Comments on First Quarter Congressional Fund-Raising in Ohio

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

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

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

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

Roundup of Congressional Race Fund-Raising Reports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CQ Politics: Clinton Delegate Gain in PA Likely Minimal

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

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

Enough, already.

Dems Attack Partisan GOP Ohio House Energy Bill

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

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

Dann Pledges Cooperation with Federal Investigation; Will Release Emails

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carolina Chocolate Drops

From the Ministry of Kultural Affairs:

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

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

Fund-Raising Reports in Key Ohio House Races

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend Concert "Psych" Up

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

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

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

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

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

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


New Report from CPBB: Income Gap Widening in Ohio

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

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

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

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

Ohio Superdelegate Bill Burga Endorses Clinton

So reports Mark Naymik on Openers - although he also reports that Burga had no desire to make any comment explaining his decision.

So that makes it five Ohio superdelegates declared for Clinton, 4 declared for Obama, and twelve left to be determined:

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

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

Undetermined:
Rep. Marcy Kaptur
Rep. Dennis Kucinich
Rep. Betty Sutton
Rep. Tim Ryan
Rep. Charlie Wilson
Rep. Zack Space
Sen. Sherrod Brown
State Rep. Joyce Beatty
State Rep. Chris Redfern
County part chair Enid Goubeaux
[Redfern Pick #1]
[Redfern Pick #2]

News and Notes: General Assembly Races

Things are hopping in those critical legislative races:

OH House-01 - State Rep. Linda Bolon (D–Columbiana) announced Tuesday that ODOT has granted Columbiana County $26.36 million for its 2008 State and Local Construction Program, which consists of 25 road resurfacing and rehabilitation projects throughout the county. “We’d like to fix every road if we could, but this critical funding is a great start,” Rep. Bolon said. “I am thrilled that ODOT recognized the importance of these projects and will be a partner in improving our infrastructure so that Columbiana County can be a major player for jobs and opportunity.”

OH House-02 - Nurse and attorney Jan Lanier (D-Westerville) will be a featured speaker at the The Ohio Nurses Democratic Caucus Political Activism Convention on Saturday, April 26, from 1:00 to 4:15 p.m. at Ohio Democratic Party Headquarters in Columbus.

OH House-6 - Jeff Bretz (D-Bowling Green) will have a Baked Steak Fundraiser at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 19th, at North Baltimore Eagles Aerie 2633, 140 North Main Street in North Baltimore. Donation is $8.00. More information on his newly improved campaign site.

OH House-16 - State Rep. Jennifer Brady (D-Westlake) will be featured at a Democratic Discussion Table at the City Club of Cleveland, 850 Euclid Avenue (at E. 9th St.), on Monday, April 21st, at 12:00 p.m. Register here.

OH House-19 - Marian Harris (D-Columbus) will attend a Voter Rights Rally featuring SOS Jennifer Brunner and several muscial groups at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 13th, at 461 St. Clair Ave. in Columbus.

OH House-22 - John Carney (D) will have a fund-raising reception with Gov. Ted Strickland on Thursday, April 24th, at 6:00 p.m. in Upper Arlington. See his site for more information.

OH House-24 - State Rep. Ted Celeste (D-Grandview) will hold a "Distict 24 Dialogue" on the topic of education from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, April 28th, at Hilliard Crossing School, 3340 Hilliard-Rome Road.

OH House-31 - Denise Driehaus (D-Price Hill) will hold her Campaign Kick-off Party from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 13th, at the Front Porch Coffee House, 5245 Glenway, food and beverages provided, RSVP to 478-4160 or email mewagner1-at-yahoo-dot-com.

OH House-63 - Mark Schneider (D-Mentor) tells me he will have a campaign site up soon at SchneiderForOhio.com.

OH House-84 - Ray Pryor (D-Chillicothe) will participate in the advanced energy summit hosted by Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) in Nelsonville tomorrow, and on Saturday, April 26th, he will host an auction and fish fry at his home, 263 Rozelle Creek Road in Chillicothe.

OH House-86 - Bill Horne (D-Hillsboro) will attend the Hillsboro Athletic Boosters event at Hillsboro Elementary School, 500 U.S. Rte 62, on Saturday, April 12th, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

OH House-90 - Duane Grassbaugh (D-Howard) officially announced his campaign on Tuesday, with a post on his web site that describes his background and the issues on which he will run:

Duane Grassbaugh, 35, is a lifetime member of the Ohio Farmers Union and is the president of the Knox/Licking County Farmers Union. He is a lifetime farmer, currently working as the dairy herd manager at his family farm, Grassydell Farms, in Howard. He spent six years as a member of the Knox County Dairy Services Unit, and has been appointed to a term in Ohio ’s Water and Sewer Commission, a state-wide agency that manages relations between public waterworks and farmers’ property interests. Grassbaugh received a degree in dairy science from Virginia Tech in 1994.

Grassbaugh’s campaign will focus primarily on healthcare, education, and the economy. “We all know these are problem areas in Ohio ,” said Grassbaugh ... “I intend to do something about them.”

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

On the radar screen:

OH-01 - Bloggers Harry and Jack note that according to a Washington Post study, Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) "has voted how President Bush and top Republicans want him to 90.6% of the time while the average for all other Republicans combined is just above 85%." *** Chabot hasn't done anything to press for an early end to the Iraq debacle, but he is getting attention in the national press for complaining about the cost during the testimony by General Petraeus. “At a time when Americans are paying all-time high gas prices, doesn’t it make sense that Iraq should be paying for its own reconstruction?” Chabot asked. Umm, what about all those U.S. soldiers that have been killed or maimed, shouldn't we be thinking about getting our troops out of there as well? It's not just money that is at stake. *** Blogger Michael Cohen at Democracy Arsenal, who attended the Petraeus/Crocker hearings, comments that GOP House members tend to have much better hair than Democrats EXCEPT for Chabot, who "seems to have combined some sort of comb over and homage to former Ohio Congressman James Traficant that has gone horribly awry."

OH-02 - Rep. "Mean Jean" Schmidt (R-Loveland) is a 100% supporter of the controversial Colombia Free Trade Agreement that Bush is trying to rush through Congress. "Colombia is an important trading partner not only for the United States but Cincinnati in particular," said Schmidt, just back from a trade delegation trip to that country. "Promoting free trade between our countries will continue to improve Southern Ohio's economic outlook."

OH-04 - Mike Carroll (D-Mansfield) will attend a reception co-hosted by the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance and the Ohio Democratic Party from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 15th, at The Athletic Club of Columbus, 136 E Broad Street. For more information call 614-888-4868.

OH-06 - Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-St. Clairsville), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, expressed support for the proposal by Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) for the FHA to insure $300 billion in troubled loans if lenders agree to write them down to 85% of appraised values. "When there's foreclosure in a neighborhood, it brings down [the] valuation of the other homes around it," Wilson said. "We're really trying to make a significant effort to keep people from losing their homes to foreclosures. Not only to help them, but to help everyone." *** David has Wilson's reaction to the Petraeus testimony: "The message from General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker is that there’s no end in sight for the war in Iraq. That’s not good enough. The troops have done their job and done it well. But, there’s been almost no political progress in Iraq and we just keep pouring our troops and money into it."

OH-10 - One of the "Muzzle" awards given by The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of the Freedom of Expression this year is to the Texas Democratic Party for keeping Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) off the state’s primary ballot because he refused to sign a pledge that he would “fully support” the eventual Democratic nominee.

OH-12 - Stubborn Liberal reports that Rep. Pat Tiberi (R) continues to be a "a puppet for the current administration's failed policy in Iraq," saying (as reported in the Dispatch) that "if we begin a precipitous withdrawal of troops now, all of our gains made in Iraq could be reversed. I believe we must listen to our troops on the ground and the testimony of Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker as we plan our next steps in Iraq."

OH-15 - Blogger ohio06win notes that candidate and former bank lobbyist State Sen. Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington) has opposed placing a cap on payday loan interest.

Carnival of Ohio Politics #112: Smooth Groove Edition


Jill takes the Carnival into new thematic territory by introducing a musical twist for installment #112.

Great job - go give it a read and a listen!

Payday Lending and the Beattys: There's Another Side to the Story

The Plain Dealer and the Dispatch report momentum in the General Assembly toward passing a measure that caps interest on payday loans, probably at 36% per year. Both stories attribute this development to the revelation that Otto Beatty, spouse of Ohio House Democratic Leader Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus), is doing consulting work of some kind for an Ohio-based payday lender. Mr Beatty says that the work relates to Virginia rather than Ohio, and both Beattys deny that his work has any influence on her actions in the legislature, but several lawmakers say that Beatty has been a roadblock to advancing the measure. In the absence of any other reason to do that, the implication of improper influence hangs heavy in the air.

However, there is in fact good reason to tread carefully with payday lending regulation. I agree that the Beattys should have disclosed the matter when Mr Beatty started doing the work in mid-January, in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict. However, Joyce Beatty voiced concerns about the payday lending interest cap last summer, and for good cause.
Continued after the flip.

Wisconsin Passes Great Lakes Water Compact, Focus Turns to Ohio

Gov. Jim Doyle (D-WI) announced today that a deal has been reached and the Wisconsin legislature will meet in a special session on April 17th to vote on the Great Lakes Water Compact.

The other states involved have either approved the compact or are expected to do so. Attention should now shift to Ohio, where State Sen. Tim Grendell (R-Chesterland) has been holding up approval of the measure out of misguided concern over private property rights. He protests that the compact would convert privately owned groundwater into public trust property, but experts dispute his contention. And even Grendell concedes that a compact of some kind is necessary to ward off large-scale diversions of Great Lakes water to the thirsty Southwest.

Gov. Strickland (D) is a solid proponent of the agreement. Hopefully public attention and scrutiny will overcome Grendell's pig-headed opposition and Ohio will get this thing done.

Second Chance Act SIgned Today

Time to celebrate a win for the good guys. Four years after the measure was first introduced, the bipartisan Second Chance Act was signed today. It provides provides $330 million in federal funding for programs designed to help released prisoners re-enter society successfully, including employment services, housing assistance, and substance-abuse treatment.

My Congresswoman, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Cleveland), was one of four co-sponsors of the House version of the bill. (Another was a personal hero, the great progressive statesman Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) of Chicago.) Senate sponsors include ideological adversaries Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on the left and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) on the right. The bipartisan nature of the support for this law is in fact remarkable. "The enthusiasm about it is just so high," said Jessica Nickel, director of government affairs for the Council of State Governments, quoted in a story in U.S. News & World Report. "It's been a true left-right coalition."

The proportion of ex-convicts in urban African American communities is shockingly high - as much as one in three males in some areas. Helping released prisoners find jobs and housing is the key to reducing recidivism, which is good for society as well as the individuals involved. Housing prisoners is expensive, and studies have shown that about half of released prisoners wind up in jail again within three years under current conditions.

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

Items of interest:

OH-02 - Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) is among 16 candidates endorsed by the SBA List Candidate Fund, a pro-life organization created to counter Emily's List and Planned Parenthood Federal PAC and deceptively named for women's rights icon Susan B. Anthony. It is holding its first fund-raiser of the cycle in Washington DC this afternoon.

OH-04 - Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) is one of four GOP freshman members of the House to receive an "A" rating from the National Taxpayers Union, an organization devoted to fanatically slashing federal spending, even for essential programs. *** Attorney Rick Siferd (D-Lima), who ran for this seat in 2006, has been selected to replace retiring Gary Frueh as Chair of the Allen County Democratic Party.

OH-06 - Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-St. Clairsville) reports on his six-stop Economic Listening Tour today in the East Liverpool Review. He got an earful about rising healthcare premiums, college tuition, and especially gas prices. *** David has the tale from Wilson's office about how his announcement that the IRS held unclaimed funds owed to 199 taxpayers in the 6th District led to one woman recovering $3,500. Also, David reported yesterday that Wilson came out strong against the proposed Columbia Free Trade Agreement:

On my recent economic listening tour throughout the Ohio River Valley, I heard loud and clear from working families that free trade may work on Wall Street, but it isn’t working on Main Street. Rest assured that I’m not for NAFTA, CAFTA or any other AFTA.

OH-17 - Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) is proudly announcing an FAA grant of $962,885 to the Western Reserve Port Authority (WRPA) and the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport for safety equipment, airfield guidance signs, and fencing improvements. The fence part is especially important because it will trigger FAA approval for the airport to proceed with its master plan. “I pledge to continue working for the airport’s needed resources but also look forward to working with the Port Authority on broader economic development projects throughout the Mahoning Valley,” said Rep. Ryan.

OH-18 - In a story in The Hill, reporter Aaron Blake gives 0H-18 as one example of the NRCC's failure to recruit top-tier challengers in what should be targeted races, leading analysts to conclude that the GOP has no chance of regaining control of the House. *** Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) will hold the third Working Group session of his Renew Ohio-18 initiative, this one on expanding advanced energy resources, beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Friday (4/11) at the Inn at Hocking College, 15770 State Route 691 in Nelsonville. This session is open to the media and public. *** Challenger Fred Dailey (R-Mt Vernon) will resign his position as president of Farmer Mac, a government sponsored provider of agricultural real estate and rural housing mortgage services, effective June 30th in order to devote himself to his campaign.

Bill Clinton Next in Line For Dismissal?

Over the weekend Hillary Clinton "fired" chief strategist Mark Penn (demoted, really, since he is still doing work for the campaign) because he worked to support the Colombia Free Trade Agreement in the course of his day job.

Now Perry Bacon, Jr. is reporting on The Trail that Bill Clinton is also supporting the controversial new trade deal:

Her campaign on Tuesday acknowledged that former President Clinton has also spoken in favor of the proposed bilateral agreement with Colombia . . .

"Senator Clinton is the candidate for president and she is a clear and firm opponent of the Colombian free trade agreement," said Jay Carson, a Clinton spokesman, who said the ex-president has spoken in favor of the agreement since 2000. "Like other married couples who disagree on issues from time to time, she disagrees with her on husband on this issue."

Hillary and Bill may be separate people entitled to separate opinions, but so are Obama and the economic advisor who made those comments about NAFTA to Canadian diplomatic personnel, for which Clinton gave Obama so much grief in the days preceding the Ohio primary. In any event, Clinton takes a lot of credit for the accomplishments of her husband's presidential administration, so it will be difficult for her to achieve tactical separation from his views on the Colombia Free Trade Agreement as the Pennsylvania vote approaches.

An Ode to Cleveland and Reminder about "Maxed Out" with Cordray, Rokakis, Engel

Sarah Byrnes, Campaign Manager for Americans For Fairness in Lending (AFFIL), has penned an ode to Cleveland for a blog post about tonight's screening of "Maxed Out" at the Maxine Goodman Levin School of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University:

Cleveland is a city on Lake Erie
The amount of foreclosures there makes me weary
It's a very bad thing
Subprime lenders did bring
But we could fix it if our reps would see clearly!

(Ouch.)

The event tonight is a great opportunity to see an important documentary on predatory lending (writer/director James Scurlock won the 2008 Ridenhour Book Prize for the book on which it is based, Maxed Out: Hard Times in an Age of Easy Credit) and to hear a discussion by three nationally-recognized leaders and authorities on predatory lending: Ohio Treasurer Rich Cordray, Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis, and CSU Law Professor Kathleen Engel.

Here is the trailer for the movie:



The event is from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. in the atrium of Glickman-Miller Hall (the Levin College of Urban Affairs) at 1717 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland (corner of 18th Street). The event is free but please register.

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