Strickland Vows to Veto Special Ed Voucher Law

The CEA Blog, written by Phillip Hayes for the Columbus Education Assocation, has an exclusive interview with Gov. Ted Strickland on education issues. Among other things, Strickand states for the first time that he will veto Senate Bill 57 (which would allow the parents of special education students to get a $20,000 voucher that they could be use for charter or private schooling) if it comes across his desk in its current form.

It is an excellent interview. Strickland calls No Child Left Behind "too restrictive" and "harmful to the education process," and predicts that there will be neither an increase in accountability for charter schools nor a reduction in school vouchers without a change in control of the General Assembly:

“It’s going to take a Republican Governor and a Republican legislature in Ohio to expand charter schools and vouchers in the state,” said Strickland. “To reverse that, it will require a Democratic Governor and a Democratic legislature. As long as there’s the division we have now, we will continue to end up with the status quo we’re experiencing.”

Read the whole thing.

ODP Should Publicly Affirm Its Commitment to Respecting Women

Jill has published a thoughtful letter to Ohio Democratic Chair Chris Redfern in which she calls for "a public statement that explicitly denounces work environments and behavior that impede, demean or otherwise disrespect women." I wholeheartedly agree.

The pending sexual harassment investigations in the Office of the Ohio Attorney General and the resignation yesterday of State Rep. Matthew Barrett (D-Amherst) have little in common except two things: (1) they both involve actual or alleged conduct that disrespects women, and (2) they both tend to threaten Democratic hopes of attaining the party's strategic goals for 2008 and beyond.

It's up to the party to respond to these episodes in a way that minimizes the political damage and keeps the party on course. That means getting out in front of them, both through full disclosure and transparency about what happened and through publicly reaffirming the ideals of the Democratic Party with which these scandals conflict.

I think the kind of clear pubic statement that Jill calls for is an excellent place to start.

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races UPDATED

On the computer screen today:

OH-01 - Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) was one of only a handful of GOP members of the House to stick with House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-West Chester) this week on voting against a bill to block the Bush administration from cutting federal spending on Medicaid health care for the poor by $13 billion over the next five years. Two-thirds of the Republicans joined every voting Democrat in the 349-62 vote to stall the changes for at least a year. The other Ohioans to join Boehner in giving the boot to sick kids were Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green).

UPDATE: OH-03 - Challenger Jane Mitakides (D-Washington Twp) will attend the Miami Valley Health Care Conference and National Workers' Day being sponsored by the Dayton- Miami Valley AFL-CIO Central Labor Council at 6:00 p.m. on Monday (4/28) at 4127 East Second Street in Dayton. For more information call the AFL-CIO at (937) 259-9814.

OH-04 - Challenger Mike Carroll (D-Mansfield) reports that he has received the endorsement of the Communication Workers of America - District 4, to go along with his endorsements from the UAW State of Ohio CAP, IBEW Local 688, United Steelworkers Local 169, and the Crawford/Richland County Central Labor Council and West Central Central Labor Council. Reporter Heather Rutz of the Lima News gives a good recap of Carroll's talk the other night:

“I’m not a politician,” Carroll said. “I’m an American worker fed up with the direction the country is going.”

Carroll is a member of United Steelworkers union and has worked for AK Steel for 24 years. He is a veteran of the Ohio Air National Guard, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3494 Men’s Auxiliary and a charter member of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance.

[Rep. Jim] Jordan is out of touch with working people and their issues, Carroll said. ... “He voted against renewable energy and energy conservation. He’s against children’s health insurance, against affordable housing, against fair pay, against college cost reduction, against the minimum wage. It goes on and on and on,” Carroll said. “How do we keep electing guys like this?”

Carroll said he supports further government help with the country’s subprime mortgage trouble and favors an infrastructure rebuilding program over the government’s soon to be issued stimulus package checks.

“He says it’s not the federal government’s job to interfere in the subprime mortgage crisis. Are you kidding me? When I’m elected, it will be my job to help all citizens,” Carroll said. “Ohio is like No. 3 in the nation in foreclosures, and our congressman says it’s not his job to help?”

Carroll will speak at the Hancock County Democratic Spring Dinner at Findlay AmVets Post 21, 339 E Melrose Ave. in Findlay, on Monday, May 5th, at 6:30 p.m.

OH-07 - GOP primary candidate Lt. Col. John Mitchel (USAF-ret.) continues to hammer Rep. Dave Hobson (R-Springfield) and his hand-picked successor State Sen. Steve Austria (R-Beavercreek) over a massive no-bid contract steered to campaign contributors, combined in this instance with criticism for their silence on the loss of funding for an important local facility:

[W]hen funding is lost on programs like Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare, the region’s only public psychiatric facility, Austria and Hobson scurry back to the shadows.

I am not passing judgment on cutting the budget [but] we should be demanding accountability for politicians’ budget priorities ... Take for example the contract Greene County Commissioners awarded in 2003 to the Dayton Development Coalition, a private, non-profit corporation. The deal sent $1.9 million in tax dollars to the Coalition, who in turn awarded an un-bid contract to The Greentree Group, who then noncompetitively awarded $560,000 to The PMA Group, a Washington lobbyist. Steve Austria and his mentor, Dave Hobson, were instrumental in steering taxpayer dollars to these private organizations on the pretext that they were needed to protect jobs at Wright Patterson, and then received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Greentree and PMA. The simple truth is that Wright Patt is a national treasure and as such will never be in danger of closing or downsizing, and therefore the $1.9 million Austria and Hobson money-laundered to special interests to defend the base was a total waste of taxpayer dollars.

OH-09 - Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) gets kudos in an article in the current edition of The Nation about how the U.S. government and U.S.-based food conglomerates have precipitated the world food crisis by "pressuring farmers here and abroad to produce cash crops for export and alternative fuels rather than grow healthy food for local consumption and regional stability." Author John Nichols cites Rep. Kaptur as one of a handful of "visionary" members of Congress to advocate "an urgent rethink of the respective roles of markets and governments" as called for by the Institute on Agriculture and Trade Policy.

OH-10 - I missed the broadcast, but a Texas blogger reports that Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) was on television yesterday restating his long-standing support for a windfall profits tax on oil companies in light of record prices and profits. His official web site describes the idea this way (from a post that is several years old):

HR 2070, The Gas Price Spike Act of 2005, ... will address the spike in the price of gasoline by placing a windfall profits tax on oil companies; giving tax credits for the purchase of ultra efficient vehicles; and provide federal grants to reduced mass transit fares. “Consumers in Northeast Ohio, and nationwide, are being gouged at the pump,” stated Kucinich. “The only thing rising faster than the price of gasoline right now is the skyrocketing profits of the oil companies.”

UPDATE: The appearance was on Fox, and here is the video:

OH-12 - Challenger David Robinson (D-Columbus) will be attending a Dublin house party at the home of Lucy and Al Gabel, located at 7190 Coffman Road at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29th. This event is open to all that wish to attend, suggested donations: Sponsors-$200, Guests-$50. Please RSVP, by e-mail to or call 614-889-8282. Please include your name and telephone number with your RSVP. *** UPDATE: Robinson's campaign site highlights this introductory video ad from his campaign kickoff a month ago:

OH-17 - Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles), a co-sponsor of a bill to divert petroleum from the strategic oil reserve to the marketplace to help bring down prices, told Don Shilling of the Youngstown Vindicator that he might support the alterative strategy of opening up environmentally-sensitive areas in Alaska and Florida to drilling:
Ryan said he is open to the idea of opening up more areas to drilling. He added, however, that it would have to be part of a comprehensive energy plan that included less reliance on oil and more development of nuclear power and alternative energy.

Blogger Dan Rowinsky of the Mahoning Valley Stonewall Democrats is displeased, calling it pandering to the public and a failure of leadership.

OH House-58: Possible Replacements for Barrett Named UPDATED

In a story for the Columbus Dispatch, reporter Jim Siegel writes that after blaming his son for the topless photograph he projected to a startled class of high school students, State Rep. Matthew Barrett (D-Amherst) "apparently admitted to Democratic leaders last night that not only were the pictures his, but he knew the woman in that photo and the women in other such photos."

Siegal also indicates that former state representative Dan Metelsky "is mentioned" as a possible replacement for Barrett. Other names floated in a conversation I had tonight are Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch (D) and Huron County Auditor John Elmlinger Roland Tkach(D).

Metelsky was a long-time city council member in Lorain before he was appointed to represent the 61st House District in 1996, a post he held until October 2001. More recently he has been Deputy Director of the Ohio Lottery.

UPDATE: My conversation last night was with reporter Brad Dicken of the Elyria Chronicle Telegram and he has now written a story on the matter, from which I learn that the Huron County Auditor is not John Elmnlinger as indicated on the NACO site but Roland Tkach.

Dicken also reports that the caucus will meet on Monday to discuss a replacement, and that they are looking for a current or former elected offical:

The decision of who will serve out the remainder of Barrett’s term rests with the Ohio House Democratic Caucus, which has scheduled a meeting Monday to figure that out.

State Rep. Chris Redfern, D-Catawba Island, said Thursday that Democrats likely will choose a replacement with good name recognition in Barrett’s district, which includes Huron County and portions of Lorain and Seneca counties.

“It’ll be a current or former elected official who is well-known in the district,” said Redfern, who is also the head of the state Democratic Party.

OH House-70: Conner (D) Chosen to Replace Nisenoff (D)

Don Hollister, Chair of the Greene County Democratic Party, informs me that two-time OH-07 congressional candidate Bill Conner (D-Beavercreek) was chosen last night by a 70th district caucus of the County Democratic Party Executive Committee to replace Matt Nisenoff (D-Beavercreek) on the ballot. Carol Wichman (D-Fairborn) was the other contender for the appointment.

Conner is an engineer and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. In 2006 he won 39% of the vote against Rep. Dave Hobson (R-Springfield) overall, taking 34% of the vote in Greene County. The 70th District comprises a portion of Greene County (including Beavercreek, Fairborn and Xenia) and leans Republican (PVI R+8). The GOP candidate is city council member Jarrod Martin (R-Beavercreek). Term-limited incumbent Kevin DeWine (R-Beavercreek) defeated political novice Kevin O'Brien (D-Fairborn) in 2006 by 60% to 40%.

OH House-58: Barrett (D) Resigns Over Nude Image Controversy

In a shocking development, State Rep. Matthew Barrett (D-Amherst) has submitted his resignation. House Democratic Leader Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) has announced that she asked for the resignation when it "became clear that Rep. Barrett had not been forthright with me and his colleagues" regarding the nude photo incident that generated a lot of media coverage last fall.

The underlying episode occurred in October, when Barrett inadvertently projected the image of a topless woman while making a presentation to a class at Norwalk High School. At the time he told investigators that he had no idea where the image came from, and later the presence of the photo on Barrett's computer equipment was attributed to his teenage son. The details of Barrett's lack of candor about the incident have not yet been disclosed, but it raises the possibility that he made false statements to the police, which could be a criminal offense.

As I have noted previously, the 58th District was already looking like a difficult seat to defend, given a Republican tilt (PVI R+6.3), the emergence of a credible challenger in former county commissioner Terry Boose (R-Norwalk), and the prospect that first-termer Barrett would be attacked over the nude image incident. No time frame for appointing a replacement has been announced, but even if done quickly it is likely that the newcomer will be at a disadvantage in gearing up for the election.

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races UPDATED

A lot going on:

OH-01 - Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) failed in his effort to persuade the House Rules Committee to continue the exemption of the river steamboat Delta Queen from Coast Guard fire safety regulations. The exemption has been renewed nine times, allowing the steamboat to continue operating on overnight rips on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-MN), chair of the House Transportation Committee, opposes the exemption because the Coast Guard regards the steamboat as a fire hazard.

OH-02 - Blogger Howie Klein praised Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) on the Huffington Post on Tuesday for her pledge not to accept Congressional health insurance coverage until health insurance is made available to all.

OH-03 - As noted by David Potts in his new gig at Buckeye State Blog yesterday, Jane Mitakides (D-Washington Twp) has been endorsed by the National Women’s Political Caucus. *** Mitakides campaign blogger Chris Kelly reported on Swing State Project on Tuesday that the campaign has gone carbon neutral:

By underwriting carbon offsets from, an organization that helps individuals, businesses, and organizations to eliminate their carbon footprints, the Mitakides campaign becomes one of the first congressional campaigns in the nation (and the first in Ohio) to take responsibility for their own greenhouse gas emissions.

OH-06 - Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-St.Clairsville) teamed up with Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) yesterday to introduce the Emergency Neighborhood Reclamation Act, which would authorize $1 billion in federal funds for the demolition of abandoned buildings in areas that are blighted due to the mortgage foreclosure crisis. “The concern is that many foreclosed homes have been empty for a long period of time," said Rep. Wilson. "Many of them have been stripped of their copper piping and other valuable parts. To rehabilitate such homes is often more expensive than demolishing and starting new. We need to do what’s best for neighborhoods that are hurting.” *** In addition, Rep. Wilson shared in the credit for changing HR 5818, the Neighborhood Stabilization Act of 2008, in the House Financial Services Committee yesterday in a way that increases the share of grants and loans coming to Ohio from about $436 million to about $586 million.

OH-08 - Challenger Nick Von Stein (D-Mason) has announced his endorsement in the presidential race:

As a Democrat, I want the best candidate to go up against John McCain, and I think that that person is Barack Obama. We do not need the baggage from the Clinton Presidency to come back to haunt us in 2008. The presidency is not an office that is simply passed down from father to son, and husband to wife. We need new leadership in Washington D.C. We need someone who is able to speak to our country and the world, and let them know that the failed policies of the Bush Administration are over.

I'm giving my money and my support to Barack Obama because I want the democratic primary to be over. And the best way that we all can do this is by donating money to Barack, and not giving money to Hillary Clinton. If she doesn't have money, she can't fight any longer. We don't need someone simply repeating Republican talking points and providing fodder the election this fall.

I want to sent a clear message to the Clinton campaign. She needs to face the reality that Barack is going to be our candidate, and she needs to end her campaign and do what is best for the Democratic Party in 2008.

That's why I just made a donation to Barack's campaign, and I hope you'll join me and support our movement with a contribution of $25.

OH-09 - Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) has emerged as a leader in the effort to derail the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), which is a dialogue between the presidents of Canada, the United States, and Mexico intended to seek closer integration on economic and security between the three countries. Kaptur objects to the SPP, which was the subject of further negotiations at this week's North American Summit, as altering U.S. trade policy in secret and without constitutionally mandated Congressional oversight. However, Kaptur's role as an outspoken opponent to SPP puts her into alliance with extremists on the right whose opposition is less about trade policy per se than about preserving U.S. sovereignty. They contend that the SPP is a plot to absorb the U.S. into a North American Union, similar to the European Union, a notion that is reminiscent of a long litany of conspiracy theories about threats to U.S. sovereignty.

OH-10 - Elizabeth Kucinich, lissome spouse of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland), has been retained as an unpaid roving news correspondent for the green lifestyle site G Living, and as part of the package is the subject of this videtaped organic fashion makeover. It's a fascinating clip - kind of a hip and "eco-fashionable" takeoff on How Do I Look?, including "sustainable clothing" from vendors like Ecoganik.

OH-12 - The campaign of David Robinson (D-Colubmus) asked me to publish this call for volunteers:

With less than 200 days to go until Election Day, now is the time to start telling voters about David Robinson and why he is the best choice to represent the 12th District in the U.S. Congress.

Over the next several weeks, the Robinson Campaign will be pulling together a Grassroots Team – a group of committed and energetic Robinson supporters who are willing to spend a few hours on the weekend, or a few hours during the week, reaching out to voters at the door or on the phone.

No Experience Required! "If you can walk, you can canvass. If you can talk, you can phone bank." Training will be provided.

We are going to win in November with good, old-fashioned hard work, and the Grassroots Team will be a critical part of our success. If you would like to be part of the Team, RSVP to Jed Thorp, Grassroots Coordinator at jedthorp-at-hotmail-dot-com or 617-553-0541.

For more information on David Robinson and his campaign platform, please visit

OH-13 - Yesterday the House passed three amendments to a bill to revise the Small Business Act offered by Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp). Her amendments improve two programs that award research and technology grants to small businesses by giving priority to companies located in areas that have lost a major source of employment and to veterans, and by accelerating the consideration of research grants that involve transportation and infratructure. *** On Monday Rep. Sutton listened to an account of the brutal killing of trade unionists in Columbia and told a crowd of about 40 workers and local officials that she would fight the Columbia Free Trade Pact "with every fiber of her being." Lorain Mayor Tony Krasienko was impressed, commenting that “Lorain, much like many manufacturing cities, has seen the pitfalls of these loosely worded trade agreements.” *** According to this CQ Politics report, Rep. Sutton was part of a group of 21 uncommitted U.S. House members (also including Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo)) who met with Hillary Clinton two weeks ago in order to question her about trade policy. The group also intends to meet with Barack Obama, but Sutton split from the group by endorsing Clinton before that second meeting took place.

OH-14 - Bret Thompson noted on yesterday that Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Twp) raised his voting grade at from "F" in '04 and '05 to "B" in '06 and '08 (to date), a sign perhaps that he is "feeling the heat back home." *** And Plain Dealer columnist Thomas Suddes had this gem of a quote from LaTourette in 2000, about two years before disgraced Youngstown pol Jim Traficant landed in federal prison:

"There isn't a finer man, there isn't a finer member of Congress, there isn't a finer human being . . . than Jim Traficant," said U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette, of Concord Township. "God bless you, Jimmy Traficant, and I hope to serve with you for many years."

OH-15 - Mary Jo Kilroy has overhauled her campaign site, which had been dormant for some time. Her new statement of policy priorities was assessed on Tuesday by the blogger Jim at Irregular Times. *** Blogger ohio06win rates this bumper sticker opposing bank lobbyist-turned-state senator Steve Stivers (D-Upper Arlington) as "Awesome!!!!!":

Buy it at CafePress for only $3.95!

OH-16 - Kyle has good coverage of the grand opening of the new campaign headquarters for State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) in Canton last weekend. *** This week Boccieri testified before the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee in support of a bill to designate part of U.S. Route 62 as the "Lance Cpl. Daniel McVicker Memorial Highway." McVicker, a Marine, was killed in Iraq in 2005. "During the course of his young life, Daniel McVicker served his school, his community and his country with pride," Boccieri said. "Daniel was a courageous soldier, son, brother and friend whose loss is deeply felt by his family and within his community. It is only fitting that we seek to preserve the legacy of this brave hometown hero."

OH-17 - Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) is co-sponsoring H.R. 5473, a bill to immediately bring down the price of gas by forcing the President to stop diverting oil to the 95%-full Strategic Petroleum Reserve and move it to the market instead. “The price of a gallon of gas is around $3.50 a gallon — a direct result of the President’s failed energy policy. While we struggle to fill the tank, the President is diverting oil from the open market into the United State’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve,” said Rep. Ryan. “No President has ever so brazenly continued to fill the SPR during an oil crisis and the President’s strategy must be stopped — for the sake of families that can no longer afford to drive and for the sake of our overall economy.”

OH-18 - As noted by Dave Harding at, yesterday CQ Politics shifted this race from "Leans Democratic" to "Democrat Favored," a reflection of the strong fund-raising and high visibility of Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) and the failure of challenger Fred Dailey (R-Mt Vernon) to generate much enthusiasm or campaign cash to date. *** On Tuesday Rep. Space announced that the Newark-Heath Airport had received a $201,000 grant through the FAA Airport Improvement Program. Space is on the House Subcommittee on Aviation.

Ohio Superdelegate Reset

I know have been distracted this week and missed a lot, but I'm surprised that I failed to note that Ohio superdelegate Enid Gobeaux, a former chair of the Darke County Democratic Party, declared for Obama on Monday. That resets the list as follows, with Clinton holding a 7-5 lead:

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

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

Rep. Marcy Kaptur
Rep. Dennis Kucinich
Rep. Charlie Wilson
Rep. Zack Space
Sen. Sherrod Brown
State Rep. Joyce Beatty
State Rep. Chris Redfern
[Redfern Pick #1]
[Redfern Pick #2]

News and Notes: General Assembly Races

This is an abbreviated edition, since I am largely tied up with non-blogging matters for a day or two more:

OH House-13 - Quite a few House members sent out press releases extolling the bipartisan energy bill passed yesterday, but I think State Rep. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) deserves style points for tying it explicitly to the fact that yesterday was Earth Day:

“It is very appropriate that, on Earth Day, we passed legislation to create jobs in Ohio’s ‘green-collar’ industries,” Rep. Skindell said. "Energy efficiency saves money, boosts investment in new and existing houses and buildings, and puts people to work designing, manufacturing, selling and installing efficiency products made in Ohio by Ohioans. Using energy more efficiently is a win-win-win for consumers, the economy and the environment.”

UPDATE: OH House-15 - The Ohio House today unanimously passed legislation co-sponsored by State Rep. Tim DeGeeter (D-Parma) that allows consumers to place a freeze on their credit reports before identity theft has taken place. “This legislation tightens the protections we have to shield consumers from thieves who prey on people through their personal information,” Rep. DeGeeter said. “The laws we had in place were well-intentioned, but reactionary because they only applied to ID theft victims after the theft took place. This is a proactive bill that helps people before they are victimized.” The bill sets a $10 fee to place the credit freeze and a $5 fee to lift or thaw the freeze, which is the same as or lower than 20 of the 34 states that have simliar laws.

OH House-19 - Marian Harris (D-Columbus) has been endorsed by the Central Labor Council, AFL/CIO. This is a significant boost for Harris and by no means a foregone conclusion -- in 2006 this group chose to endorse State Rep. Larry Flowers (R), now term-limited out, over her. *** Harris had a letter to the editor published in the Columbus Dispatch last Friday, speaking out strongly in favor of the Paid Sick Days initiative:

... How does someone staying home sick and getting paid for that day drive up the cost of business when that day's salary is already a business expense?

It seems to me that not having sick days drives up the cost of business because of decreased productivity when a worker goes to work sick or worried about a sick child. ...

OH House-22 - John Carney (D-Columbus), who has a fundraiser tomorrow night with Gov. Strickland, invites supporters to join him in volunteering on Saturday (4/26) from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. for an Adena Brook Earth Day clean-up, which includes several projects to improve the ravine and rain garden. RSVP to mark-dot-lundine-at-gmail-dot-com and meet up at Overbrook Drive and North High Street in Columbus. Wear your Carney t-shirt, or if you don't have one yet it will be provided by the campaign.

OH House-24 - State Rep. Ted Celeste (D-Grandview Hts) will have his campaign kick-off event on Saturday, May 3rd, at 10:00 a.m. at the McKinley Field Party House, 1755 Goodale Blvd. in Grandview Heights. Complimentary breakfast included. Download the flyer here.

OH House-57 - State Rep. Matt Lundy (D-Elyria) will hold a “Lundy Listens” Town Hall Meeting tomorrow (4/24) at 7:00 p.m. at the East Carlisle Building, 1959 Grafton Road in Elyria.

OH House-70 - The executive committee of the Greene County Democratic Party meets tonight to select a replacement for Matt Nisenoff (D) on the ballot. The points made by Carol Wichman in her letter requesting the nomination include that she is a past chairperson of the county party and has run many campaigns over the years; retired from public education after 32 years of service to the school children of Kansas and Ohio; has been recognized with honors including "Media Specialist of the Year for Ohio" for her work as a School Librarian in Fairborn, "Keeper of the Flame" by Sherrod Brown for activities that encourage women to participate in the election process, and induction into the Greene County Women’s Hall of Fame. She has been an active union member as well as an activist for women, community issues, and children. She has served on the Greene County Library Foundation committee and currently chairs the Greene, Clark and Madison ADMAS Board (now known as the Mental Health and Recovery Board). She wrote that her "leadership skills and my diversified background are needed at state level." *** For his part, former congressional candidate William Conner (D-Beavercreek) pointed to his efforts since since the March 4th primary to "develop a common platform for progressive Democrats to use in their [congressional] races," his proposal to initiate a monthly meeting among Greene County Democrats "which would center on a different key national issue each month," and the effectiveness of the hand-delivered campaign card that he used in the congressional primary (which he points out could be deployed more comprehensively in the smaller Ohio House district). He also notes that he has strong name recognition and a core of enthusiastic supporters from his two congressional campaigns.

OH House-85 - Ray Pryor (D-Chillicothe) will be attending the RENEW Ohio-18 conference on health care jobs on Friday (4/25) starting at 9:30 a.m. at Adena Hospital in his home town. The event is hosted by Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover), with whom Pryor has developed a solid working relationship. Pryer writes on his web site that he will "address health care issues and suggest solutions." On Saturday (4/26) the candidate is having an auction and fish fry at his home, 263 Rozelle Creek Road in Chillicothe.

OH House-91 - State Rep. Dan Dodd (D-Hebron) will hold a Town Hall Meeting on Monday, April 28th, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the Hocking County LIbrary in Logan.

OH House-93 - As the ranking Democrat on the House Public Utilities Committee, State Rep. Jennifer Garrison (D-Marietta) was the point person on the compromise energy bill that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support yesterday. She especially praised the rate-making provisions, which as a result of tough negotiating by Democrats now protects businesses and consumers by including a safeguard against excessive profits by utilities:

“Utilities should not be allowed to collect excessive earnings on the backs of consumers,” Rep. Garrison said. “Look at what happened when deregulated utilities were allowed to operate in other states. Bills in Maryland went up 72 percent. Bills in Illinois went up 55 percent. That’s the bottom line impact of market forces dictating what people pay to flip a switch. This may be the most important legislation we pass in the next five years because of the broad scope of its reach on the next generation."

We Were Wrong. Hillary Can Still Win.

Maybe you've read this strategy already and I missed it. But- this video makes it pretty clear that the Senator from New York has a solid plan to win the bid :-) ...

Even Hillary and the never ending primary can't get me down when Cleveland's skies are this blue. Hope everyone is enjoying the weather!

OH Sen-24: Rosemary Palmer (D) to Replace Cotronakis (D) on Ballot UPDATED

Word is that 10th Congressional District primary candidate Rosemary Palmer (D-Bay Village) will be replacing attorney Emanuel Cotronakis (D-Bay Village) as the candidate for the GOP-held open seat in the 24th Ohio Senate District. Term-limited State Rep. Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) is the GOP contender. Cotronakis will be officially withdrawing soon, reportedly to focus on business.

I regard this as very good news. Like the previous Democratic Ohio Senate candidate to withdraw, Sylvia Washburn (D-Maumee) in the 2nd Ohio Senate District, Cotronakis was not visibly campaigning and had raised no money. Palmer proved to be an energetic and spirited campaigner in the primary. Although she finished last in the five-way contest, she gained valuable name recognition and experience, raised $50,917 in contributions from individuals, and has a host of campaign volunteers ready to go into action. I expect her to put a tremendous amount of energy and creativity into this race and make it a genuine contest.

The 24th District is composed of Cleveland suburbs around the western, southern, and eastern borders of Cuyahoga County, incorporating the 16th, 17th, and 18th Ohio House Districts. It leans somewhat Republican (PVI R+4). Incumbent State Sen. Bob Spada (R-North Royalton) is term-limited and is running for Patton's former seat in the 18th House District. Spada won re-election to his Senate seat with 62.14% of the vote in 2004.

CDWC Regional Leaders Strategy Session in Cleveland 4/24

04/24/2008 - 7:00pm
04/24/2008 - 8:45pm

The Cuyahoga Democratic Women's Caucus will host a Regional Leaders Strategy Session on Thursday (4/24) at 7:00 at Laborers' Local 310 Union Hall, 3250 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland.
Details after the break.

Rosemary Palmer to Host Move-On Press Conference on Iraq and the Economy in Cleveland 4/24

04/24/2008 - 1:00pm
04/24/2008 - 2:00pm

Anti-war activist and 10th Congressional District primary candidate Rosemary Palmer will host a press conference with MoveOn members at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday (4/24) on the sidewalk outside the Anthony Celebrezze federal building, 1240 East 9th Street in Cleveland (where Sen. George Voinovich's office is located) to release reports on groundbreaking state-by-state polling data. These reports show that voters understand that the Iraq war hurts our ability to fix the ailing economy. RSVP here.

Please Pardon the Interruption -- Light Posting Today

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

Cordray Endorses AFFIL Six Principles of Fair Lending

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

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

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

Wood Co. Democrats Bowling Green Neighborhood Meeting

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

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

Ryan Endorses Clinton

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

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

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

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

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

News and Notes: General Assembly Races

Latest developments on the campaign trail:

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

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

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

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

Betty Sutton Endorses Clinton

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

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

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

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

Rep. Marcy Kaptur
Rep. Dennis Kucinich

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

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apply Now for CPL New Leaders Fellowship Program

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

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News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News and Notes: General Assembly Races

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments on First Quarter Congressional Fund-Raising in Ohio

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

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

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

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

Roundup of Congressional Race Fund-Raising Reports

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

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

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