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Friday, September 14, 2007

OH-5: Free-For-All in Special Election

The untimely demise of Rep. Paul Gillmor (R) has produced a blizzard of actual and potential candidates for his former Congressional seat. It is anticipated that primaries will be held on General Election Day (November 6th) and the special election will occur within a few weeks thereafter. The far-flung Northwest Ohio district stretches through Ashland, Crawford, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Huron, Lucas, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Van Wert, Williams, Wood and Wyandot Counties. Bush won 61% of the vote in this conservative district in 2004.

Two-time challenger Robin Wierauch (D-Napoleon), the assistant director of the Center for Regional Development at Bowling Green State University, is definitely in the race. Weirauch got 43% of the vote against Gillmor in 2006 and 33% in 2004. She and her advisors have been hoping that there would be no primary on the Democratic side, but I have been told that there are at least two other Democrats are seriously considering a bid. One is Appellate Judge James R. Sherck (D-Fremont), who ran unsuccessfully against Gillmor's predecessor Delbert Latta (R) four times from 1978 to 1984. The other is Mike Grandillo (D-Tiffin), a city councilman and vice president at Tiffin University.

The roster on the GOP side is much longer. A pair of term-limited long-time rivals, State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) and State Sen. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green), are almost certainly in the race. The Columbus Dispatch blog The Daily Briefing reports that State Sen. Steve Buehrer (R-Delta) and State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon) are on the verge of jumping in, and Wood County Commissioner Tim W. Brown (R) and former State Rep. Rex Damschroder (R-Fremont) are considering running as well. The Wall Street Journal also mentions State Rep. Mark Wagner (R-Ottawa Hills) and former State Rep. Jim Hoops (R) as possible candidates. The deceased Congressman's widow, former State Senator Dr. Karen L. Gillmor (R), has indicated that she will not run, but Joe Hallett of the Dispatch seems to think that she may change her mind.

In this kind of accelerated race with a large field of candidates, name recognition is probably the factor most likely to determine the outcome. Wierauch would appear to be in a good position due to her two recent campaigns. However, Bob Latta shares in his father's name recognition and was previously a state senator and Wood County Commissioner. Lynn Wachtmann and Steve Buehrer have each served as State Senator in a district that accounts for about 40% of the 5th Congressional District. And, of course, as widow of the former Congressman Karen Gillmor has as much name recognition as anyone.


At September 14, 2007 7:07 AM , Anonymous said...

It would be interesting if Tim Brown were to enter the race. I don't know if this District is ready for a gay Republican candidate. It seems more probable that he would try to move up to fill whatever slot is finally created if either Gardner or Latta win. The three of them (Brown, Gardner and Latta) have been marking time in the "Term Limits Two Step" for a long, long time.

It's one thing for Brown and his partner to live in Bowling Green and coast to easy victories for county commissioner, but the atmosphere is so toxic toward gay GOP Congressmen that for Brown to enter this race would be fascinating. Would the Log Cabin Republicans rally to support one of their own or would the GOP's much beloved "culturally conservative" evangelical legions of Orcs turn out to do battle?

At September 14, 2007 12:56 PM , Anonymous said...

Who cares.... I really wonder who pushed this rumor... Bob Latta to keep him out of the Senate race or Randy Gardner so he can put liberal GOP Rep. Mark Wagoner in the Senate seat should Latta win. Latta and Gardner were going to switch seats due to term limits.

At September 14, 2007 2:27 PM , Anonymous said...

Grandillo is going to make the Democratic primary interesting if he jumps in. I'm hearing inside word that he's got a significant amount of money pledged -- maybe more than $100,000 already (and some are saying up to $150,000).

He can bring in the money to win this race, I think. The GOP should be scared to have a fund raising pro like him thinking about getting in the race.

At September 15, 2007 6:05 PM , Marlene said...

For the coward(s) who posted anonymously, what Tim brown's sexual orientation is shouldn't matter! He's been elected and reelected as Wood County Commissioner, and his gayness wasn't even mentioned once by his opponent!

I think Robin Weirauch will win the seat, simply because she gave Gillmor a run for his millions for the first time in his career in the general election, losing by only a 7-point margin!tsdyke

At September 16, 2007 10:03 AM , Anonymous said...

In the worst Republican year in memory, Democrat Robin Weirauch doesn't lose that bad; and, for this, she's your choice? May I remind you that the political environment in NW Ohio was so bad (Thank you Tom Noe!) that Betty Montgomery lost Wood County in '06...but, Robin Weirauch is your choice because she only got a mild beat down?!?!? Awesome!

At September 17, 2007 10:30 AM , Jeff said...

I was away (and without internet access) over the weekend. If I had been aware of the first comment in this thread immediately, I probably would have deleted it because the commenter makes a statement that is likely prejudicial to the prospective candidate's chances in an election and does so anonymously and without a source for the information. However, I'm going to leave it there because in my absence the comment has been put on the front page at the high-traffic Buckeye State Blog, so there would be no point served.

I would like to point out, however, that the comment may very well b false and may in fact be a scurrilous plant by a political opponent, as another commenter pointed out. I received a strange and rather disturbing email from a resident of Bowling Green who also suspects that a supporter of Bob Latta is pushing this rumor.

At September 18, 2007 12:11 PM , Anonymous said...

I have from good sources it was Scott Pullins website that was pushing the issue. An anonymous rumor wouldn't force a guy "out", but Scott was clearly pushing the matter and investigating it. According to his website:
"A Wood County Republican Commissioner named Tim W. Brown got himself outed online for considering a run for Congress in the now vacant Ohio 5th District. OUCH. Very high placed sources tell us the allegation is true."
Who is this high placed source? This guy is full of crap. He states "I skew libertarian on this issue and could give two hoots whether the guy is gay or not." So why even post it or look into it??? He hides behind the statement then publishes the rumor.
Scott Pullins probably is gay himself.

At September 18, 2007 4:30 PM , Scott A. Pullins said...

I’m not anonymous, and I didn’t post the comment. I didn’t even know who Tim Brown was or that he was thinking about running before I got some emails along the line of holy @#$% did you see this? Sorry, not gay either.

I got some good confirmation that it was true. And wrote my post. I also sent my post around to the SOB Alliance and some other blogs to provoke some discussion.

I'm still blown away here at the influence of a blog comment that could force a candidate to withdraw from a race, admit his sexual orientation, which was all then picked up by the msm.

As I have said before repeatedly, I don't care about sexual orientation, but a whole lot of people in the GOP certainly do.

At September 18, 2007 5:11 PM , Jeff said...

Thanks for your comment, Scott. I too am blown away by the influence of this comment.

Although you did not post the original comment, I gather that you played a role in passing it along to other blogs. Other people were doing the same. In other words, it went viral, and the consequences were fast and far-reaching.

I agree whole-heartedly with your last sentence.


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