A major victory in Denny Hastert's old seat!
Huge turnout and dominance by Obama in caucuses continue to be the story line as Wyoming awards 12 delegates today:
Obama led Clinton 56% to 42% percent with 8 of 23 counties reporting.
... Obama has outperformed Clinton in caucuses — winning 12 to her three ...
... During the first caucuses of the day, it appeared the state's Democrats were showing up in record numbers. In 2004, a mere 675 people statewide took part in the caucuses.
In Sweetwater County, more than 500 people crowded into a high school auditorium and another 500 were lined up to get inside.
"I'm worried about where we're going to put them all. But I guess everybody's got the same problem," said Joyce Corcoran, a local party official. "So far we're OK. But man, they keep coming." ...
In Cheyenne, scores of late arrivers were turned away when party officials stopped allowing people to get in line at 11 a.m. EST. ...
In Casper, home of the state party's headquarters, hundreds were lined up at the site of the Natrona County caucus. The location was a hotel meeting room with a capacity of 500. ...
"We'll have to put 'em in the grass after a while," said Bob Warburton, a local party official.
There is a results thread on MyDD.com, the most recent entry on which indicates that a 7-5 delegate split looks likely.
In the other voting going on today, a special election in the IL-14 district of retired GOP leader Dennis Hastert (R-IL), a poll released by reliable pollster Survey USA a few days ago showed the Democrat ahead in a close race (4.4 margin of error):
52% Foster (D)
45% Oberweis (R)
It's all about whose supporters turn out in the snow today.
Dem candidate Bob Belovich's website for run at Ohio House 17th live; JoshMandel.com "under construction"Submitted by Jill on Sat, 03/08/2008 - 12:13pm.
Belovich's website has gone live and you can view it here at Bobbelovich.com. It looks very nice right now and I hope he works (or has other working) to keep it current - that's one of the top things locals need to do on their sites. That, and raise money with them, I would think.
His first news item is this:
Bob outpaced the Republican incumbent in the March 4 primary. According to the unofficial tally of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, 15305 voters cast their ballots for Bob Belovich, while the Republican incumbent received 8695 votes cast.
Mandel's campaign website indicates that it is "under construction."
As I've written before, Mandel's staff who have been taking care of business since August 2007, when he volunteered to return to Iraq, have been very good in following up with me whenever I've had questions. This is particularly true when it comes to the Wireless 911 issue.
However, as good as this communication has been, Mandel has voted very infrequently with the way I would like my house district representative to vote, and for that reason, I look forward to learning more about the Democratic candidate, Belovich.
If you live in the 17th, I hope you will check out the candidates and comment on this race. I would love to see a debate between the candidates, for example.
Politico reports that Bush's brain Karl Rove and Bush's hatchet man Ken Mehlman have hooked up with the McCain camp as unpaid advisors, joining other Bushies like attack dog Steve Schmidt and media strategist Mark MacKinnon. Bush advisors Dan Bartlett and Sara Taylor are anxious to join as well.
And what kind of campaign are they creating? It looks like they're going to run a national security-slash-terrorism campaign as they try to sell America on a third term for Bush policies. Here is the 2 minute introductory ad the campaign has created, all of it focused on military heroism and saber-rattling:
A 2004-style campaign based on fear of terrorism will fail. Period.
This is too rich. The Clinton "red phone" ad used 8-year-old stock footage (perfectly legally) and the sleeping girl in the bed is a voting-age active Obama supporter, who'd like to get together with Obama and do a counter-ad:
(h/t Renee in Ohio at BSB)
Calling Hillary a Monster ‘Offensive,’ Monsters Say
Prominent Miscreants Outraged Over Remark
An Obama campaign aide’s remarks in which she called Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) a “monster” have ignited a firestorm of controversy among monsters across the U.S., prominent monsters confirmed today.
Calling Hillary Clinton a monster is “odious and offensive to monsters everywhere,” said Tracy Klujian, the executive director of the Monster Anti-Defamation League, a group that monitors unflattering portrayals of monsters and miscreants in the media.
“As monsters, we are subject to defamation and stereotyping on a daily basis,” Mr. Klujian said. “But being lumped together with Hillary Clinton is really a low blow.”
Mr. Klujian said that he was pleased that the Obama aide had resigned over the “monster” remark, but said that “more work will need to be done” if the Illinois senator is to mend fences with the monster community.
“We monsters count for as much as five percent of the vote in Pennsylvania,” Mr. Klujian said. “And that number is even higher in Pittsburgh.”
Perhaps in an effort to steer clear of the controversy, Sen. Clinton herself dodged the issue of whether or not Sen. Obama is a monster in an upcoming interview on “Sixty Minutes.”
“He’s not a monster as far as I know,” she told Steve Kroft in an interview to air this Sunday. “I mean, I take him on the basis of what he says, and, you know, if he says he’s not a monster, there isn’t any reason to doubt that.”
Elsewhere, Rep. Ron Paul said that he is dropping out of the G.O.P. race, but would continue to run for president of Earth II.
Humor from the Borowitz Report
Dr. Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) was on the FireDogLake blog for an online chat the day after her primary victory over Steve Black and had some interesting things to say about cross-over support, and specifically from former GOP candidate Bob McEwen (highlighted):
The sentiment here at WFC is very positive. Not only did we defeat Black, we earned almost 15,000 more votes than Schmidt did. And that is well over the 2,500-some votes she beat me by in ‘06!
I hope to carry the Democratic banner all the way to DC! ...
Speaking of turn-out - in our so-called Republican district - we had thousands more Dems than Repubs vote. (I’ll get Josh to send the #s.) I look forward to calculating the previous “Is” and “Rs” who chose those “D” ballots yesterday, and asking them to GOTV for me in November. ...
I hear over and over again the disappointment Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District constituents have in Schmidt. She voted repeatedly against SCHIP (children’s health care); college loans; VA benefits; mortgage reform - and these are issues that folks comment on all the time. The $$$ to Iraq needs to be spent here in southern Ohio - and the people feel it. ...
Earlier today I wrote about the Cook Political Report moving OH-18 into the "Likely Democratic" category, and noted that Space earned it through fund-raising, visibilty, and case work. Another important factor is his voting record, which has caused me and other progressives to cringe at times but caused the National Journal to rate Space almost exactly in the middle on the liberal-to-conservative scale. On economic issues Space was graded more liberal than 54% of other house members, but on social and foreign policy he placed right in the middle at 50%. Overall, there are 212 members ranked more liberal and 218 more conservative.
Space will use this rating to deflect the inevitable attack ads that try to equate him with Nancy Pelosi, as indicated in his press release today:
“My constituents do not need statistics to prove what they already know – I am their independent voice in Congress,” Space said. “I pride myself in working for the best interests of my district – not a political party – and I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish this Congress.”
“In the 18th Congressional District, people are not looking for a Democrat or a Republican, and they are not looking for an ideologue. They want a moderate, independent Ohioan who will fight for them every day. I am proud to do that, and I am proud of this ranking,” Space continued.
This ranking won't satisfy everyone in his district, which has a significant conservative lean, but being a called a centrist is still very helpful to him.
Did he ever have any cool? Oh, yeah maybe back during the Jazz Age :-)
Anyways, Mc "INeedA" Cain freaked out on a reporter today. Given his reputation for easily blowing his lid, I'd expect to see the the angry and impatient side of McCain come out more frequently as we near the general.
"Senator John McCain grew agitated Friday with a New York Times reporter who asked about his 2004 conversation with then-Democratic nominee John Kerry about McCain possibly running as Kerry’s vice presidential nominee."
Does anyone really think an aging hot head would make a good president?
Obama foreign policy advisor Samantha Power, a professor at Harvard and a Pulitzer Prize winner, has resigned after giving a newspaper interview in which she bad-mouthed Hillary Clinton:
"We f***d up in Ohio," Power told the Scotsman newspaper ...
"In Ohio, they are obsessed and Hillary is going to town on it, because she knows Ohio's the only place they can win," Power was quoted as saying.
"She is a monster, too -- that is off the record -- she is stooping to anything," Power said.
"You just look at her and think 'Ergh.'"
Power apologized, but the Clinton campaign pounced all over it, really piling it on:
"Personal attacks are not the way to convince voters that you are capable of being the president of the United States," said congresswoman Nita Lowey, who called the drama a "test" for Obama.
"We call on Senator Obama to make it clear that Samantha Power should not be part of this campaign."
Another Clinton backer, congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Shultz added: "going down in the gutter like that and engaging in grade school name calling is distasteful and inappropriate."
Within hours Power had resigned and Obama spokesman Bill Burton said the candidate "decries such characterizations which have no place in this campaign."
This comes one day after the Clinton campaign deflected Obama's call for disclosure of Clinton's tax returns and donors to the Clinton presidential library by comparing Obama to Whitewater special prosecutor Ken Starr. No one called for the spokesman, Howard Wolfson, to resign. Power should have satisfied herself with comparing Clinton to an actual person, Karl Rove perhaps, because that's acceptable and "monster" isn't.
When my misbehaving brothers and I were little our parents sometimes called us "little monsters." We called on them to resign but it didn't do any good.
UPDATE: In my initial draft of this post I went on to compare the Clinton campaign's response to classic GOP strategy under Karl Rove: seize on a word or phrase that sounds bad, feign over-the-top outrage, demand an apology, generate a bad news cycle for the opposition, all completely unrelated to the issues. I decided that was too over-the-top, but I see that Josh Marshall and his readers are all over it:
Can't believe that Samantha Power actually resigned. This is the type of phony "controversy" the GOP/Karl Rove uses to their advantage. Josh famously called it the "bitch slap" theory of politics, and Clinton is using the same playbook. Obama needed to send a signal that these types of fake outrages won't play, but by her quick resigntation, the bitch slap is alive and well.
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
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.
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:
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.
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.
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%.
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.
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:
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.
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...
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?
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).
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:
67,433 Challengers Combined:
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.