sen-30 & 32 - David Skolnick reported in The Vindicator the other day that as a result of the shake-up in Democratic leadership, State Sen. Jason Wilson (D-Columbiana) and State Sen. Capri Cafaro (D-Hubbard) are now members of the Finance and Financial Institutions Committee, with Cafaro the ranking Democratic member.

OH House-10 - State Rep. Eugene Miller (D-Cleveland) will join Gov. Ted Strickland and other elected officials in welcoming 7th-grade students from Iowa-Maple Elementary in Cleveland to the statehouse today. This is the first of four such visits, the goal of which is to educate young people about how state government works, the role it plays in their daily lives and how the state of Ohio is working to improve the quality of life for its urban citizens. They will get a Statehouse tour from 9:30 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., be recognized during the House Session at 11:00, and meet with Gov. Strickland and lawmakers at 12:00 noon.

OH House-54 - Josh Sweigart reports that Butler County Republicans are considering possible replacements for State Rep. Courtney Combs (R-Fairfield) on the ballot if Combs is appointed to take over for disgraced County Auditor Kay Rogers as expected: businessman Dan Acton, attorney and former Hamilton City Councilman David Davidson, Fairfield Mayor Ronald D’Epifanio, and County Auditor’s Office Communication Manager Joe Statzer. Right-wing blogger Matt Hurley says he is "not overwhelmed" by any of these names.

Franklin Co. Dems Special Reception w/ Max Cleland in Columbus 4/15

04/15/2008 - 6:00pm
04/15/2008 - 8:00pm

Come meet war hero and former U.S. Senator Max Cleland and hear his thoughts on the upcoming election at a Special Reception sponsored by the Franklin County Democratic Party in Columbus on April 15th. This event follows a debate between Cleland and Karl Rove hosted by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce during its annual meeting and legislative reception at the Riffe Center.
Details after the break.

OH-14: O'Neill (D) Opening Day Lunch Postponed

Since I've been publicizing the event I feel compelled to put out the word here on the front page that the Opening Day Lunch for Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell) has been postponed. It's not a matter of O'Neill's health -- he's recovering from his bypass surgery well and was looking forward to the outing -- but rather too many conflicts with other opening day events. So, as campaign manager Toby Fallsgraff told me this morning, the event will be rescheduled for the same location (Johnny Q's Steakhouse in Cleveland) and the same guest of honor (AG Marc Dann) about a month from now.

In the meantime, you can help O'Neill's campaign by doing two things. First, drop by the the campaign site and help Bill O'Neill meet his Opening Day goal of raising $2,300 online by the end of the day. The promotion is called "Let's Hit One Out of the Ballpark for Team O'Neill" and they're at $1,590, leaving only $710 to go by midnight. Even a small donation will help them get to home plate.

Second, it's not too late to add your support to O'Neill's nomination for the Blue Majority program sponsored by several national progressive blogs including DailyKos.com and OpenLeft.com. This is for candidates who are in competitive but not yet top tier races, who are staunch progressives, and who are participants in the blogosphere. O'Neill fits the requirements prefectly.

OH-01: Driehaus (D) Gets Glowing Profile from Rothenberg

Stuart Rothenberg of The Rothenberg Political Report calls State Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill) a person "receiving positive buzz" from national strategists and one who has impressed Rothenberg:

The 41-year-old hopeful calls himself a "raging moderate." He is pro-life (and has been endorsed by right-to-life groups in the past) but supports embryonic stem-cell research. He voted for Ohio's Defense of Marriage Act but opposes a federal Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, saying it's unnecessary. And he opposes "artificial timelines" on withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, but he believes those forces should be withdrawn.

Driehaus is a political animal. Since he comes from the white, Catholic, middle-class part of the district and should benefit from the district's considerable African-American population, the challenger should give Chabot a run for his money. ...

Rothenberg says not to "give this seat to the Democrats just yet" because Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) is a "survivor," but Rothenberg doesn't dole out praise easily (just ask OH-02 candidate Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill)), and his opinion carries weight with politicos and party insiders. This positive mention should be a boost for Driehaus on fund-raising and institutional support.

OH-04: Jordan (R) Blasted Over Iraq Remarks

As I noted last Thursday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) confirmed that he is an all-out drinker of the "Troop Surge Is Working" Kool-Aid by telling a crowd in Lima that “We’ve lost some great people unfortunately, but we’re making progress.” It turns out that the Bush/McCain 100-year-war doctrine is a hard sell, even in the conservative 4th Congressional District, if the the letters page of The Lima News is any indication.

Of course, energetic challenger Mike Carroll (D-Mansfield) wasn't about to let that comment slip by unchallenged. His biting response was published by the newspaper on Saturday:

I would like to ask why is it that no one is talking about that, when the Iraq War started, we were told it would be paid for with oil profits? Instead it’s costing us $150 billion a year?

Doesn’t anyone remember President Bush landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003 and stating “mission accomplished”? He also said then that major combat operations have ended. Doesn’t that mean we have been in an occupation of Iraq since that time?

I want to tell the residents of the 4th Congressional District that, when elected, I will support legislation to end this occupation.

But Carroll is not a lonely voice in the wilderness. Columnist Thomas J. Lucente Jr. blasted Jordan for his flippant remark in a column published Sunday:

Not one member of the administration can articulate with any kind of specificity why we are in Iraq and what needs to happen to trigger our withdrawal. When asked, the best answer any war supporter can give is that we cannot withdraw until we have achieved “victory.”

Opening Day - PLAY BALL!

It happens every spring. The first day of the baseball season comes along and far too many people waste far too much mental energy obsessing about something other than ... baseball!!!

I had my first exposure to the magic of opening day as a youngster living near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1968. Several families in the neighborhood organized a caravan to Baltimore to see the Boston Red Sox of Carl Yastremski take on the Orioles of the Robinsons, Frank and Brooks. Yaz was coming off his MVP and Triple Crown season, but on that blustery opening day in old Memorial Stadium he never advanced beyond first and the Orioles prevailed in a low-scoring game that, frankly, provided few thrills on the field. But I was hooked by the roar of the crowd and the bawling of the vendors. The smells of popcorn and beer and hot dogs and musty old cement. The sticky traces of cotton candy on my face. The comforting feel of the glove that my father insisted I bring.

Still, I wasn't completely under the spell until major league baseball came to me, not the other way around. It was 1970. We lived in Milwaukee then, and a hapless one-year team called the Seattle Pilots moved to County Stadium to take the place of the dear departed Milwaukee Braves. The team was renamed the Brewers. I was hooked. A few years later, I snuck out of high school with friends to attend Opening Day in the bleachers. It was way too cold and the vendors wouldn't sell us beer and the team lost, but it was glorious. And I've been a loyal member of the True Blue Brew Crew for 38 years, enduring miserable losing seasons and celebrating occasional good teams. I've lived in several major league cities since 1970 but on Opening Day it's always a Brewers cap that I slap onto my head. And today my team is on national television, playing the Cubs at Wrigley at 2:30 p.m. on WGN and ESPN2, so my happiness is complete.

So go now, and celebrate Opening Day and the return of spring in whatever manner strikes your fancy. If you are in Cincinnati, you may want to join OH-01 congressional candidate State Rep. Steve Driehaus in the traditional Reds Opening Day Parade. Or maybe you will decide to just go about your regular activities, but with a special Opening Day glow. Because it's a fresh start, and every team has a chance to go all the way, and spring is here, and summer can't be far behind.

Play ball!

Screening of "MaxedOut" and Discussion with Cordray, Rokakis, and Engel in Cleveland 4/9

04/09/2008 - 4:00pm
04/09/2008 - 6:00pm

Have you ever completed a credit card application, just to qualify for a free T-shirt or book bag? If you answered yes, then you must see MaxedOut, a documentary that explores the inner-workings of the consumer credit card industry.

Come to the Levin College of Urban Affairs in Cleveland for a movie and discussion featuring three experts on predatory lending and the foreclosure crisis, Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray, Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis, and Prof. Kathleen Engel of Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University.

Part of the Center for Civic Education Forum.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008
MaxedOut 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Maxine Levin Goodman College of Urban Affairs
at Cleveland State University
1717 Euclid Avenue, Room 330
Call for more information 216.687.6941

Special event parking available in the 17th Street garage, located directly behind the Levin College of Urban Affairs building.

News and Notes: General Assembly Races

Catching up on contests for the state legislature:

OH Sen-33 - This seat isn't up for election this year, but if State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) wins his congressional race then the Democratic caucus will appoint a replacement. David Skolnick wrote a piece in the Youngstown Vindicator on Friday reviewing possible candidates: State Rep. Ronald Gerberry (D-Austintown), Mahoning County Commissioner John McNally IV (D-Youngstown), Township Trustee Robyn Gallitto (D-Boardman), and City Councilman Steve Okey (D-Alliance), who is the brother of State Rep. Mark Okey (D-Carollton). Skolnick figures that Gerberry has the inside track, based on his years in the legislature and being from populous Mahoning County. State Rep. Bob Hagan (D-Youngstown), who stepped down from the senate seat in 2006, is ineligible because of term limits.

OH House-15 - State Rep. Tim DeGeeter (D-Parma) will have a Kickoff Campaign Reception on Thursday, April 10th, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Blue Moose Tavern & Eatery, 5513 Pearl Road in Parma, Donation $50 - $100 - $250. Please make checks payable to Friends of Timothy J. DeGeeter.

OH House-19 - Marian Harris (D-Columbus) reports in a newsletter to supporters that she hopes to report close to $20,000 in the Post-Primary Election Campaign Report due on April 11th. (The cut-off date is Friday, April 4th.) Harris is asking for volunteers to go knocking on doors with her, and to hold house parties. Visit her campaign site to donate or volunteer.

OH House-85 - Ray Pryor (D-Chillicothe) will attend the seminar for Disabled Veteran business owners to be hosted by Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) on April 4th from 8:30 to noon at the Tuscarawas Campus of Kent State University in New Philadelphia.

OH House-87 - Shane Meldick (D-Jackson) has a campaign site up, and a related MySpace page (which plays Small Town by John Mellencamp - excellent!).

OH House-91 - State Rep. Dan Dodd (D-Hebron) will hold a town hall meeting on Wednesday, April 2nd from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Village of Buckeye Lake offices on Walnut Road (Ohio 79), and will be the guest speaker at the Fairfield County Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on April 12th at Fairfield Union High School. One of the most consistent campaign bloggers among Ohio candidates, Dodd posted on Wednesday about working at the Smith Chapel Food Pantry and taking a tour of the Hocking-Athens-Perry Community Action Food Bank.

OH House-99 - Doris Cook reports in the Ashtabula Star-Beacon that county commissioner Deborah Newcomb (D-Conneaut) will be sworn in as the replacement for State Rep. George Distel (D-Conneaut) on Tuesday:

Newcomb’s husband, Jim, will be with her holding a family Bible. About 20 other family members and friends, including Commissioner Daniel Claypool and county Democratic Party Chairman Duane Feher, will be on hand to watch, she said. “I’ll commute to Columbus and stay at least three days during the week when in session. My office is in the Vern Riffe Office Building, but I don’t know which floor. I’m the rookie on the block and won’t get George’s old office on the 11th floor,” Newcomb said.

She already has talked on the telephone with her legislative aide, Brian Morgan, and State Sen. Capri Cafaro, who has been a big help to her.“She’s caught me up to pending legislation and help in getting to know my way around,” Newcomb said.

Columnist Thomas Suddes wrote in The Plain Dealer today that Distel will hold a $250-a-head "farewell fund-raiser" in Columbus that will benefit the House Democratic Caucus and Newcomb.

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

Keeping an eye on Ohio's races for the People's House:

OH-01 - Bloggers Harry and Jack wrote Thursday about the propensity for policy flip-flops on the part of Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood), including his earmarking of $1.6 million for organizations linked to eleven of his campaign supporters after having been a critic of pork-barrel projects for years. ... State Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill) will speak at a meeting of the Wyoming Democratic Club on Tuesday, April 8th, from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. at Northern Hills Fellowship, 460 Fleming Road in Wyoming.

OH-09 - At the behest of fishing charter operators, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) is trying to get changes to new Department of Homeland rules that require passengers and crew to bring passports or two other forms of identification if a boat ventures into the Canadian waters of Lake Erie. ... On Thursday, Kaptur expressed support for developing fast-train service between Pittsburgh and Chicago via northern Ohio while introducing a speaker on the subject. The speaker, Charles Wochele of the train-building firm Alstom, said that high-speed rail is in Ohio's future, but building a project elsewhere (such as California) is probably necessary before it can happen here.

OH-13 - Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp), who put ethics at the forefront of her election campaign in 2006, was given the assignment (unusual for a first-termer) of managing the ethics reform bill on the House floor on March 11th. This opportunity was granted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who has labeled the freshman class “majority makers” and tries to showcase them during the high-profile debates.

OH-16 - State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) will take part in an Underage Drinking Prevention/National Town Hall to be sponsored by the Mahoning County Family and Children First Council, the Coalition for Capable and Healthy Youth, and the federal Interagency Coordinating Committee for the Prevention of Underage Drinking from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 1st, at the Mahoning County Experimental Farm on State Route 46 across from the the Canfield Fairgrounds. For more information call Prevention Partners Plus at (330) 743-6671.

OH-18 - Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover), a superdelegate, told a Kiwanis Club in Heath on Thursday that he hasn't picked a candidate and doesn't want to. “My hope is by the time the convention rolls around, the decision has been made by the American people, not by superdelegates,” he said. “I’m going to wait to see what happens.” He also said that one of his greatest achievements in Congress so far is legislation to promote broadband internet access in rural Ohio, and he distanced himself from “partisan bickering” by saying that although he is proud to be a Democrat, he "[doesn't] look at anything when I’m in Washington through the prism of politics."

Vote for Jill for Favorite Female Blogger!

Jill of Writes Like She Talks is live-blogging up a storm at the WAM!2008 conference in Cambridge, MA. Check out her amazing coverage of this intense event.

Now you can vote for Jill as your favorite female blogger in a competition sponsored by Women's Choices, Women Vote. (Voting closes April 11th.) The competition is stiff, but if you love Jill's writing like I do you'll want to go there now and show her your support!

OH-14: Support O'Neill's Nomination for the Blue Majority Program!

Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell) has been nominated for the multi-blog Blue Majority program in the comments to this DailyKos post by Ohio blog contributors Surfing Lake Erie here and Anastasia P here.

O'Neill is a perfect nominee for this fund-raising boost, which is intended for candidates who are (1) in a competitive race but have not yet received top-tier attention, (2) proud Democrats who do not betray their progressive values under attack, and (3) involved with their local blogosphere. Candidates will be picked based on what people say about them in the comments, so please help advance Bill O'Neill's cause by posting your thoughts here.

ODB Line: Ohio Congressional Race Rankings

Here's the first in a series of monthly rankings of Ohio races for the U.S. House of Representatives. I have separated them into Republican-held and Democratic-held seats and divided each into tiers. Within each tier they are ranked in order of likelihood of changing parties.

Democrats were very successful in 2006 in winning a U.S. Senate seat, four out of five statewide offices, and a net gain of seven seats in the Ohio House of Representatives, but the U.S. House races were a relative disappointment. The party gained only one seat and watched two promising races end in narrow losses after recounts. In this cycle Ohio has three open GOP seats and perhaps four or five races altogether that already look very promising, with another two or three that could be added to that list. The DCCC has already added three races to their "Red to Blue" program and is likely to take an interest in at least two more. In other words, Ohio is once again a critical congressional battleground.

Republican-Held Seats

Tier One: Toss-Up

15th District Central Ohio (includes part of Columbus and west and northwest suburbs, Hilliard, Marysville). Cook PVI R+1.1. Bush won 50% in 2004. In 2006 retiring incumbent Deborah Pryce (R) defeated Mary Jo Kilroy (D) by just over 1,000 votes. 2008 congressional primary turnout was 62.1% Democratic. DCCC Red-to-Blue program.

County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus) is running almost like an incumbent after her photo finish in 2006 and the retirement of her opponent. She has raised an impressive amount of money and has strong support from labor, womens' groups (including Emily's List) and among students, who are very numerous in this district. She is an energetic campaigner although not the most polished of public speakers. Opponent State Sen. Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington), an Iraq veteran and former bank lobbyist, is a strong adversary with big support from the business community. Independent candidate Don Elijah Eckhart (I-Galloway) figures to take a few votes away from Stivers.

16th District NE Ohio (includes Canton, Massillon, Alliance, Wadsworth, Medina, Wooster, Ashland). Cook PVI R+3.6. Bush won 54% in 2004. In 2006 incumbent Ralph Regula (R), who is retiring, fared poorly in the GOP primary (58% to 43% over conservative Matt Miller (R-Ashland)) and defeated political novice Rev. Tom Shaw (D-Wooster) by the surprisingly narrow margin of 59% to 41% in the general election. 2008 congressional primary turnout was 60.8% Democratic. DCCC Red-to-Blue program.

Iraq veteran and former collegiate baseball star State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) is a terrific candidate and is adored in his state legislative district. This congressional district unfortunately includes only a tiny slice of his home turf, but Boccieri is working very hard to build name recognition here and he has the energy and political talent to make it work. Opponent State Sen. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton), a moderate, is strong in vote-rich Stark County but barely escaped a three-way primary against two more conservative opponents. The keys to this election are whether the Republican base turns out for Schuring and whether Boccieri can hold down Schuring's advantage in blue-trending Stark County while gaining big vote totals elsewhere.

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