43% of White Ohio Evangelicals Voted Democratic

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

57% Republican ballot
43% Democratic ballot

Republican votes:

42% Huckabee
41% McCain

Democratic votes:

57% Clinton
35% Obama

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

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

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

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

Strickland Blasts Kennedy Over 1980 Race

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is Sutton's statement:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Youth Vote Big for Ohio Primary

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

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

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

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

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

Do-Overs Looking More Likely in Michigan and Florida UPDATED

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

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

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

Meanwhile, in Economic News ...

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

Consumer confidence at lowest since 2002

Employers slash jobs by most in 5 years

Stocks expected to continue falling today AM

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

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

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

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

4 More Years!

McBush is Scary.

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

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

SUSA Electoral Poll Maps

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

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

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


Newly Converted Democrats

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

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

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

OH-10: Narrow Margin for Kucinich

Molly Kavanaugh points out in The Plain Dealer today that if Joe Cimperman (D-Cleveland) had won all the votes that were cast for the four challengers to Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland), the primary have been a photo finish. Here are the numbers:

68,156 Kucinich

67,433 Challengers Combined:

47,891 Cimperman
..8,780 Ferris
..6,780 O'Grady
..3,982 Palmer

It's a difference of only 723 votes.

Today Cimperman has sent out an email declaring that when provisional votes are counted Kucinich will be under 50% for the first time ever. "But for the presence of three minor candidates on the ballot, Northeast Ohio would have a new Congressman today," he writes.

It's a suspect claim, since not everybody who voted for the others would have voted for Cimperman. O'Grady no doubt drew voters away from Kucinich in his home base of North Olmsted, and it's not hard to imagine that voters familiar with Palmer's Iraq War activism were drawn to her in particular. For that matter, some voters undoubtedly preferred to vote for Palmer or Ferris because the 10th District has not been represented by a woman since Mary Rose Oakar's brief tenure in 1992.

Still, it's true that Kucinich showed weakness that he hasn't exhibited since he narrowly won the seat over Martin Hoke (R) in 1996. He spent $700,000 and won 50.25% of the vote (so far). Does he have reason to be concerned in the general election?

Perrysburg Democrats election night party

I think we have two great Democratic candidates and that this primary process is a great opportunity to build our party nationally.

Here are photographs from our Democratic Primary night party in the Republican stronghold of Perrysburg.


Clinton Raised $3 Million in 24 Hours

The Clinton campaign just announced that it succeeded in its goal of raising $3 million dollars over the last 24 hours, and now asks donors to double that by giving her another $3 million over the next 24 hours.

Winning Ohio and Texas didn't do much for Clinton in the way of delegates, but it sure seems to have juiced her fund-raising.

Racism and Clinton's Victory in Ohio

I have four points to make about racism and the result in Ohio's Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday.

First, racism undeniably played an important role. CNN exit polling indicated that 20% of voters said the race of the candidate was an important factor (undoubtedly a lower than truthful response), and 59% of those supported Clinton. As has been pointed out, that is a total of 249,299 votes, greater than Clinton's margin of victory. Clinton's greatest percentages were in the 6th and 18th congressional districts, in the rural and largely white Appalachian southeast. Her largest percentages by county were all in rural southern Ohio (e.g., 81% in Scioto and Jackson). This is the area where Gov. Ted Strickland's support had the most impact, but it is also the area where the confederate battle flag may be seen displayed in some windows and yards. Strickland admitted the role of race when deploring it to reporter Mark Naymik of The Plain Dealer ("There's no sense pretending that some prejudice and intolerance isn't there"). Clinton's biggest vote margin by number of votes was in Mahoning County (+23,095), which is 81% white and predominantly blue collar (median income $35,248, high school only 82%). I'm sure that the endorsement by local hero Kelly Pavlik was important there, but that doesn't account for the big margin by itself.

Ohio's Superdelegates Hold Endorsements Hostage

Reps. Marcy Kaptur, Dennis J. Kucinich, Tim Ryan, Zack Space, Betty S. Sutton and Charlie Wilson, and Sen. Sherrod Brown have formed a "Protect American Jobs" pact. They have decided to hold back their endorsement of a presidential candidate until the candidate has satisfied a laundry list of requirements the group has deemed important to Ohio economy.

“We had a general agreement,” Kucinich said of the pact. “We have economic issues that need to be addressed. Ohio has economic issues more urgent than any other state.”

Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur,... said “We have a laundry list of measures we think would be effective, some involving tax policy, some involving investment policy, intellectual property incentives to hold investments in this country,” Kaptur said. “I’m hoping superdelegates [who] are uncommitted that have the economy as their major concern will gravitate to our group and use that power to gain additional attention.”

This sounds great. Why not work together to help Ohio and Ohioans? But, it seems Rep. Ryan although part of the group, isn't that crazy about the idea. He sabotoges the group by insisting they will not withhold votes but will try to pressure the candidates to address the issues. He initially was going to make an endorsement but changed his mind and decided to join the coalition just Monday. I don't know, but it would seem to me, if you really wanted to get some concessions from the candidates, you would, at least - keep your poker face on a little longer than the announcement.

Utility shut off moratorium to end

A Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (aka "Puke-O") press release notes that the temporary moratorium on utility disconnections for non-payment will end on March 18.

Which is interesting given that we are STILL getting pounded by brutal winter weather. Nevertheless, on March 19, utility companies, especially the inferior Centerior electric companies will have people working overtime to shut off consumers' power supplies.

Consumers have to remember that the moratorium was on disconnections, not on your bill continuing to mount ever upwards.

Besides the resources mentioned in the PUCO presser, there are also local programs that can help. For example, here in Wood County the PRC program at the Department of Jobs and Families services can provide up to $750 in assistance for low to moderate income households IF there are children living in the household. Their contact info is here but they have not updated their own website about this program. In fact, they do such a lousy job of public information that there have been years when this program ended with funds left over.

One serious barrier to economic development in Ohio is our astronomical electric rates. Basically, whenever the GOP "reforms" or "deregulates" a vital public service, what they are really doing is giving these businesses a license to print money and screw over our citizens.(Think: healthcare, banking, energy, internet and cable access... notice a trend?)

PUCO is currently holding public hearings on rate increases that if adopted would be a multi-million dollar windfall to the Centerior electric companies. Basically, the GOP stranglehold on the General Assembly resulted in a "deregulation" plan based on supply competition that DOESN'T EXIST.

Yet the neocon noise machine continues to prattle on about how "market forces" are the savior of consumers.

Yeah, right...

To me, these are the kind of "kitchen table" issues that Democrats must tackle in order to fight off the reactionary scare tactics of "wedge" issues.

Debate tonight: Whether Pepper Pike one political yard sign law is unconstitutional

Pepper Pike Municipal Code 1486.02 restricts residents to posting only one political yard sign (pertinent part bold and italicized):

As used in this chapter:

(a) "Commercial sign" means any sign which proposes a commercial transaction or a product or service.
(b) "Sign" means any identification, description, illustration or device which is affixed to or integrated into a building, structure or land, or otherwise situated on a lot, and which is intended to direct or attract attention to or announce or promote a product, place, activity, person, idea, institution or business by means of letters, words, designs, colors, symbols, banners, fixtures, images or illustrations. "Sign" shall not include religious and other holiday lights and decorations containing no commercial message.
(c) "Sign structure" means the sign face and all members necessary to support the sign face or, in the case of a two-sided sign, both sign faces.
(Ord. 1994-41. Passed 9-28-94.)


(a) In a residential zoning district, only the following signs are permitted:

(1) One nameplate, of two-square feet in area per dwelling unit, indicating only the name and address of the person(s) occupying the lot.

(2) One sign, not more than one-square foot in area containing a brief statement directly relating to the physical safety and security of the premises, its occupants or visitors thereon (e.g. “beware of dog,” “protected by electronic security system” and “block watch”). Such a sign may identify a particular security system by name and/or logo for the purpose of deterrence of potential intruders and to inform safety forces and emergency medical personnel of a contact for important information relating to the premises or its occupant(s).

Four Retiring GOP State Representatives Win County Office Nominations

There may be no more commuting to Columbus for term-limited state representatives John Hagan (R-Alliance), Jon Peterson (R-Delaware), and Jim Carmichael (R-Wooster), nor for Rep. John Widowfield (R-Cuyahoga Falls) who isn't term limited but decided not to take his chances on seeking re-election after losing his off-year bid for Clerk of Municipal Courts.

All of them won primary races for county office yesterday. Hagan is a GOP nominee for county commissioner in Stark County, Peterson will run unopposed for county treasurer in Delaware County, Carmichael is unopposed in his bid for county commissioner in Wayne County, and Widowfield unseated Summit County Council member Louise Heydorn (R). Widowfield faces Paul Colavecchio (D-Cuyahoga Falls), who gave him a stiff challenge for the statehouse in 2004, in the general election.

OH-04: Carroll (D) Rides High on Democratic Tide

ODP Chair Chris Redfern has sent out an email message hailing the amazing Democratic turnout in yesterday's primary:

The 2008 Ohio Democratic Party primary shattered turnout records and left Republicans with a dramatic party registration deficit. Democratic ballot requests outnumbered Republican ballot requests in 71 of Ohio's 88 counties, including 65 counties that George Bush carried in 2004. Based on current returns, registered Ohio Democrats now outnumber registered Ohio Republicans by a ratio of more than 2:1.

Redfern goes on to write about the lackluster performance of GOP congressional candidates in OH-02, OH-16, and OH-18.

Here's another manifestation. Unheralded challenger Mike Carroll (D-Mansfield) attracted 58,122 votes in his uncontested primary yesterday, compared to 65,802 for incumbent Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Urbana). Carroll's vote total is 88% of Jordan's total, only 7,680 votes behind.

This may be a record for the historically Republican 4th Ohio Congressional District. Carroll points out that Rick Siferd (D) got only 26,591 votes in his 2006 primary, compared to 75,174 for six Republicans including Jordan. Ben Konop got only 37,742 in 2004, compared to 65,979 for Rep. Mike Oxley (R) -- and Konop wound up making a real race out of it.

The change this year is not about Republican voters staying home, it's about more voters voting Democratic. This year's total turnout in the 4th Congressional District was more than 20,000 higher than in the 2004 or 2006 primaries.

OH House-90: Secretary of State Reports Incorrect Result in GOP Primary

Duane Grassbaugh (D-Howard), unopposed in the Democratic primary, contacted me to report that the Knox County vote total for GOP candidate Tom Whiston (R) is shown incorrectly at the Secretary of State web site, resulting in an apparent narrow victory by Tom Whiston over Margaret Ann Ruhl (R) at 7,124 to 7,084 votes.

However, Ruhl won 5,125 votes in Knox County, not 3,904 as shown on the SOS site, and she prevailed over Whiston - as correctly reported today in the Mansfield News-Journal and the Mount Vernon News.

UPDATE: The Hannah News Service is reporting that this GOP primary is heading for a recount, based on the incorrect totals at the Secretary of State web site.

2nd UPDATE: I just checked and the SOS vote totals have been corrected. (It's about noon on March 6th.)

Five Vote Margin in Columbiana County GOP Primary

I'm editing my list of county office races and I come across this result:

3,107 35.44% Ray Stone (R)
3,102 35.39% Jerry Herbert (R)
2,557 29.17% Daniel "Skip" McLean III (R)

Five votes. That's 0.05%.

This is the race where three Republican challengers jumped in after the incumbent David Smith (R) was arrested for drunk driving on his way home from a sheriff's association dinner in Columbus. Smith had filed to run but later withdrew, and now apparently plans to enter a plea in the case.

It's going to take about 20 days to figure out how many of the 516 provisional ballots are valid, which obviously may change the result.

OH House-53: GOP Primary Headed to Recount

I'm trimming my candidates list, and I see this result on the Republican side of the 53rd Ohio House District:

40.94% 4,847 Tim Derickson (R)
40.63% 4,810 Paul Nenni (R)
18.42% 2,181 Terri King (R)

Those top two are only 37 votes apart! That's within 0.5%, so that race is headed for an automatic recount.

Democratic Voting More Than Double Republican Voting in Ohio

These are my favorite numbers from yesterday. With 99.99% of the precincts reporting, the Secretary of State reports these vote totals in the presidential primary:

2,226,976 (69%) Democratic
1,018,446 (31%) Republican

I realize that a certain number of GOP voters crossed over for tactical reasons, but not enough to make a big inroad on that margin. This comparison reflects a state turning blue.

UPDATE: By the way, turnout in Cuyahoga County was only 41.73%, about 5% less than the BOE expected. Weather? But what's up with Franklin County - only 38.29%!

Which Pollster Got It Right?

No big surprise, given results earlier in this cycle. Survey USA had it at 54% for Clinton, 44% for Obama, and that is exactly what happened.

Some others were very close. The Ohio Poll and PPP Poll had the race at 9 points.

Others were way off. Zogby had the race tied, and the Dispatch mail-in poll gave Clinton a 16 point advantage.

As for my prediction, I thought it would be a closer race, maybe 5 or 6 points.

Redfern Calls For New Florida and Michigan Contests

Speaking on Cleveland public radio station WCPN just now, Ohio Democratic Party Chair Chris Redfern called for new nominating contests in Michigan and Florida in early June. He thinks support for doing that will increase as a result of last night's outcomes.

He pointed out that Bill Clinton didn't win the nomination until June before his first run in 1992.

I'm not thrilled with the idea, but it is a lot better than seating the delegates chosen in the outlawed contests that already took place.

UPDATE: He also said that a number of Republican elected officials (mayors, apparently) switched their party affiliation to vote a Democratic ballot yesterday. The names will be revealed in the next few days.

Redfern just said that he will think for a few days about whether to endorse in the presidential race or stay neutral. The primary vote will be a major factor, but not the only factor, in his decision.

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