This week's Roundup from the 50 State Blog Network:
After an unexpected absence last week, I'm back and so is the 50 State Blog Roundup.
How's the tension at your favorite national blog community? Take a break from all the nastiness and drop by your favorite state blog for a change. Look in on our statewide and local races.....just stay away from the presidential primary threads. They bring a whole new meaning to March madness!
Here are a few posts from last week and the roundup for March 14, 2008:
Barack Obama's ad endorsing Bill Foster for Denny Hastert's abandoned seat in the 14th District caps an exciting week of new endorsements and good news in the polls
mal contends argues that as a superdelegate, U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin should reject Hillary's burn-down-the-house strategy and throw her support to Obama
7th District special election news includes coverage of the latest debate
Senator Tom Harkin introduces The Complete Streets Act of 2008 to promote street design that benefits all users, not just motorists
Here's a fun map toy for a Friday afternoon. The DCCC is using Google Map technology to host an interactive map of targeted House races. The link above is to the Great Lakes region.
You click on the little map pointers to get into on the races. Just one problem -- the Ohio map doesn't say who the Democrats are when you click on the Republican-held targeted races (OH-01, OH-02, and OH-14). Hey, c'mon, our primary is over. Get the names and data in there!
This story at Bloomberg.com today indicates that although Clinton is slightly ahead of Obama in support from superdelegates, Obama has the momentum because more have broken for him recently than for Clinton.
At the end of the story, we find out that unannounced Ohio superdelegate (and Ohio House Democratic Leader) Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) is under heavy pressure from her mother to support Obama:
Joyce Beatty, the minority leader of the Ohio state legislature, has heard from Clinton; her husband, former President Bill Clinton; their daughter Chelsea; Obama; and his wife, Michelle.
Beatty, the first black female minority leader in Ohio's history, is torn by competing allegiances. While her district in Columbus voted for Obama, Clinton won overwhelmingly statewide.
The toughest pressure she's feeling isn't coming from the campaigns. With a mother who supports Obama and a father who supports Clinton, she will eventually have to choose between her parents.
"I think my mother puts a lot more pressure on me than anyone," she said. "I have to look at her every day."
The subscription-only publication Roll Call has a story today about the race, called "Wulsin Waiting for Full Party Support," apparently about OH-02 not being added to the DCCC "Red-to-Blue" list the other day when OH-01 was included with 13 other challenger races. (The DCCC is expected to add more races to the list at a later date.) I haven't seen the full article, but Politics Extra reprints part of it in which former candidate Paul Hackett (D-Indian Hill) has some stinging words for current candidate Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill):
... Hackett said the consensus after last cycle — when Democrats won huge across the Buckeye State — was that if Wulsin “wasn’t able to do it in 2006, she can’t win it.”
Wulsin “has her own set of issues and problems and challenges just simply as a candidate,” he said. “In my humble opinion, she has not made the improvements that someone typically would have made if they are running their third campaign.” ...
“My concerns, on the one hand, is that Jean Schmidt has gotten much better,” Hackett said. “She’s not a dumb person. She’s a very hard-working person ... She’ll work anybody into the ground. She’s gotten, by my own personal observation, much better at the public aspects, if you will, of running for office.”
The office of Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) has sent around an email listing the amendments to the fiscal 2009 Budget Resolution just passed by the U.S. Senate. Just take a moment to admire this list. Every single amendment is a solid measure to help the underserved, the middle class, and/or veterans. No pork, no nonsense. This is why we elected this guy -- he promised to fight for Ohio's middle class and he's doing it:
* An amendment to enhance manufacturing training.
* An amendment to provide $40 million for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), which is the most immediate federal solution to the national food bank crisis.
* An amendment to create a reserve fund to allow for legislation that enhances the protection and safety of the nation’s food supply.
* An amendment to provide an additional $5 million to the military departments’ respective Boards for Correction of Military Records to expedite review of cases such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).
* The Budget includes $6.0 billion in funding for the Department of Energy’s program for cleanup activities at the Mound and Piketon sites. Brown worked with a bipartisan group of Senators to increase the funding by $500 million more than the president’s proposed budget.
* An amendment to increase funding for the Community Oriented Police Services (COPS) grant program to $1.15 billion.
* An amendment to increase funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) by $2.6 billion.
* An amendment to provide tax relief to middle-class families and small businesses and to America’s troops and veterans.
* An amendment to increase funding for the Department of Agriculture by $1 million to provide public access to information about the sources of foods distributed through the school lunch program and other nutrition programs.
I spoke this morning to Toby Fallsgraff, campaign manager for Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell), who had heart bypass surgery on Tuesday.
"Bill is doing very well," Fallsgraff said. "I talked to him yesterday afternoon and he sounded very upbeat. He is off medication and will be out of the hospital Sunday morning."
Fallsgraff said he wouldn't be surprised if O'Neill puts up a fuss about wanting to attend Sunday's St. Patrick's Day "Primary Victory Celebration and Get Well Bill!" Brunch in person (details are here), but in all likelihood good medical judgment will prevail and O'Neill will be at home resting.
In any event, O'Neill is expected to be back on the campaign trail before his birthday (May 6th), and Fallsgraff is confident that we'll be seeing O'Neill in at least one parade on Memorial Day.
David Robinson (D), taking on entrenched incumbent Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Westerville), says that his campaign hasn't slowed down a bit since winning the primary last week.
"We're focusing on smart, efficient, assertive strategy for this campaign," Robinson wrote in an update to ODB. He has been discussing support needs with recently returned Iraq veterans, continuing outreach to the African American community, offering his expertise on climate change, and exploring the effect of progressive prison impact programs.
Also, Robinson will join other speakers at the Central Ohio Peace Network's (COPN) commemoration of the 5th Anniversary of the Iraq war on Wednesday, March 19 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium.
OK, now, Bill,
At this point, you now have the WORST patient on your hands that you have ever encountered; namely, your own darn self. Believe me buddy, "been dere." (Except I wound up with SIX stents in the ole ticker.)Those kids in Peds? Models of dignity and decorum compared to what you're gonna feel like for a while.
So in my effort to try and cheer you up, I got the greatest voices in Irish music to perform "TTWNMNBM" just for you (The Tune Whose Name Must Not Be Mentioned, of course.)
(h/t to the guys at Car Talk) And even though every time I say it Jeff (and Paul)(and Cindy)(and well, everybody) tries to slit their wrists with dull wooden spoons:
things will get better . And now, "The Leprechaun Brothers!"
A note to readers - my posting will be reduced over the next few days as I prep for and attend the "Take Back America" conference in Washington, DC. I will be participating in a panel called Online Communications: Using the Internet to Recruit and Communicate with Voters, Donors and the Press with Congressional candidate Darcy Burner (D-WA), Progressive Majority's Online Director Jeff Lucas, and Progress Now's Jen Caltrider, Executive Producer of ProgressTV & ProgressRadio. And, of course, attending a lot of great sessions with candidates and bloggers from all over the country.
I expect that some of the folks with front page privileges will step into the breach while I'm otherwise occupied!
The incredible Irish band Dervish tears into the Victoria Theater in Dayton tonight. This will be, hands down, the best REAL Irish music event happening anywhere in Ohio this weekend. Highly recommended. The Vic is a cool venue and the good people from CityFolk run a great concert series. Grab a ticket and go.
These cats are a force of nature. Cathy Jordan is a powder keg of a singer. As of this moment, tickets are still available. It's a little shocking that they have any seats left. Show time is 8:00 PM. Adult beverages will be available in the lobby and the band will be around for a proper "meet and great" after the show and between sets.
Seriously, if it's about the music, this is the place to be this weekend. This is a REAL Irish band that can just properly tear it up. Here's a video clip...
As with all great Irish musicians, it is inherently, very subversive music.
Their CD "Midsummer Night" is one of my favorites of all time.
Tasty newsbits from those contests for the U.S. House of Representatives:
OH-1 - On Sunday Chris Cillizza and Shaillagh Murray of the Washington Post included OH-01 among five Republican-held Congressional districts that have large African-American populations and are expected to be hard fought this November, noting the possibility that an Obama presidential bid could have especially long coat-tails for that reason. According to the 2000 census, the district is 28.7% African-American.
OH-02 - On Tuesday Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) voted against legislation to an Office of Congressional Ethics that would introduce and review ethical complaints brought against Members and determine which cases move forward to the Ethics Committee. Schmidt was reprimanded by the Ohio Elections Commission in 2006 for making false statements about her education and endorsements, and last fall she was accused of earmarking funds that benefited a contributor to her campaign. “Jean would rather play politics than focus on ending corruption in Washington,” said opponent Dr. Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill). “Our government needs to recapture the trust and confidence of the American people. We need to put their interests first and not let politics stand in the way of accomplishing what is right."
OH-03 - There is a good interview with Jane Mitakides (D) in Monday's edition of the Greek News, a Greek-American weekly newpaper. She addresses topics including NAFTA (says she is "no isolationist" but pledges to "only vote to ratify trade deals that include enforceable environmental and labor standards"), health care (favors universal coverage), Iraq ("We must refocus our efforts from a military offensive to a diplomatic one, working to bring stability to the region while bringing our American heroes home"), and veterans ("I will work to update the GI Bill of Rights so that it meets the needs of the 21st century to offer expanded education, training, housing benefits").
He said it will be important to try to find a balance in the future on trade agreements to preserve the markets of agricultural exports, while halting and reversing the drain of industrial jobs from the state. When asked what can be done to educate the public more about farming, Wilson suggested directing additional funding to programs such as 4-H; this will educate the young people of today, who will be tomorrow’s voters.
OH-10 - The U.S. House expects to go into secret session for the first time since 1983 today, purportedly so that GOP members can explain what exactly it is that the telecoms need immunity for. However, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) and three other Democrats (Miller-CA, Stark-CA, and McDermott-WA) won't be included because they refused to sign an oath of confidentiality.
OH-11 - Yesterday Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Cleveland) applauded the passage of the Second Chance Act (H.R. 1593), bipartisan legislation of which she is an original co-sponsor. It funds projects to projects to help ex-offenders with housing, education, health, employment, and mentoring services with the goal of reintegrating them into society and reducing recidivism. "The passage of this legislation has been a long time coming. I have been waiting nearly 30 years for Congress to enact meaningful reentry legislation, as I have been deeply involved in prisoner reentry issues since my days as a judge and county prosecutor in Cleveland, Ohio before serving in Congress," she said. "The facts are clear -- meaningful reentry programs significantly diminish the chances that ex-offenders will return to prison. That saves taxpayer dollars and increases public safety."
OH-13 - Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp) was pleased to have been graded "A+" on helping the middle class by the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy (DMI):
“I am thrilled to receive an “A+” grade on issues important to the middle class,” Sutton said. “I proudly represent hardworking families in Ohio, and I will continue to work on their behalf to increase economic opportunity, ensure our children are able to access and afford health care and a quality education, reform our trade policies and invest in our infrastructure.”
OH-16 - State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) is a co-sponsor of the Ohio Senate bill against LGBT discrimination in employment, housing, and public accomodations, sponsored by State Sen. Dale Miller (D-Cleveland).
OH-18 - Mark Jordan reports in the Mount Vernon News that Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) was speaking at the Ohio Farm Bureau in Washington yesterday when House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) walked in and announced that Congress had just voted to extend the old farm bill for 30 days to attempt one last effort to negotiate a resolution to the funding and policy impasse over the 2007 Farm Bill. Space was caught off guard like everyone else in the room, but quickly decided it was good news. Space said that Peterson was forcing a showdown, to provoke stallers into supporting the 2007 Farm Bill instead of a stripped-down bill or a complete abandonment of farm bill programs. “He basically threw a grenade onto the Senate floor,” Space said. “He’s got to resort to some kind of political pressure to stimulate some movement. I think he’s doing the right thing.” *** Space had a press conference call today to call on House leadership to advance stalled legislation that strengthens border security, increases interior enforcement, and cracks down on employers who hire illegal immigrants.
The progressive think tank Drum Major Institute for Public Policy (DMI) issues scorecards on legislation and legislators regarding their impact on current and aspiring member's of America's middle class.
The 2007 legislator rankings are out and Ohio's Democratic delegation to Congress deserves a big round of applause. Sen. Brown and Reps. Kaptur, Ryan, Space, Sutton, Wilson, all received a perfect score of "A+." Rep. Kucinich got an "A" and Rep. Tubbs Jones a "B."
On the GOP side -- not so good. Rep. Latta wasn't graded. Rep. LaTourette led the others with a "B" and retiring Rep. Regula got a "C," but Reps. Pryce and Turner got the dreaded "D" and Sen. Voinovich and Reps. Boehner, Chabot, Hobson, Jordan, Schmidt and Tiberi failed miserably with an "F."
We expect better. Grounded until further notice with no TV, and confiscate their cell phones, that's what I say.
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.
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."
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.
Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher will headline a private reception for congressional candidate Steve Driehaus tomorrow night in Cincinnati.
Details after the flip.
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.
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.
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:
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 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.
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.”
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.
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."
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.