I reached State Sen. Sue Morano (D-Lorain) in her office in Columbus a few minutes ago. She is the only Democratic member of the Ohio Senate whose district includes part of the 5th Congressional District. I asked her to describe what the effect would be for her constituents if Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) is elected to Congress today.
"The effect of having Robin serve our working families in Congress would be tremendous," she said. "She is a hard-worker who cares for working class families and knows the needs of the district."
"Robin has a tremendous amount of energy and enthusiasm," she continued. "She has the ability to help us start turning the tide for 2008."
I reminded Sen. Morano that she had previously remarked about the significant number of women who have recently been elected to legislative posts across northern Ohio, including herself, Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Township), State Sen. Capri Cafaro (D-Hubbard) [correction - she was appointed, not elected], and State Rep. Jennifer Brady (D-Westlake). If Weirauch is elected it would continue that trend. I asked her to comment on the difference that it makes to elect women as legislators in Ohio.
"Women really have the ability to listen to the needs of working families," she replied. "Also, it sets a tremendous precedent for women to become more involved, at the state level and for the country."
This afternoon Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) spoke to an ebullient crowd of AFL/CIO members phonebanking at IBEW Local 8 in Rossford, Ohio. Weirauch was introduced as "the next Congressional representative from the 5th District" to foot-stomping and boisterous cheering. "The Republican Party has spent 16% of their available resources into this race," the introducer continued. "This shows that we have a good candidate. This was supposed to be a walkaway for any Republican, just like it was for the last 70 years. But we've got the candidate, we've got the momentum, and we're going to win."
Weirauch greeted the crowd enthusiastically and thanked them for the t-shirt. A union official reported that out of various headquarters the labor organization has made 32,000 live volunteer phone calls today, and out of those calls there were 7,271 enthusiastic Weirauch supporters.
Weirauch said that she remains thoroughly convinced that she will win today, due in large part to the efforts of labor. "The ALF/CIO program is so impressive," she said, "and you guys get so fired up." Weirauch said that union members know what this election is really about -- good jobs and trade agreements that really protect workers. She said that she has been talking to people who are skeptical that trade agreements can be fixed, but she tells them that since we passed them, we can fix them -- it is just a matter of having the will to do it, and the purpose of making them protect working families in our country as well as in other countries.
This afternoon at the IBEW Local 8 phone bank in Rossford, Ohio I sat down for a few minutes with Randy, a Region 2-B member of the UAW. He is a native of Defiance, Ohio in the 5th Congressional District and works at Defiance Precision Products.
When I asked what motivates him to volunteer for Robin Weirauch in this campaign he didn't have to think about it all. "Change," he said. "We have to make a change in the 5th District. We need a working-family representative who's going to take care of the middle class."
"I've lived in the 5th District all my life," he continued. "I feel like I've never been represented."
Randy told me that he has never seen this level of mobilization in any previous political campaign. "There's no comparison to Weirauch's past two campaign's," he said. "I got called last Monday and I've been working for Robin ever since. I've worked twelve hour days." In addition to phone banking, Randy said he has been leafleting at plants and sending out letters. "It's going to be wonderful when she wins," he added. "It's really going to send a message."
This afternoon I spoke briefly to State Rep. Matthew Barrett (D-Amherst), who was driving down to Columbus on state business after spending the morning in matters relating to his law practice. Barrett is the only Democratic state representative whose district overlaps part of the 5th Congressional District. The portion that is shared is in Huron and Seneca counties.
"It would be incredibly important," he said, "not just for the residents of Huron and Seneca counties but all over the 5th District. It would mean finally having a member of Congress who puts working families first. I have watched Robin Weirauch campaign in 2004 and 2006 as well as this year, and she works very, very hard. As a Congresswoman she would put in overtime to make sure that the needs of working families are satisfied."
"There is a trend in the last few elections," Barrett continued. "From 2004 to 2006 to now, people in conservative areas are no longer just voting for Republicans because their grandfather did. People are looking at "What do we need?" and "How do we make things better?" They are beginning to see that there is a viable option here, which is to vote Democratic. After the Democratic successes in 2006, look at what we got here at the state level -- a unanimous, bipartisan state budget."
Barrett also remarked on the effort put into this race by Gov. Ted Strickland (D) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon), who showed in 2006 that Democrats can win in the 5th Congressional District.
Writing on Real Clear Politics today, in a piece called "GOP Tries to Avoid Unpleasant Surprise in Ohio," prognosticator Stuart Rothenberg calls it a close race:
[W]hile political operatives from both parties scramble to downplay expectations, there is more than enough evidence to conclude that the race to fill the seat of the late Rep. Paul Gillmor (R) is going down to the wire.
Republican Bob Latta, who should, under normal circumstances, win the race rather easily, finds himself in an uncomfortably competitive race against Democrat Robin Weirauch, who already has lost two bids for Congress in the district.
A nasty Republican primary, during which the Club for Growth ran TV ads attacking Latta, combined with the political environment in the Buckeye State that one GOP political observer described as "very toxic," has some Republicans privately expressing the fear that their party could lose a seat that it should not be forced to worry about.
Rothenberg thinks that Latta is likely to prevail, but reports that the result is hard to predict because it is all about turnout:
A smart Democrat who is following the race closely told me recently that given the uncertainty about who will vote in the special election, it really doesn't matter whether Weirauch is ahead or behind by a few points in late polling. "It's all about turnout," the Democrat said.
And that's exactly why Republicans have pounded Weirauch as a liberal in the campaign's final days. The Democrat, who is backed by EMILY's List, is far better off if the election is about Latta, divisions in the GOP ranks, the war in Iraq or popular Gov. Ted Strickland (D), than if it is about her.
I just arrived in Bowling Green and checked in at the campaign headquarters for Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon). During the drive I called Mike Van Wagner, chairman of the Fulton County Democratic Party up in the northwestern corner of the 5th Congressional District. He said that he voted right when the polls opened and turnout was very light. The weather is cold and nasty.
I asked him about his sense about the mood of the voters in Fulton County and he said that rural voters are very turned off by the "hate thing." They are very disturbed about the trash talking and negativity in the television ads, not only those for State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) but also the ad by the DCCC. They understand that a candidate needs to respond when attacked, but they don't like it. He says it is particularly disheartening to folks who contributed money to Latta and don't like to see what he is using their contribution for.
There are a significant number of voters in Fulton County who have changed their party affiliation because of their disenchantment with the Republican party, and there is substantial support for Gov. Ted Strickland (D). He said that voters in his area respond to the "basic goodness" of Weirauch at her campaign events. Van Wagner does not yet have any specific information about turnout but he is hopeful.
Weirauch just walked into headquarters and looks great - relaxed, energized, confident.
An email from the candidate:
Thank you for your support for my election campaign. It has meant so much to me. Now the day we have all been waiting for, Election Day, is finally here! Here's what you need to know about voting today.
Polls are open from 6:30am - 7:30pm. Please be sure to be in line by 7:30pm, and don't forget to bring ID!
As our Senator Sherrod Brown said this weekend, if you can get 5 people to vote today, it will actually matter. Please, contact your neighbors, friends and family and make sure they vote today too.
Let's go vote!
P.S. If you want to volunteer for my campaign today, please stop by the office anytime at 116 S. Main, Bowling Green or call 419-352-1583. To sign up for phonebanking from home, email firstname.lastname@example.org. You're also invited to our election night party tonight at campaign headquarters, starting at 7pm. Hope to see you there!
The weather across OH-05 is mixed but not nearly as bad as forecasts had predicted. The far western end of the District appears to be having more freezing precipitation than here in the central part of the District. Only a very scattered handful of schools are operating on a two hour delay. The temperature here is 33 degrees with moderate steady rain and fog.
WAIT -this just in!
Exit polling released by a Democratic Party supporter to ODB claims that Robin Weirauch has already picked up TWO VOTES from a "left wing extremist blogger" household in Wood County! The Latta ground campaign is swamped. Expect the GOP to try and spend another half a million on media and robocalls...(/snark)
Seriously GO ROBIN!
This item on The Politico reports that a poll taken by the campaign of State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) last week "showed him trailing [Robin] Weirauch by four points, according to a GOP operative."
The story also reports that the campaign manager for State Sen. Steve Buehrer (R-Delta) in the GOP primary, Jim Banks, concedes that "there’s an effect from a primary that’s been carried over" and "no one can deny it was a very nasty and physical election." He also says that Weirauch "appeals more to the union and working-class voters — the people who are struggling the most and that want the most change," and that the bread-and-butter issues on which Weirauch has focused "polled at the top of voter concerns during the primary."
In contrast to Weirauch's hard-hitting populist campaign, a GOP source reports that Latta's campaign "was unprepared to handle the race’s newfound attention" and the NRCC "had to dispose resources to respond effectively." The Politico's source called the Latta’s ground game “lackluster” and said "the NRCC has become the campaign by proxy."
Swung through Weirauch campaign headquarters in Bowling Green to pick up my GOTV assignment for tomorrow. Lots of happy volunteers working the phones. Staffers doggedly working away into the night.
I have it from reliable sources that take-out Chinese food was the "cuisine du jour" for tonight.
I forgot to bring my camera but Lauren has that covered.
At this moment the fog is really building across the region. The air temp is exactly 32 degrees. Tomorrow could go either way. We might have another ice storm, it might warm up a little bit and just be a (very) cold rain event with temps in the upper thirties.
Of course, Jeff will have live coverage tomorrow.
I wanted to close with this TRUE anecdote: I know a gal who is a genuine independent, who is very representative of OH-05 voters. She told me that she's voting for Robin Weirauch. Why?
"Because those ads that Latta is running are just STUPID."
Couldn't have said it better myself.
Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) will join with volunteer phone bankers tonight from 6:00 to 7:30 pm at IBEW Local 8, 807 Lime City Road in Rossford, Ohio.
This story in today's Lancaster Eagle Gazette, reporting on a campaign stop by Robin Weirauch and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) in Bellevue yesterday, contains a comment indicating that absentee voting in Sandusky County is encouraging:
Sandra Wise, a member of the Sandusky County Democratic party said, "Most people [at the rally] were those who lost a job, or had a loved one who lost a job."
About 35 people gathered at the Eagles Sunday, Wise said.
"Robin was the calmest that I've ever seen her," Wise said.
According to Wise, more than 1,100 absentee ballots have been received by the Sandusky County Board of Elections thus far for Tuesday's election.
"We feel pretty good about that," Wise said. "We're seeing a lot more young people involved."
"We need to send someone to Washington to stand up for the middle class," Wise said.
Today Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) knocked on voters' doors with two local high school seniors who are worried about the lack of jobs available to them in Northwest Ohio:
“I’ve traveled all across Northwest Ohio, from Polk to Pleasant to right here in Perrysburg. Everywhere I go, I hear the same story: ‘I used to make a good living here, had good health care and a good pension.’ But now, after years of watching career politicians put corporate interests over the interests of people like you and me, the story is very different,” said Robin Weirauch. “Too many here have seen their job move to China, their credit card payments pile up, and the cost of basic health care become too expensive for their family so they’ve been forced to move.
“Tomorrow we can reject the politics of the past by voting for change. Together, we can shake things up and ensure that jobs stay right here in Northwest Ohio. With your help, we will send a message loud and clear so no parent ever has to tell their son or daughter again they are forced to leave Northwest Ohio to look for work because politicians in Washington failed to do their job.”
Ohioans have seen 300,000 jobs sent overseas. Brandon Closson and Trent Smith both volunteered for Robin’s campaign because they are worried about the lack of jobs in the area. Closson lives with his grandparents in Kalida because his parents had to leave the community last year to find better paying jobs. Smith was born and grew up in Northwest Ohio and would like to continue to live in the area but he is concerned that he won’t be able to find a job that will allow him to stay here.
Polls are open in the 5th District tomorrow from 6:30 am to 7:30 pm. If you are in line by 7:30 pm, you will be allowed to vote. Click here to find out where your polling place is located.
We get a peek at volunteer operations at Robin Weirauch headquarters, courtesy of her campaign's Flickr page:
Locally produced beeswax chapstick for Weirauch canvassers.
It's campaign manager Michell Mayorga's birthday! Happy birthday, Michelle.
Ice storms don't stop the GOTV.
BGSU students Aisha and Ralph canvassing in the rain.
Newest volunteer canvasser, Yeardley. (Weirauch says "dogs make me happy" in her My Space profile.)
Saturday morning canvassers.
It's not too late to donate at ActBlue - money is being allocated to GOTV as contributions come in. And Robin is up to $93,358 from 1,220 ActBlue contributors, let's see if we can get her over $95,000!
Wood County BOE
Winter Weather Arrives in Wood County
Polls Will Be Open Regardless of Weather
The Wood County Board of Elections is reminding voters of the Special Congressional General Election that will take place tomorrow, December 11, 2007. Polling officials will be reporting at 5:30 am and the polls will be open to voters from 6:30 am until 7:30 pm.
The Election will be held regardless of weather conditions as State and Federal law do not provide for postponement. Voters will vote at their normal voting location. Voting will take place at these locations even in the event the location is closed for other business. The Board of Elections encourages voters to allow extra time for traveling to and from their voting locations.
Right now the weather here is incredibly icky but quiet. How bad things get will depend on the air temperature going up or down a few degrees. All of the schools in this area were either closed today or running on a two hour weather delay. Many of the polling places are in schools and the Board wants everyone to know that even if the school is closed, the polling place will be open.
Although the results SHOULD be counted VERY quickly, there could be delays in getting memory cards from the outlying precincts into the sixteen(!) BOE headquarters in OH-05 (Remember how rural this District is.) Also, the Wood County 'net servers may get swamped and bog down from the traffic from around the country (world!).
With our new SoS, you can find good info at http://www.sos.state.oh.us
The kids are home from school --again-- and I can't get rid of Bronchitis from Hell. My sinuses need three months in Santa Fe...
It seems like the pledge by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) not to sign up for government-subsidized health insurance for members of Congress until lawmakers had guaranteed all Americans access to health care, which he made during his first run for the House in 1992, never gets the attention it deserves -- but that may be changing. The Washington Post published a story about it on Friday:
Back then, as now, overhauling the health-care system was front and center on the national agenda, with the Democratic presidential campaign featuring big promises about making health coverage affordable and universal.
Years later, Brown, an advocate of a single-payer system that he likens to Medicare for all, is still waiting.
"Truth be told, I thought that we would pass some real universal health care in the next two years," Brown said. "I didn't think it was going to be a 15-year-long or two-decade-long commitment."
Brown paid for an individual policy until he married columnist Connie Schultz in 2004 (and they had to pay their premiums when she took time off for his Senate campaign). However, his deductible was so high ($5,000) that he wound up paying for most of his health care expenses out of his own pocket. When he had a car accident in 2000 he wound up paying a total of over $12,000 (deductible plus co-payments). In other words, this act of principle has cost him real money and inconvenience, but he does not regret it. It is an admirable stance for him to take, and I'm glad that people are noticing.
Today's field report at DailyKos from blogger/volunteer Laura Packard:
Today is the last day before Election Day. The crush of volunteers from the weekend is over, so the office is calmer. It’s the calm before the storm, the forecast for tomorrow is more bad weather. We’re still seeing volunteers streaming in to talk to voters. Everyone is talking about how this is going to be a close one, so nobody wants to leave that last door un-knocked, that last number un-called.
If you're in the district, go to the office on Main Street in Bowling Green and volunteer, and call your friends and neighbors to remind them to vote. If you're not in the district, you can email email@example.com to get started on virtual phonebanking.
Also, don't forget that there will be phone-banking at Geauga County Democratic headquarters tonight. E-mail Janet for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More from the subscription only Roll Call story excerpted earlier:
Van Wert County Republican Party Chairman Marty Burchfield conceded that absentee voting returns he had seen were closer than expected. He said the party affiliations corresponding to the ballots show “there’s a little more activity on the Democratic side than there has been in the past.”
“Normally we would have a little higher distribution of Republican versus Democrat than we have now,” Burchfield said.
Absentee voting activity is expected to increase this cycle in part because voters no longer have to list a reason for not being able to get to the polls on Election Day.
Burchfield and the other Republicans quoted in the story all insist that Latta will win, but "the recent influx of cash and media attention has led Washington operatives to say it is much closer than they originally thought." The story also confirms that the RNCC "has poured 16 percent of its available cash on hand into the special election for a seat that should have been safe." In a sense this means that the Democrats have already won. An area Republican quoted in Roll Call, however, insists that it is just smart politics:
Huron County Republican Party Chairman David Kniffin said that although he’s confident Latta will prevail Tuesday, he’s pleased about getting financial support from the NRCC. “I don’t think you take a chance on something that is this unusual, this time of year, in such a short time frame,” Kniffin said. “Why would you want to? It just wouldn’t be something that’s smart politics.”
Hmm. No, I'm thinking the amount of money being spent says something else.
By the way, Blade reporter Josh Boak commented to me last week that he thought absentee ballots were going to be crucial in this race, and I think he's right. The weather is looking iffy, it's the holiday season, classes are over at Bowling Green State University -- these are all reasons why in-person voting may be very low, so the absentee ballots take on larger significance.
Ohio Democratic Party Chair Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island) spells it out in this rousing video clip:
"Who do you think is gonna stand up to George Bush? A fella who couldn't stand up to Bob Taft, or Robin Weirauch? ... When Bob Taft asked Bob Latta to jump, Bob Latta said "How high?" And we know how high, the highest, the largest, the biggest tax increase in state history.
He'd have us think differently, but those of us who have served with Bob Latta in the legislature know differently."
Here's a great little video of union workers calling union households on Saturday for Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon), explaining why this race is so important to them:
Voter turnout is likely to be depressed by poor weather expected today and tomorrow in the 5th District. Earl, who lives in Wood County, reports that all the area schools are closed today due to an ice storm. The Toledo Blade is reporting that events all around the area were canceled or postponed because of freezing rain from a winter storm, and there was a big crash on I-795 caused by ice.
Here is the weather report from the Bowling Green News this morning:
Today: Areas of drizzle or freezing drizzle before noon. Cloudy, with a high near 32. North wind around 5 mph becoming calm.
Tonight: A chance of rain and sleet after midnight. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 31. Calm wind. Chance of precipitation is 40%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
Tuesday: Periods of rain. High near 41. Calm wind becoming west between 6 and 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
Tuesday Night: Rain and snow showers likely before 1am, then a chance of snow showers. Cloudy, with a low around 29. North wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts between a quarter and half of an inch possible.
It's been a wild ride. What's going on this morning:
Weirauch Greeting Workers - Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) is meeting morning shift workers at the Bowling Green manufacturing plant of Cooper Tire & Rubber Company. She is talking about "ending outsourcing and finally moving away from the Taft-Noe way of doing business."
WaPo Story - A short piece in the Washington Post yesterday by Chris Cillizza and Shailagh Murray is notable for confirming that "private polling suggests that Democrats could pull off a huge upset" and for reporting that both parties are playing down expectations, a sign that nobody is really sure what may happen tomorrow. The authors write that Weirauch "has tapped into a strong protectionist sentiment in this northwestern Ohio district," but if I had to distill her campaign down to a single theme I'd say it is change vs. more of the same. As Weirauch says over and over, "it's time to shake things up in Washington." I think that's the message that is resonating.
Blade: "Brown is Proof That Democrat Can Win" - Today's paper reports on yesterday's campaign appearances by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) with Weirauch in several towns across the district:
"If you each get five people, it will actually matter in this race," Mr. Brown said. "Go out and find five people each in the next 48 hours, and we're going to have a new congresswoman."
Mrs. Weirauch and Mr. Brown were singing from the same choir book yesterday, with their emphasis on issues of job insecurity, worry about lack of health insurance, depressed wages, and a rising tide of foreign-made products drowning out American products.
"We're not going to keep sending people to Congress who fight against the middle class," Mr. Brown said.
Mrs. Weirauch said she is not a career politician, and she made a point of speaking of her desire to bring American troops home from the war in Iraq, and the need to plan carefully for their return. ...
"I will not write a blank check for an unending war," Mrs. Weirauch said.
GOP House Members Angry - James Lambert at Swing State Project has this quote from subscription-only Roll Call:
Although the candidates and party committees weren't releasing any polling late last week, both sides agreed the race could be fairly close - and many Republicans were flabbergasted.
"The [GOP] Members are running around saying, 'What just happened?'" said a Washington Republican with knowledge of the district. "To put it bluntly, they're pissed off. People are angry that Bob Latta hasn't devoted himself better on the campaign trial to connect with northwest Ohio voters and given an opportunity to an opponent who was so far off the radar and actually made it a race." [...]
"It's like the Latta campaign is trying to write a handbook on how to lose a Congressional campaign in 60 days or less," said the Republican.
Big Spenders - In that same post, Lambert says that the RNCC has spent at least $428,000 and the DCCC has spent at least $243,000, and that's not counting direct donations to the candidates.
GOP Volunteers Motivated by Fear of Liberal Policies, Not Love of Latta - Confirming what has become pretty clear at this point, Sandusky County GOP Chair Adam Greenslade told the Toledo Blade that "Weirauch's rise has mobilized members of the party there" and "I think people here are afraid of the liberal policies Mrs. Weirauch supports." It's all about fear, but I'm wondering if that kind of negative motivation will generate the big turnout that Latta needs.
The interesting thing about this report on the 5th District special election in the Defiance Crescent-News is that write-in candidate John Green (I-Napoleon) gets equal billing with Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) and Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green). We learn that Green is 78, is a dedicated runner, has a law degree, and served as a captain in the U.S. Army. He is a former business owner and insurance agent who is now a distributor for Juice Plus. He ran for this seat in 2002 and won 5% of the vote.
"I'm running because we have some issues that no one wants to talk about," says Green. "I'm going to talk about the three things we did not have for the first 124 years of our country. We did not have a federal income tax, we did not have a federal reserve system and the state legislatures appointed the U.S. senators ... and we had the greatest growth during those first 124 years that we haven't matched in the 94 years since."
Defiance is in the western part of the district, in the Ohio Senate district of disappointed GOP primary contender Steve Buehrer (R-Delta).
Another nice field report from blogger/volunteer lpackard on DailyKos today -- if you are reading this around now (about 1:00 pm on Sunday) go over there and recommend it!
The photo shows Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) personally working the phone bank at campaign headquarters, where people are having "a ridiculous amount of fun." Lots of cookies.
If you can't get out to Bowling Green, you can help with phone-banking from home -- email email@example.com to get started.
I just checked ActBlue and Robin has received $90,066 from 1208 contributors. Wow. Over at the rightwing equivalent, SlateCard.com, Bob Latta has received $1,808 from 20 contributors. Poor Bob! Lots of money from fat cats, but not much grass roots love.