RIP Howard Metzenbaum, 1917-2008

Today we celebrate the life of a great champion of the middle class in the General Assembly and in Congress. He was a beloved figure in Ohio and is a role model for many progressive leaders.

Metzenbaum is credited with the passage of important laws to protect individual citizens, including the one that requires warning periods for large factory closures, the Brady Law which established the waiting period for purchasing handguns, and a law that prohibits federally funded adoption agencies from discriminating on the basis of race or ethnicity.

We remember him fondly and he will be a continuing inspiration to us all.

UPDATE: Here is a statement by Sen Sherrod Brown, who now occupies Metzenbaum's seat in the Senate:

“Last night, a great son of Ohio, Senator Howard Metzenbaum, passed away. Personally inspirational to so many, Senator Metzenbaum fought tirelessly – and passionately – on behalf of working families in Ohio and across the nation.

“Never afraid to challenge his Senate colleagues, he fought for people who had less privilege. And he always fought for opportunity for people of all races and both genders.

OH-01: DCCC Adds Driehaus to "Red-to-Blue" List

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee today added thirteen challengers to it's Red to Blue program, including State Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill) in the 1st Ohio Congressional District. (The DCCC had previously announced a slate of open seat candidates for the program, which included OH-15 and OH-16.) The DCCC press release says that "these candidates earned a spot in the program by surpassing demanding fundraising goals and skillfully demonstrating to voters that they stand for change and will represent new priorities when elected to Congress."

New Akron Buckeye Poll: Democrats Are Da Bomb

The Spring 2008 Akron Buckeye Poll, sponsored by the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at The University of Akron, is out today and it's like a big wet kiss for the Democratic party:

Fifty-three percent of adult Ohioans said that Governor Strickland was doing an “excellent” or “good” job. ...

A large majority of Ohioans favor a generic Democrat over a Republican in the presidential election, and a large majority believes that the Democrats will win Ohio in November.

... [C]onfidence in state government increased compared to 2005.

... The public favors the Democrats over the Republicans on economic issues – 65 to 31 percent, and domestic issues – 58 to 38 percent, but is more evenly divided between the parties on foreign policy – 47 to 46 percent, and social issues – 48 to 44 percent.

Some more detailed numbers after the break.

OH-01: Reception for Driehaus with Lee Fisher in Cincinnati 3/13

03/13/2008 - 5:00pm
03/13/2008 - 7:00pm

Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher will headline a private reception for congressional candidate Steve Driehaus tomorrow night in Cincinnati.
Details after the flip.

Om Mani Padme Hum ... Contemplate the 108th Ohio Carnival of Politics

When I was young I was convinced there was some fundamental connection between Yoga and Yogurt. And perhaps there is, but that's neither here nor there. But over there is the 108th Carnival of Ohio Politics, and Maharishi Jill did a great job with it.

Kickin' the Tires at the Electoral Auto Mall

It was time. I had been suffering with my old automobile for eight long years. So I went to a used car dealer.

"Can I help you?"

"Yeah, it's time for me to pick a new car," I replied.

"Oh, I see you're driving one of those GOP models."

"It's a Bush," I agreed. "Got this in 2000, but I had one before. The GOP dealer is trying to sell me on a McCain, but I thought I'd check this place out."

"Well, you're in luck, pal. Check out this Clinton! She's been around a while, but she's been places and done things. This baby is ready for the road!"

"Geez, I don't know," I said. "I had a Clinton before I got my second Bush. I was thinking of an Obama, like that one at the dealership across the street. It's newer. I'm really in the mood for change."

"That one is too new! It hasn't been tested. I think you're just getting taken in by the shiny paint and gleaming chrome. Fancy new tires. Listen, all that showy stuff looks impressive here on the car lot, but once you get out on the road you want a car that's got experience."

"I don't know," I said, looking at the rust, dents, and cracked windshield on the Clinton. "It looks like that Clinton has been taking a lot of crap for a very long time. How is it going to hold up on the road against all those GOP's out there?"

"This baby has stood the test of time! She's taken everything they could throw at her, and she's still rolling. That Obama might fall apart when you take it out against the GOP's."

"But the Clinton I had was pretty new when I got it, and it did okay."

"This Clinton has passed the threshold of being your car-in-chief. That McCain they want you to buy has, too. As for that Obama, I guess you'll just have to ask about that across the street."

"The Obama has done well on all kinds of roads," I said.

Westerville Woman Honors Fallen Soldiers In Art

I had an unusual opportunity to actually sit and read the paper version of the Columbus Dispatch today and there was a compelling story on the front page of the second news section.

To read the story, click here

It came in a vision to Westerville artist Anita Miller: a series of paintings in the Statehouse honoring the fallen servicemen of Lima Company.

She had neither the money nor the contacts in state government she needed, but dreams can move mountains.

And so, financed with a home-equity loan, Miller's vision will become reality on Memorial Day, when eight life-size canvases depicting 22 Marines and a Navy corpsman go on display. The exhibit will run through Veterans Day in the Statehouse rotunda.

The Lima Company Memorial: A Remembrance of Spirit & Choice has become more than paint on canvas. Family members are contributing pictures and stories about their husbands, sons and brothers. Some visit Miller's studio in Westerville just to hang out as the paintings progress.

The story goes on with some hard to read details about this project, the woman behind it, and the soldiers who inspired it.

Everyone should visit the link to read about this labor of love.

And we should remember .. she took out a home-equity loan to work on this.

At the bottom of the piece, it gives two websites:

http://www.limacompanymemorial.org
and
http://www.theartistsroost.com/

The first site has detailed infomation about Anita's project and the second is her personal website. On the first site is a page where you can donate to help pay the costs of the project. I just did so, and I hope you will as well.

Obama Wins Magnolia State; Racial Divide Deepens

Obama wins Mississippi by 14 24 points, and the trend toward racial polarization accelerates, with Obama winning the black vote 90% to 10% and Clinton winning the white vote 73% to 26%. Gender was not as divided, with Obama winning the male vote 61% to 39% and the female vote 57% to 42%.

This is very, very troubling.

OH House-52: Slesnick (D) Sworn In Today

Congratulations to Stephen Slesnick (D-Canton), sworn in as the replacement for Mayor of Canton William J. Healy (D-Canton) in the 52nd Ohio House District.

The House Democratic Caucus decided late last year not to appoint a replacement until after the primary. At that time the caucus members were divided between city council member and 2006 Ohio Senate candidate Thomas West (D-Canton), Canton school board member John Rinaldi (D-Canton), and Stark County auditor's employee James O. Babcock (D-Canton). However, political newcomer Slesnick emerged victorious from the five-way primary with just 29.49% of the vote.

Slesnick, age 30, is vice president of his family's scrap metal business in Canton, Slesnick Iron & Metal. The company web sites says that he focuses on sales and customer relations. “I am honored and humbled that the voters showed their trust in my abilities to serve and represent them in Columbus,” Rep. Slesnick said today. “I know I have much to learn, but I plan to hit the ground running so I can be a strong voice for my constituents’ views and a strong advocate for the issues that matter most to them.”

Ohio Supreme Court Races Like "Groundhog Day"

Like the endlessly repeated bad day in the Bill Murray classic, the Ohio Supreme Court races are headed down the same path of campaign finance futility that has dogged the Ohio Democratic Party for years. Republican incumbents Maureen O'Connor and Evelyn Lundberg Stratton have raised about $206,000 and $196,000 respectively, mostly from attorneys and insurance companies, while Democratic opponents Joseph Russo and Peter Sikora have barely started raising money. In 2002, O'Connor and Stratton each raised over $2 million and the Democrats were absolutely swamped.

This cycle has just got to stop. The uniformly pro-business, anti-consumer rulings of the all-GOP high court are hurting Ohio's working families, but until the Democratic Party and interest groups aligned with the middle class and the disadvantaged figure out how to make these races a priority nothing will change.

New and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races UPDATED

More bulletins from the battlegrounds:

OH-13: Reception for Sutton With Steny Hoyer - Rep. Betty Sutton will be joined by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) for a cocktail reception on Thursday, March 20th, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. at the National Inventors Hall of Fame, 221 South Broadway in Akron. Details on her campaign site or the ODB events calendar.

OH-15: Stivers the Registered Lobbyist Rejects "Lobbyist" Label - State Sen. Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington) was a registered lobbyist for seven years before he became a state senator, but he's been protesting the description because his job title was "vice president of government relations" for Banc One Ohio Corp. He even lied about it outright, telling the Columbus Dispatch that he was not a registered lobbyist. When confronted with documentation of his registration as a lobbyist, he claimed that he was "not trying to dissemble" but insisted that he was "not a lobbyist per se," whatever that means, and complained that "everybody wants to talk about my past ... I want to talk about the future."

OH-16: Help Boccieri Reach "Cruising Altitude" - C-130 Pilot Lt. John Boccieri is asking supporters to get his campaign up to "cruising altitude" by raising $20,000 online in March. Also, Boccieri will hold a meeting this Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at the Stark County Democrats Headquarters in Canton to "regroup from the primary and lay out the strategy to victory in November." Topics include: house party planning; expanding constituency groups for Boccieri; and neighborhood organizing. "We have our ideas on how to get this going, but we want your input and how it can work in your neighborhood. Help us spread the word by sharing this info with your friends." Email john-at-johnforcongress-dot-com to RSVP.

UPDATE OH-17: Ryan Called "Wunderkind" of Facebook A story in The Hill today singles out Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) for big praise on his innovative use of Facebook to connect with constituents:

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) is Congress’s unofficial Facebook wunderkind, regularly logging into the site himself to read and edit his profile’s content, record and upload videos, and respond to other users’ comments and questions.

“It’s the new generation of connecting with your constituents,” Ryan says. “We’re trying to really use this as an opportunity to tie in the personal side of what we’re doing in Washington.”

OH-18: Dailey Admits He's In An Uphill Battle - Fred Dailey (R-Mt Vernon) acknowledged that he's the underdog in his bid to unseat former #1 GOP target Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) in an interview with Jon Baker of the New Philadelphia Times-Reporter. Due to Space's advantages as the incumbent and his lead in fund-raising, Dailey called it "a very difficult race" and that he has "a lot of respect for Zack Space as an opponent." Later he put a good face on it by saying that "it will be a David and Goliath race, but I’m preparing my slingshot." In a separate opinion piece, the editors concluded that "Space is in a pretty comfortable position at the moment."

Spitzer About to Resign

Lt. Gov. Paterson is on his way from Schenectady to Albany to be sworn in, according to The Albany Project, and Spitzer will resign as soon as shortly after Paterson gets there. (It is about a 25 minute trip, he reportedly left at noon, so apparently he is already there. Networks aren't covering it yet as of 1:20 p.m. EST, but could break away for it at any time.)

UPDATE: Still nothing happening at 2:30 p.m. Commenters at The Albany Project indicate that Lt. Gov Paterson has now denied that a transition is underway.

2nd UPDATE: Now it looks like Spitzer is still involved in heavy behind-the-scenes negotiations and nothing will happen today. Meanwhile, talk is appearing about the role of the Patriot Act in Spitzer's downfall. Specifically, did enemies of Spitzer suspect some kind of misconduct and use the Patriot Act's warrantless investigation procedures to obtain bank records to confirm their suspicions? Much to follow, no doubt.

OH-14: O'Neill (D) Undergoes Successful Bypass Surgery

Former appellate judge and congressional candidate Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell) underwent cardiac bypass surgery at Hillcrest Hospital this morning after routine tests yesterday found blockages in three of his arteries.

Doctors called the surgery successful and predicted a rapid recovery:

“We have every reason to believe that Bill should be able to make a full recovery and should be back on the campaign trail very soon,” said Mark Rood, M.D., O’Neill’s physician. Rood said that catching these blockages early is a blessing. “We expect Bill to come out of this just as strong and vibrant, perhaps even more strong and vibrant, as he was before he came to see me.”

O’Neill, 60, was upbeat before surgery.

“I am fortunate to be in the hands of some of the best heart doctors in the world,” he said of his colleagues at Hillcrest. “I can’t help but be reminded of how lucky I am to have access to the care I need at such a crucial time in my life, and how there are thousands of men and women in this country who aren’t as fortunate.”

Campaign manager Toby Fallsgraff expects O’Neill to be back on the trail full time by his birthday, May 6:

"He also wanted me to let everyone know that, though he might be on the sidelines for the next few weeks, the campaign is moving forward because, as he put it, the changes we need in Washington are even more urgent than this surgery.”

The St. Patrick's Day Brunch that I wrote about yesterday will still take place on Sunday, but now it is a "Get Well Bill!" event as well as a celebration of his primary victory:

St. Patrick's Day Brunch
Sunday, March 16, 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
James Catering, 29717 Euclid Ave., Wickliffe

$25 corned beef lunch (beer and pop included)

All Eyes On Mississippi

They're voting in Mississippi, where polls show Obama up by double digits over Clinton. For good local coverage, go to the Cotton Mouth Blog. There's an "I Voted" thread for Mississipians here - so far nobody is reporting any voting problems.

Two open congressional seats and a U.S. Senate contest are also on the ballot. The Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports that turnout of 125,000 to 150,000 is expected, up from 100,000 in the 2004 presidential primary, and although Mississippi does not require a declaration of party affiliation there probably won't be a lot of cross-over voting due to the congressional primaries being on the ballot.

Taegen Goddard points out this item at First Read, noting that Mississippi is one of three southern states that an Obama nomination arguably could put into play in the general election, the others being Georgia and Alabama. A big showing by Obama today (more than 15%?) would bolster that argument.

UPDATE: Here is a detailed, district-by-district delegate analysis of Mississippi, ending with a prediction of a 20 to 13 delegate split in favor of Obama, but perhaps as big as 23 to 10.

Legislation to Ban LGBT Discrimination in Ohio Introduced

Today at 10:30 a.m. in the Ohio Statehouse, term-limited State Rep. Jon Peterson (R-Delaware), State Rep. Dan Stewart (D-Columbus), and State Sen. Dale Miller (D-Columbus) will announce the introduction of new legislation to fight discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The protection will extend to housing, employment, and public accommodations (such as restaurants). Lynne Bowman, Equality Ohio Executive Director, and Jimmie Beall, who lost school job when discovered she was a lesbian, will also attend.

Hallelujah. It's about time we drag Ohio into the 21st century.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, twenty states and the District of Columbia prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, including California, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and New York. Ohio competes with those states as a destination for businesses and for desirable employees. More than 460 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than 2,600 private companies, colleges and universities, nonprofits and unions in the United States have adopted anti-discrimination policies that cover sexual orientation, and a 2006 Gallup poll found that 85% of Americans oppose workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Recommended Post on Spitzergate

There's no defending Spitzer's conduct, but Jane Hamsher asks some excellent questions about how this case was developed, and who knew about it and when.

It's 4:00 P.M. In The White House, And A Lobbyist Is On The Phone ...

... who do you want answering that call?

Surge in Provisional Ballots Could Trigger Severe Criticism of Election Process

This could become a very big story in Ohio, depending on what is revealed in the coming days.

The Secretary of State has not yet released information on the number of provisional ballots cast in last Tuesday's primary election, despite the fact that county boards of elections were legally required to report that information by last Wednesday morning. Word is leaking out that the numbers will be very large indeed. Election law expert Dan Tokaji writes on the excellent Equal Vote Blog that provisional ballots in Franklin County may top 6%:

I have learned that a large number of provisional ballots were cast in Franklin County (Columbus area) on Tuesday. The total reported turnout was 299,688, but I'm told that there are approximately 20,000 additional provisional ballots that have yet to be verified or counted. If that's correct, it means that around 6.25% of Franklin County voters cast a provisional ballot. That's a lot.

That would continue an upward trend from the 2.8% provisionals cast in 2004 and a higher proportion in 2006.

Paid Sick Days Proposal Very Popular in New Poll

A ballot issue likely to wind up on the general election ballot would require employers with 25 or more workers to allow full-time employees to earn 7 paid sick days per year. A poll of 2,082 Republicans and 2,308 Democrats conducted February 21-29 was released by the Columbus Dispatch today, and it shows major support for the proposal.

Among Democrats a total of 76% favor the ballot issue (43% strongly), and among Republican 45% favor it (16% strongly). That compares to 15% and 44% opposed, respectively, and about 10% undecided in each group. Independents were not polled.

Gov. Strickland's proposal to issue bonds to pay for a jobs and economic stimulus package, which could also be on the ballot, fared less well, with 54% of Democrats and 25% of Republicans in favor.

The paid sick days issue could be a big deal as far as driving Democratic voters to the polls, much like the minimum wage issue passed in 2006.

Video - "American Cities '08" Asks Questions of Presidential Candidates

The National League of Cities today launched "American Cities '08, the Road to the White House Runs Through America's Hometowns," a focused effort to raise the voice and concerns of cities in the ongoing presidential campaign. The campaign includes a web site and other resources like video, buttons, and traditional printed publications. The whole idea is to ask tough questions of the presidential candidates and identify seven core policy areas where cities will seek a two-way partnership with the federal government instead of the usual trickle-down attitude.

Here is an initial video that makes the case for a focused urban policy at the federal level and asks some very tough questions of candidates and voters:


Seven out of 10 Americans live in cities and towns in this country. Energy independence, global warming, internet access, infrastructure, affordable housing, poverty, economic opportunity, comprehensive immigration reform, public safety -- these are all areas that are critical to our cities and require support from the federal government.

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

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

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

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

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

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

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races UPDATED

Bulletins from the battlegrounds:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OH-03: Interview With Jane Mitakides

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

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

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

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

YDS: Uh huh.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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