Gov. Spitzer (D-NY) Admits Involvement With Prostitution Ring, Will Resign

The New York Times broke the story today that Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) has admitted to some level of involvement with a high-priced prostitution ring and scheduled a press conference for 2:15 p.m. It's now 3:01 and no press conference yet.

This is truly shocking in view of Spitzer's singular reputation for cracking down on corruption and organized crime. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) seems to have survived an allegation of frequenting a prostitute, but Spitzer will be held to an entirely different standard. On a comment board on the Time site, the vast majority of commenters are calling for Spitzer's resignation.

UPDATE: Spitzer apologized to his family and to the public "for acting in a way that violated his obligation to his family" and said that he needs to take "time to regain the trust of his family." He said that he acted in a way that was a disappointment to himself and fell short of what the public should expect. He didn't address whether he is resigning but said he would say more later. He didn't take questions.

He also said that politics is not about individuals but about issues and what is best for the public. That might be a signal that he is thinking of trying to fight the scandal.

2nd UPDATE: MSNBC claims that it's sources say Spitzer will resign. The Lieutenant Governor of New York is David Paterson (D), an interesting and widely admired man. He was born legally blind and was an assistant district attorney before he became a state senator. He would become the first African American governor of New York if Spitzer resigns. [And, obviously, the first legally blind governor of any state.]

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races UPDATED

Bulletins from the battlegrounds:

OH-01: Chabot Staffer Used Official E-Mail to Help Oberweis Campaign - The Hill reports that Chabot staffer Matthew Lillibridge used his official government email account to forward an e-mail requesting phonebanking assistance for IL-14 candidate Jim Oberweis (R), apparently in violation of House rules against using House resources for campaign purposes. “It raises questions as to what other activities are taking place in Congressman Steve Chabot’s office on the taxpayer’s dime,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) said. It also raises questions about the priorities in Chabot's office. "Steve Chabot was elected to represent the interests of his Ohio constituents, not the Bush administration, the National Republican Congressional Committee or dairy magnates from Illinois," wrote Ohio Democratic Party Communications Director Alex Goepfert in an email today. "It might be a good idea if Steve Chabot's office spent a little less time meddling in Illinois congressional races and a little more time focusing on the issues that Ohioans care about." Chabot spokesman George Cecala apologized for the incident on Friday.

Meanwhile, opponent Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill) is irritated that Sen. Gary Cates (R-West Chester) has introduced a plan to change redistricting (now that the GOP is in danger of losing control of the system) that mirrors a Driehaus proposal which fell on deaf ears in 2005. "You can't have a redistricting plan that is just supported by one party. It's not going to fly," Driehaus said. "Republicans had a chance to address redistricting (and) failed to do so because they were in power. Now that they are beginning to see some of that power fade in the state of Ohio, they are again engaging in political gamesmanship when it comes to redistricting."

OH-02: Black Says He Underestimated Number of Voters - In a story in the Kentucky-based Community Press, unsuccessful primary candidate Steve Black (D-Indian Hill) blamed his loss in part on his campaign anticipating about 35,000 voters. After Super Tuesday, the estimate was raised to 86,000. (Actual voting in the congressional primary was 94,946.) "That presented a virtually insurmountable challenge for a first-time candidate," Black told the newspaper. He also said that he may run again, "under the right set of circumstances."

Primary winner Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) will march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Cincinnati from 1:00 to 2:30 this Saturday, and on March 20th there will be a fund-raiser for Wulsin with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer at 11:00 am at a private home. Contact the campaign at 513-233-4180 or victory@wulsinforcongress.com for details.

OH-03: Mitakides At Morton Fundraiser Tomorrow - Jane Mitakides (D) will attend a spaghetti dinner fund-raiser for 35th District state representative candidate Charles Morgan (D) tomorrow night (working on getting location for that), and the Montgomery County Democratic Party "Frolic for Funds" next Tuesday, March 18th at the Dayton Convention Center, 220 E. 5th Street.

David Esrati (D-Dayton), who finished third with 12% of the vote, is mum on whether he'll run next time, but he's very interested in improving the information about candidates in future races. He notes that twice as many voters left the congressional primary race blank as voted for him, which bothers him more than losing.

OH-06: Wilson Has The Power - David Potts notes that Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-St. Clairsville) has jumped from 290th to 179th in the ranking of most powerful members of Congress at Congress.org, which Wilson attributes to his spot on the Financial Services Committee. House Speaker John Boehner (R-West Chester) is the top House member from Ohio in 6th place, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) is the top Ohio Democratic House member at 58th. Wilson is far ahead of fellow Ohio first-termers Zack Space (D-Dover) at 241st and Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp) at 266th.

Although he didn't send out a press release about it, Wilson was ranked right about in the middle of the liberal-to-conservative scale by the National Journal (his composite score of 55.2% means he is more liberal that that proportion of his colleagues), which helps him deflect criticism that he is too liberal for his rural district.

OH-07: Weak DDN Endorsement of Austria Helps Neuhardt - The Dayton Daily News issued one of the most double-edged endorsements ever when they gave the nod to State Sen. Steve Austria (R-Beavercreek) in the GOP primary, writing that retiring Rep. Dave Hobson (R-Springfield) "did not serve his district well" in selecting Austria as his successor. Sharen Neuhardt (D-Yellow Springs) plans to make use of it in her campaign, as reflected in this statement on her campaign site:

"In November Ohio voters will have a clear choice for Congress. Washington is not working for Ohio families. It's time for a change and to end the partisan bickering. Steve Austria is a career politician who newspapers have said ‘is not a good choice' and has ‘no compelling record.' I am someone who has real life experience and someone who will never give up fighting for change and to get our economy moving again."

Meanwhile, runner-up Bill Conner (D-Beavercreek), who fell short in his bid to run a second time, says on his website that will not run again, although he intends to keep his site going to "get national exposure" for his ideas.

OH-03: Interview With Jane Mitakides

Early last month I had a long talk with Jane Mitakides (D) about her campaign for Congress in the 3rd Ohio Congressional District. I was unable to get this interview transcribed and published before the primary election as I intended, but now with all of that distraction ended it is the prefect time to get acquainted with this candidate, who has the experience, the resources, and the energy to run a strong race in a district that is trending blue, although held by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Centerville) since 2003.

[UPDATE: Dave of Into My Own is a big fan of Jane Mitakides and is blogging "full bore" about her race. He has set up this ActBlue link for readers to contribute to her campaign.]

YDS: I'm delighted to have this opportunity to talk to you because I think the 3rd District is an exciting opportunity for the Democrats and you are an exciting candidate. So I want to ask you a few questions to introduce you to readers of my blog. How far back does your interest in politics go?

JM: The first campaign headquarters I ever set foot in my life was John F. Kennedy for President in 1960. I was just a child and my mother was volunteering down there and she took me with her. It was long before word processors and she would address postcards and letters and things and let me put the stamps on them. So I was pretty sure that I had single-handedly gotten John Kennedy elected. [laughter] So, I have always been involved. I think that as an adult one of the first major races I was involved with was Al Gore for President 1988. I still have those buttons and bumper stickers.

YDS: Uh huh.

JM: My grandfather was a judge in Tennessee. There was just this tradition of involvement and service in my family.

YDS: Where were you born and where did you grow up?

JM: I was born here in Dayton. My first home was here in the city. I've lived around this area almost all of my life. I lived in Cincinnati for about two and a half years, and I lived in New York for about a year.

YDS: That's fantastic about John F. Kennedy. My father was in the Navy so I grew up in the usual ports of call, one of which was Newport, Rhode Island, while it was Kennedy's "Summer White House." I remember seeing him when I was six and it was an electrifying experience.

JM: I remember that my mother took me to hear him speak from the steps of the courthouse here in Dayton. It occurred to someone that it had been exactly 100 years since Abraham Lincoln had come to Dayton campaigning in 1860 and had spoken from the courthouse, so they had found old photos and built a platform in much the same place and manner. Of course, no one knew at the time all of the various tragic parallels that would eventually be drawn between the two of those two presidents.

OH-11: Tubbs Jones Named "Player of the Week"

Ben Pershing of the "Capitol Briefing" blog at the Washington Post has named Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Cleveland) his "Player of the Week," based mostly on Hillary Clinton winning Ohio with Tubbs Jones as one of her staunchest supporters. Pershing doesn't mention that her district went for Obama 70% to 30%, although he appears to be very impressed that Tubbs Jones stuck with Clinton when "the chips appeared to be down" and civil rights icon John Lewis (D-GA) "made big news" by switching, and even mentions speculation that she might face a primary challenge over her unwavering support.

Tubbs Jones' decision to stick with Clinton doesn't suprise me at all. Tubbs Jones is closer to Clinton than Lewis and is a national co-chair for her campaign. The other notion -- that she may face a serious primary challenge -- is totally far-fetched. Although there is grumbling on the ground about Tubbs Jones' choice (I know, I've received some email about it), she is still widely revered in the district and even among her detractors her actions are viewed in terms of the positive traits of loyalty and keeping her word. (This is no accident, either. Tubbs Jones made a variety of appearances and published an essay explaining her actions in those terms.) Sticking with Clinton may have cost her some goodwill among some supporters, but changing direction would have cost her as well. If she were to be challenged in a primary it wouldn't happen until the next cycle, when passions have cooled. I really can't see it happening.

[video two-fer] Me and my ballot; seniors are doing it for themselves

This video shows my polling location, it's not so busy-ness when I was there and what the Ohio ballot looked like in Cuyahoga County.

This video explains the voting options available to senior citizens who reside at a Beachwood residential care apartment. At the end, the staffer speaking tells us who she will vote for and why.

Many thanks to the polling location's hospitality (I showed the person in charge a copy of the SOS's media guide info) and the Wiggins Place folks.

Bill Foster (D IL-14) Wins 53% To 47

A major victory in Denny Hastert's old seat!

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/3/8/225835/6516/265/472650

Obama Ahead in Big-Turnout WY Caucuses; Good Polling for Foster (D) in IL-14

Huge turnout and dominance by Obama in caucuses continue to be the story line as Wyoming awards 12 delegates today:

Obama led Clinton 56% to 42% percent with 8 of 23 counties reporting.

... Obama has outperformed Clinton in caucuses — winning 12 to her three ...

... During the first caucuses of the day, it appeared the state's Democrats were showing up in record numbers. In 2004, a mere 675 people statewide took part in the caucuses.

In Sweetwater County, more than 500 people crowded into a high school auditorium and another 500 were lined up to get inside.

"I'm worried about where we're going to put them all. But I guess everybody's got the same problem," said Joyce Corcoran, a local party official. "So far we're OK. But man, they keep coming." ...

In Cheyenne, scores of late arrivers were turned away when party officials stopped allowing people to get in line at 11 a.m. EST. ...

In Casper, home of the state party's headquarters, hundreds were lined up at the site of the Natrona County caucus. The location was a hotel meeting room with a capacity of 500. ...

"We'll have to put 'em in the grass after a while," said Bob Warburton, a local party official.

There is a results thread on MyDD.com, the most recent entry on which indicates that a 7-5 delegate split looks likely.

In the other voting going on today, a special election in the IL-14 district of retired GOP leader Dennis Hastert (R-IL), a poll released by reliable pollster Survey USA a few days ago showed the Democrat ahead in a close race (4.4 margin of error):

52% Foster (D)
45% Oberweis (R)
3% Undecided

It's all about whose supporters turn out in the snow today.

Dem candidate Bob Belovich's website for run at Ohio House 17th live; JoshMandel.com "under construction"

Robert S. Belovich is the Democratic candidate for the Ohio House 17th district seat. Republican Josh Mandel won that seat in 2006.

Belovich's website has gone live and you can view it here at Bobbelovich.com. It looks very nice right now and I hope he works (or has other working) to keep it current - that's one of the top things locals need to do on their sites. That, and raise money with them, I would think.

His first news item is this:

Bob outpaced the Republican incumbent in the March 4 primary. According to the unofficial tally of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, 15305 voters cast their ballots for Bob Belovich, while the Republican incumbent received 8695 votes cast.

Mandel's campaign website indicates that it is "under construction."

As I've written before, Mandel's staff who have been taking care of business since August 2007, when he volunteered to return to Iraq, have been very good in following up with me whenever I've had questions. This is particularly true when it comes to the Wireless 911 issue.

However, as good as this communication has been, Mandel has voted very infrequently with the way I would like my house district representative to vote, and for that reason, I look forward to learning more about the Democratic candidate, Belovich.

If you live in the 17th, I hope you will check out the candidates and comment on this race. I would love to see a debate between the candidates, for example.

McCain Surrounds Himself With Bushies, Now Including Karl Rove

Politico reports that Bush's brain Karl Rove and Bush's hatchet man Ken Mehlman have hooked up with the McCain camp as unpaid advisors, joining other Bushies like attack dog Steve Schmidt and media strategist Mark MacKinnon. Bush advisors Dan Bartlett and Sara Taylor are anxious to join as well.

And what kind of campaign are they creating? It looks like they're going to run a national security-slash-terrorism campaign as they try to sell America on a third term for Bush policies. Here is the 2 minute introductory ad the campaign has created, all of it focused on military heroism and saber-rattling:


A 2004-style campaign based on fear of terrorism will fail. Period.

Actress in Clinton Red Phone Ad is Obama Volunteer

This is too rich. The Clinton "red phone" ad used 8-year-old stock footage (perfectly legally) and the sleeping girl in the bed is a voting-age active Obama supporter, who'd like to get together with Obama and do a counter-ad:


(h/t Renee in Ohio at BSB)

Calling Hillary a Monster ‘Offensive,’ ....

Calling Hillary a Monster ‘Offensive,’ Monsters Say

Prominent Miscreants Outraged Over Remark


An Obama campaign aide’s remarks in which she called Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) a “monster” have ignited a firestorm of controversy among monsters across the U.S., prominent monsters confirmed today.

Calling Hillary Clinton a monster is “odious and offensive to monsters everywhere,” said Tracy Klujian, the executive director of the Monster Anti-Defamation League, a group that monitors unflattering portrayals of monsters and miscreants in the media.

“As monsters, we are subject to defamation and stereotyping on a daily basis,” Mr. Klujian said. “But being lumped together with Hillary Clinton is really a low blow.”

Mr. Klujian said that he was pleased that the Obama aide had resigned over the “monster” remark, but said that “more work will need to be done” if the Illinois senator is to mend fences with the monster community.

“We monsters count for as much as five percent of the vote in Pennsylvania,” Mr. Klujian said. “And that number is even higher in Pittsburgh.”

Perhaps in an effort to steer clear of the controversy, Sen. Clinton herself dodged the issue of whether or not Sen. Obama is a monster in an upcoming interview on “Sixty Minutes.”

“He’s not a monster as far as I know,” she told Steve Kroft in an interview to air this Sunday. “I mean, I take him on the basis of what he says, and, you know, if he says he’s not a monster, there isn’t any reason to doubt that.”

Elsewhere, Rep. Ron Paul said that he is dropping out of the G.O.P. race, but would continue to run for president of Earth II.

Humor from the Borowitz Report

OH-02: Wulsin Comments on Cross-Over Support, Including Bob McEwen

Dr. Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) was on the FireDogLake blog for an online chat the day after her primary victory over Steve Black and had some interesting things to say about cross-over support, and specifically from former GOP candidate Bob McEwen (highlighted):

The sentiment here at WFC is very positive. Not only did we defeat Black, we earned almost 15,000 more votes than Schmidt did. And that is well over the 2,500-some votes she beat me by in ‘06!
I hope to carry the Democratic banner all the way to DC! ...

Speaking of turn-out - in our so-called Republican district - we had thousands more Dems than Repubs vote. (I’ll get Josh to send the #s.) I look forward to calculating the previous “Is” and “Rs” who chose those “D” ballots yesterday, and asking them to GOTV for me in November. ...

I hear over and over again the disappointment Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District constituents have in Schmidt. She voted repeatedly against SCHIP (children’s health care); college loans; VA benefits; mortgage reform - and these are issues that folks comment on all the time. The $$$ to Iraq needs to be spent here in southern Ohio - and the people feel it. ...

Crossovers:

OH-18: National Journal Puts Space In The Middle

Earlier today I wrote about the Cook Political Report moving OH-18 into the "Likely Democratic" category, and noted that Space earned it through fund-raising, visibilty, and case work. Another important factor is his voting record, which has caused me and other progressives to cringe at times but caused the National Journal to rate Space almost exactly in the middle on the liberal-to-conservative scale. On economic issues Space was graded more liberal than 54% of other house members, but on social and foreign policy he placed right in the middle at 50%. Overall, there are 212 members ranked more liberal and 218 more conservative.

Space will use this rating to deflect the inevitable attack ads that try to equate him with Nancy Pelosi, as indicated in his press release today:

“My constituents do not need statistics to prove what they already know – I am their independent voice in Congress,” Space said. “I pride myself in working for the best interests of my district – not a political party – and I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish this Congress.”

“In the 18th Congressional District, people are not looking for a Democrat or a Republican, and they are not looking for an ideologue. They want a moderate, independent Ohioan who will fight for them every day. I am proud to do that, and I am proud of this ranking,” Space continued.

This ranking won't satisfy everyone in his district, which has a significant conservative lean, but being a called a centrist is still very helpful to him.

McCain Loses Cool with Reporter

Did he ever have any cool? Oh, yeah maybe back during the Jazz Age :-)

Anyways, Mc "INeedA" Cain freaked out on a reporter today. Given his reputation for easily blowing his lid, I'd expect to see the the angry and impatient side of McCain come out more frequently as we near the general.

"Senator John McCain grew agitated Friday with a New York Times reporter who asked about his 2004 conversation with then-Democratic nominee John Kerry about McCain possibly running as Kerry’s vice presidential nominee."

Does anyone really think an aging hot head would make a good president?

Obama Fires Advisor Who Called Clinton a "Monster"

Obama foreign policy advisor Samantha Power, a professor at Harvard and a Pulitzer Prize winner, has resigned after giving a newspaper interview in which she bad-mouthed Hillary Clinton:

"We f***d up in Ohio," Power told the Scotsman newspaper ...

"In Ohio, they are obsessed and Hillary is going to town on it, because she knows Ohio's the only place they can win," Power was quoted as saying.

"She is a monster, too -- that is off the record -- she is stooping to anything," Power said.

"You just look at her and think 'Ergh.'"

Power apologized, but the Clinton campaign pounced all over it, really piling it on:

"Personal attacks are not the way to convince voters that you are capable of being the president of the United States," said congresswoman Nita Lowey, who called the drama a "test" for Obama.

"We call on Senator Obama to make it clear that Samantha Power should not be part of this campaign."

Another Clinton backer, congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz added: "going down in the gutter like that and engaging in grade school name calling is distasteful and inappropriate."

Within hours Power had resigned and Obama spokesman Bill Burton said the candidate "decries such characterizations which have no place in this campaign."

This comes one day after the Clinton campaign deflected Obama's call for disclosure of Clinton's tax returns and donors to the Clinton presidential library by comparing Obama to Whitewater special prosecutor Ken Starr. No one called for the spokesman, Howard Wolfson, to resign. Power should have satisfied herself with comparing Clinton to an actual person, Karl Rove perhaps, because that's acceptable and "monster" isn't.

When my misbehaving brothers and I were little our parents sometimes called us "little monsters." We called on them to resign but it didn't do any good.

UPDATE: In my initial draft of this post I went on to compare the Clinton campaign's response to classic GOP strategy under Karl Rove: seize on a word or phrase that sounds bad, feign over-the-top outrage, demand an apology, generate a bad news cycle for the opposition, all completely unrelated to the issues. I decided that was too over-the-top, but I see that Josh Marshall and his readers are all over it:

Can't believe that Samantha Power actually resigned. This is the type of phony "controversy" the GOP/Karl Rove uses to their advantage. Josh famously called it the "bitch slap" theory of politics, and Clinton is using the same playbook. Obama needed to send a signal that these types of fake outrages won't play, but by her quick resigntation, the bitch slap is alive and well.

Depressing.

Indeed.

43% of White Ohio Evangelicals Voted Democratic

Bill Hershey reports on an exit poll of white evangelical Christians in Tuesday's primary that's an eye opener:

57% Republican ballot
43% Democratic ballot

Republican votes:

42% Huckabee
41% McCain

Democratic votes:

57% Clinton
35% Obama

The poll also found that a majority of evangelical Christian voters care about a much wider range of issues than abortion and gay marriage:

[54%] support a broader agenda that [includes] ending poverty, protecting the environment and combating HIV/AIDS, as compared to 39% that would rather stick to the more limited agenda.

Three times as many white evangelical voters ranked jobs and the economy as the most important issue - 42 % - than those who ranked abortion and same-sex marriage most important - 14%.

Back in 2004, 78% of white evangelical Christians voted for Bush. Times have changed. They are still an important group of voters for the GOP, but they aren't the monolithic bloc that they were before, and we can expect a substantial number to vote Democratic.

Strickland Blasts Kennedy Over 1980 Race

A reader alerted me to this sizzling bit from The Other Paper:

On Tuesday night, [just before Clinton's victory party,] Strickland had gotten himself worked up answering questions about Barack Obama’s delegate lead. He was railing against “undemocratic” caucuses ... and “pundits” who have prematurely crowned [Obama] as the inevitable nominee.

[Then] he added that [Ted Kennedy] suggested, “We’ve gotta bring this to an end because of party unity.”

“I remember when Ted Kennedy ran against a sitting Democratic president, Jimmy Carter, and he took it all the way all the way to the Democratic convention,” Strickland said, trembling with anger.

“And on the last night of the convention, the big question that all the media was talking about was: Will Senator Kennedy be willing to go up on the platform with Jimmy Carter? And he did, and he humiliated Carter because he didn’t want to shake his hand, and Carter followed him around on that stage trying to get him to shake his hand. Now Ted Kennedy comes to us and says Senator Clinton needs to get out of this in early March for party unity?”

Strickland went on to blame Kennedy’s 1980 challenge for the presidency of Ronald Reagan.

“So I don’t want to hear any lectures from Ted Kennedy about party unity, you know. I’ll remind him about what happened.”

Strickland said he's going to put it into a letter to Kennedy.

Just because Kennedy did it in 1980 doesn't make it right, however. Today Pho highlighted this excellent piece by Jonathon Chait in The New Republic, titled "Go Already! Hillary Clinton, Fratricidal Maniac," spelling out how flawed and destructive her "plan" for winning the nomination really is:

7 of 11 Ohio GOP Congress Members Voted Against Mental Health Parity

Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp) is a cosponsor of H.R. 1424, the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act, which passed in the House on a fairly bi-partisan vote of 268-148 yesterday. The bill prohibits insurers and group health plans from imposing higher premiums or other restrictions on coverage for mental health and addiction services compared to medical and surgical services, along with instituting other important protections relating to health care. It doesn't affect small businesses (50 or fewer employees) and it doesn't apply to coverage in the individual insurance market.

Here is Sutton's statement:

Health care plans for Members of Congress and 8.5 million other federal employees have included parity coverage for mental health care for the past 8 years, and it is about time this coverage was extended to those who have non-federal group health care plans. I am proud that the House was able to pass a responsible piece of legislation that not only tackles the mental health parity issue, but also but also increases the rebates that drug companies must pay to State Medicaid programs, and addresses the problem of physician self-referral to hospitals in which they have an ownership interest.

The overall vote was by a big margin, but seven of the 11 GOP members from Ohio voted against it, including three from the competitive or potentially competitive seats OH-01, OH-02, and OH-03:

Nay OH-1 Chabot, Steven [R]
Nay OH-2 Schmidt, Jean [R]
Nay OH-3 Turner, Michael [R]
Nay OH-4 Jordan, Jim [R]
Nay OH-5 Latta, Robert [R]
Nay OH-8 Boehner, John [R]
Nay OH-12 Tiberi, Patrick [R]

Aye OH-7 Hobson, David [R]
Aye OH-14 LaTourette, Steven [R]
Aye OH-15 Pryce, Deborah [R]
Aye OH-16 Regula, Ralph [R]

Turner's vote against health care equity for Ohioans didn't escape the attention of challenger Jane Mitakides (D), who issued this statement:

I was appalled but not surprised to learn that Congressman Mike Turner turned his back on the most vulnerable members of our society and voted against the Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act. ... With the potential closing of Twin Valley Behavioral Health Care Center on the minds of so many in our community, this vote against families and for the insurance lobby underscores why our community needs a new representative.

Mitakides points out that Turner has accepted $44,100 in campaign donations from insurance companies during his five years in Congress.

OH-18: Cook Report Upgrades Race From "Leans" to "Likely Dem"

This is great news, although not unexpected given the terrific performance by Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) in fund-raising, visibility, and case work, and the relatively low profile of his GOP opponent. "Likely Democrat" means the seat is "not considered competitive at this point but [has] the potential to become engaged."

Other Ohio races on the Cook Report list [.pdf] are OH-15 and OH-16 rated "Toss-Up," OH-01 and OH-2 rated "Lean Republican," and OH-14 rated "Likely Republican." All the other districts are deemed safe for their parties. I'm hoping that OH-03 and perhaps OH-07 will make it onto that list in the coming months.

A year ago the Republicans were calling Space an "accidental congressman" and his election a fluke, and they said this district was their #1 takeover target. Space put a stopper on those capers by raising over $1 million and holding numerous town halls and economic conferences, and even a historic joint field hearing of the House and Senate Veterans Committees, in his far-flung district.

Youth Vote Big for Ohio Primary

Hat-tip to Jon Craig at Politics Extra for noting this study [.pdf] by the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning & Engagement (CIRCLE).

CIRCLE estimates that youth turnout (under 30) on Tuesday was 25% of eligible Ohioans (not registered voters). That's a big increase from the 15% turnout in the 2000 primary. In absolute terms (although the numbers will change somewhat when provisional ballots are added in), the increase was from 259,960 in 2000 to 479,418 in 2008. Youth voters represented 15% of all votes cast, up from 11% in 2000.

Turnout this year was 45% for over-30 voters (again, as a percentage of eligible Ohioans, not registered voters), and overall turnout was 37%. (Turnout calculated as a percentage of registered voters, the usual method, was about 45%, up 12% from 2004, although lower than the predicted 52%.) Youth voters represented 15% of all votes cast, up from 11% in 2000.

Of those youth voters this year, about 3/4 voted Democratic (348,847 to 130,571), and the Democratic votes went for Obama by 61% to 35%.

2004 wasn't used for the overall comparison because there was no GOP primary that year. Comparing youth voters who cast Democratic ballots in 2004 and 2008, participation more than doubled (from 109,891 to 348,847), and the share of all Democratic primary voters increased from 9% to 16%.

Do-Overs Looking More Likely in Michigan and Florida UPDATED

Gov. Strickland has joined ODP Chair Chris Redfern in calling for a re-do of the flawed nominating contests in Michigan and Ohio. An editorial in today's Chicago Sun-Times calls for do-overs. Obama says he'll leave it up to the DNC, although he'd much rather see delegations from the two states participate in the convention in some fashion than not.

Meanwhile, a DNC source leaked to The New Republic yesterday that Michigan has already decided to comply, holding a less-expensive caucus rather than a primary.

It's interesting that Clinton-backer Strickland is calling for do-overs instead of sitting delegates chosen in the earlier contests, which would presumably be the best outcome for her, although it would engender huge protests and aggravate tensions within the party. This is consistent with blogger Nedra Pickler's report that top officials in Clinton's campaign are coming around to supporting do-overs instead of continuing to insist that the current outlawed delegates be seated.

Meanwhile, in Economic News ...

The presidential primary in Ohio pushed everything else aside, it seems. Is it time to pay attention to the economy? Here are three current AP headlines, all posted in the last hour:

Consumer confidence at lowest since 2002

Employers slash jobs by most in 5 years

Stocks expected to continue falling today AM

Well, it certainly is a good thing for presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that he's an expert on the economy!

Oh, that's right ... he's not:


BTW, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) posted an essay at Huffington Post yesterday saying that the candidate who wins in November will be the one who has big ideas on the economy:

More than anything, Ohio voters want to hear big ideas. Perhaps a Manhattan project for infrastructure and alternative energy. Maybe a Marshall Plan that would build our manufacturing base and create good paying jobs. Or a tax and trade policy which rewards corporations that play by the rules and are loyal to our communities and our nation.

4 More Years!

McBush is Scary.

For a more thoughtful description of what four more years of Bush's policies under a McCain Presidency will look like to Ohioans, check out : Ohio Democratic Party Blog

...In his desperation to cozy up to the right wing of the Republican Party, McCain has endorsed President Bush’s decision to deny health care for Ohio children by vetoing SCHIP expansion, threatened the retirement security of Ohio seniors by promising to privatize Social Security, further strained Ohio’s reserve and national guard units by promising to keep our troops in Iraq for 100 years, and promised more of the same on everything from ethics to the economy. In fact, despite widespread economic anxieties facing working families in Ohio and across America, McCain said he thinks the economy is strong and refuses to say whether he supports President Bush’s threat to veto a Democratic bill to help struggling homeowners fighting to avoid foreclosure. Instead, McCain’s idea of short-term economic stimulus for working families is making President Bush’s tax cuts for the rich permanent...

SUSA Electoral Poll Maps

Survey USA intervewed 600 voters in each of the 50 states to put together an electoral poll, pitting McCain against Clinton and Obama:

Both Democrats carry Ohio, each by ten points (50% to 40%).

What's interesting is how different the maps look. Clinton gets Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and Florida, Obama gets Michigan, Colorado, Washington, Oregon. How can Obama not get New Jersey? How does he get North Dakota?

Fascinating.

Newly Converted Democrats

Three GOP suburban mayors switched to the Democratic Party in Cuyahoga County on Tuesday: Kevin Patton of Solon, Kathy Mulcahy of Orange, and Jeffrey Lansky of Maple Heights. During yesterday morning's Sound of Ideas show on Cleveland public radio station WCPN, ODP Chair Chris Redfern touted the increase in Democratic party affiliation reflected in the primary voting and heralded the defection of GOP officials like those in Cuyahoga County.

If Ohio is truly trending blue, then party switching from Republican to Democrat is likely to increase, and it's natural and appropriate for the Democratic Party to welcome it. However, are rank and file Democrats ready to welcome converts? Will they vote for them, if they run for office?

I can think of only two outright party converts in Tuesday's primary races. One is Steve Black (D-Indian Hill) in OH-02, who lost by a large margin to repeat candidate Dr. Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill). The other is Jan Lanier (D-Westerville) in OH House-2, if I'm not mistaken, who won her primary handily over Kelly Wenzlaff (D).

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