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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
I regret that I am tied up this weekend -- I can do more today than offer this roundup of this weekend's news and developments in the 5th Congressional District special election:
Sherrod Brown Campaigns for Weirauch Today - The schedule passed along to me says they will be in Norwalk at 11:30 a.m., Bellevue at 1:00 p.m., Upper Sandusky at 3:00 p.m., and Crestline at 5:00 p.m. Brown also put $2,000 into the race in the last few days through the Friends of Sherrod Brown committee.
Weirauch Profiled in Toledo Blade - Departing poitical reporter Josh Boak has a very nice profile of Robin Weirauch today (including photo at right), emphasizing her caring nature as well as the sacrifices she and her husband Bruce have made for her to run for Congress. It ends with this terrific quote:
“She has that customer service approach, which is the way I think people should go,” said Putnam County Commissioner John Love. “It’s great that they’re legislators, but when people have a problem they need someone who can straighten things out.”
CBS Reports on Absence of Boehner - The non-support of State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) by House Majority Leader and fellow Ohioan John Boehner (R-West Chester), reported on The Politico, gains national attention.
Money Still Pouring In - Weirauch filed three 48 hour FEC reports yesterday, for a total of $59,400, but Latta filed two during that time for a total of $155,800. The amounts pouring into this race are truly astonishing.
Ohio GOP Video Steals "West Wing" Theme? - Did the Ohio GOP pay for using the West Wing theme music in this video in which an uninspired Fred Thompson urges Republicans to vote for "my friend" and "easy choice" Bob Latta? In any event, it is a jarring contrast to hear such stirring music while watching such a tepid endorsement.
Blade Non-Endorsement Sounds Good for Weirauch - The Toledo Blade didn't endorse anyone in the race today, but what they wrote sounds pretty good for Weirauch:
While Ms. Weirauch is excoriated as being too liberal, nothing has transpired during the short campaign to indicate that Mr. Latta, a veteran of the Ohio General Assembly, would be anything other than a reliable vote in Washington for the current and future policies of the Bush Administration and the Republican Party. If he possesses any streak of independence, it is well camouflaged.
Particularly disappointing is that the war in Iraq has not become a major issue in this campaign. For the record, Ms. Weirauch says American troops must be pulled out, but in a gradual manner that won’t endanger their safety. But she also points out that the people she meets on the campaign trail are more interested in her views on jobs and affordable health care.
Mr. Latta effectively runs away from the war by saying he would leave the whole mess to “the generals.”
Latta Weak on Combatting Illegal Aliens - Although Latta is pushing the fear-of-illegal-immigrants issue to try to win (and Lisa Renee reports that the rightwing group Freedoms Watch has an ad running on it as well), the Ohio Democratic Party points out that Latta failed to add his name as co-sponsor to two bills in the General Assembly that sought to combat the problem, HB 654 in 2006 and HB 308 in 2007.
The RNCC has issued a web ad attacking Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon), filled with scary pictures of Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton (oh, my!), and repeating the lie that Weirauch supports health care benefits for illegal immigrants (she does not).
Then, at the very end, they use a few seconds of the video I shot of Ted Strickland and Weirauch in Tiffin last weekend (embedded at the top of the left sidebar). The gall! The total lack of respect for property! These SOBs will stoop to anything. They deserve to lose this race badly.
A few late breaking developments:
DCCC, ODP, and Chris Redfern Contribute $$$ - A 48 hour FEC filing by Robin Weirauch today shows another $20,050 in contributions, including $3,250 from the DCCC, $5,000 from the Ohio Democratic Party, and $1,000 from ODP Chair Chris Redfern personally. Woo hoo! Go, Robin, go!
Dodd Supports Weirauch - Following Obama and Edwards, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) becomes the third presidential contender to call on supporters to help elect Robin.
ActBlue Contributions Exceed $84K - Yesterday morning I thought maybe Weirauch might exceed $75,000 on ActBlue and that would be great, but I just checked and she has received $84,430 from 1,177 donors!
Latta Smear Campaign Continues - A press release from the Latta campaign today repeats the lie that Weirauch supports "a bill that provides free, taxpayer funded health care to illegal immigrants." The bill in question, HR 676, would extend health care benefits to all "residents," which Weirauch interprets as lawful residents. She has repeatedly confirmed that she opposes amnesty and/or government benefits of any kind for illegal immigrants. This is exactly the kind of lie that got Latta reprimanded by the Ohio Elections Commission in the GOP primary.
UPDATE: GOP Hunting for Volunteers in Michigan - Apparently the Latta campaign isn't generating enough enthusiasm here in Ohio - the RNC is putting out the call for volunteers from Michigan.
Blogger/volunteer LPackard has a field report on the front page at DailyKos.com. She came down from Michigan yesterday and says that "there are a couple dozen people here," the "office is hopping," and "you can feel the excitement in the air." She also says that more volunteers are needed:
[I]t’s not too late for you to join us too. Housing is available for volunteers, and you are needed everywhere. One thing - please bring snacks! And if you have spare computer networking equipment, it would be appreciated. To volunteer at the HQ, call 419.842.4338. For virtual phonebanking from anywhere, email email@example.com.
Although it is too late for ActBlue donations to be used for media buys, she says that "the campaign is watching the ActBlue totals and making decisions every hour on if they can afford more cellphones, gas cards, etc. for GOTV," so keep the donations coming!
Just in via email, a statement by Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) on the mortgage foreclosure mess:
“Ohio’s middle class families have been squeezed this year by record-high gas prices, spiraling health care costs, or crippling college tuition rates – now, too many hardworking families are losing their homes.
When I was growing up, my mother worked hard to support my two brothers and me. Our home was the foundation of our financial security. Like so many other working families, our home was more than a financial investment – it was our bridge to our neighbors, our anchor in our community, and the place where we invested the dreams for our entire family.
The national subprime mortgage crisis has taken a drastic toll right here in Ohio. According to RealtyTrac, almost 100,000 mortgages in Ohio are currently in foreclosure. During this past September alone, almost 18,000 mortgages went into foreclosure, right here in our own backyard. These aren’t just numbers, they are families in our communities struggling to survive. And, career politicians in Washington stood by while the crisis got worse.
The only way to end the national mortgage crisis is by having leaders in Washington who understand what middle class families are going though. I know what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck, which is why I’ll fight harder than anyone to protect our families, crack down on predatory lenders, and restore the bedrock dream of American homeownership for all of Ohio’s working families.”
Republicans know that this seat is in jeopardy, and they will stop at nothing to win. They are attacking our candidate, Robin Weirauch, distorting her stand on the issues and trying to distract voters from the war, job loss and the need for a real national security policy. I know what it is like to be attacked. In 2003, when I spoke out against the war in Iraq, I never imagined the White House would take revenge against me by compromising the national security of the country, not to mention the safety of my family by outing my wife's identity as a covert CIA officer. Unfortunately, Bob Latta and his Republican friends in Washington, DC are up to their old tricks. We have an obligation to oppose tactics like these and speak out for change.
Monday night's debate between Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) and State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) on the "Conklin & Co." show on Toledo's ABC affiliate can be viewed online.
Promoted from the comments - Green proposes to abolish the Federal Reserve System, abolish the federal income tax, and change the 17th Amendment so that state legislatures select U.S. Senators.
Here's an alternative for Republicans who want to vote but can't stand Latta or Weirauch:
Here is the latest ad for Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon), responding to attacks by Bob Latta and the NRCC:
PS - This time I am not in the ad, although I was nearby when the two shots from last Saturday's event in Norwalk were filmed. Reporter Josh Boak, who is leaving the Toledo Blade for the Chicago Tribune, is pretty prominent in one shot (talking to the fellow in the red jacket), and that's State Sen. Sue Morano (D-Lorain) in the pink coat in the background in two shots.
I'm going to be otherwise occupied all day, so I just want to quickly catch up on news from the 5th Congressional District special election:
CQ Politics Says "Close Race Is Expected" - Anything could happen:
[T]here are plenty of signs that a Dec. 11 special election will be much more competitive than its political demographics and election history would indicate. ... The NRCC and DCCC regularly conduct private polling to gauge the competitiveness of congressional races, so their decisions to spend money in the Ohio 5 special election suggest both sides view the race as highly competitive. ... Even if she loses, should Weirauch make a strong showing the Democrats will point to the race as evidence that they can continue to compete in Republican-leaning districts like Ohio’s 5th — and that they made the cash-strapped NRCC spend several hundred thousand dollars from its limited treasury in a race they should have won easily.
Message From Weirauch - Robin Weirauch (D) sent out an email message last night:
In less than a week, we will make a statement that Ohioans are ready to lead the country in a new direction. Last year Ted Strickland and Sherrod Brown paved the way for Democrats to succeed in every corner of the state. In just five days, voters in the 5th Congressional district will go to the polls and make a choice about what kind a leader they want in Washington, DC. We have worked together over the past weeks and months to make sure that voters hear our message of change and middle class values.
Blade Reports Weirauch "Momentum" - Today's article on the race is titled "Weirauch gains money, momentum in 5th race" and reports that Weirauch "has been a daily fixture at large events across northwest Ohio speaking to factory workers and retirees" with her focus on "middle-class families and their bread-and-butter woes."
Edwards On Board - Following Obama's call to action, presidential contender John Edwards (D-NC) urged his supporters to help out:
As you know, throughout my campaign, I have highlighted the importance of making sure we have strong Democratic majorities in the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate. If we're going to bring about real change for hard-working Americans and end politics-as-usual in Washington, then we need to elect Democrats who will stand up and fight for America's families, end the war in Iraq and bring about universal health care.
DCCC Dropped Another $33 Grand - According to James Lambert at Swing State Project. This brings the DCCC total up to $243,748.14.
Focus of Campaign Is Jobs - So reports the Bowling Green News, leading with the appalling statistic that more than 63,000 Ohioans currently out of work. Latta wants to create jobs the discredited "trickle-down" way of cutting taxes and government spending, Weirauch wants to fight job-killing trade agreements and eliminate tax incentives that encourage off-shoring of manufacturing.
Unsavory Support for Latta The Daily Bellwether reports on financial help for Latta from Carl Lindner, former chairman of Chiquita Brands International, the Cincinnati-based banana company that pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges it financially supported a rightwing terrorist group in Colombia.
Former Toledo City Councilwoman and attorney, Karyn McConnell-Hancock is being reported missing. Local news outlets are reporting that she has not been seen since leaving her law office to attend a hearing at Juvenile Court on Wednesday morning.
Mrs McConnell-Hancock is six months pregnant.
"Police say Karyn McConnell-Hancock was wearing a black-and-white checkered hat and a long khaki coat. She is driving a black 2005 Chrysler 300, Ohio plate DIA 6410. Toledo police say if you've seen her, call Toledo police investigations bureau at 419-245-3142."
Her father, Judge C. Allen McConnell, is a distinguished Toledo jurist. The media quote police reports that her husband states that she had been representing a client who had become "aggressive." He also said that she had received "inappropriate" telephone calls. Her husband is a pastor.
If anyone spots her or her car, PLEASE call Toledo Police at once.
I am informed that there are only about three and a half hours left to contribute to Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) through ActBlue.com. After 6:00 p.m. today, contributions through that channel will not reach the campaign in time to buy more air time for her advertising.
Weirauch is the busiest ActBlue recipient this week. She has received $71,916 from 1,031 ActBlue contributors so far. Please click the link and help her win this seat for the Democratic Party!
Presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) has sent email messages to his list of supporters, saying that the 5th District race is "tough" but "within reach for Democrats thanks to a strong candidate," and "if we're going to change this country, we have to be ready to stand up for our principles everywhere." Obama links the 5th District special election to his own ground-breaking presidential bid:
One of the most inspiring things about the movement we've created together is that it's bigger than a presidential campaign.
We've brought new people into the political process, and we're proving a new model of grassroots campaigning that will impact races up and down the ballot for a generation.
Right now, you have the opportunity to make a difference -- to shape this election in Ohio's 5th District, to strengthen our party, and to build the broader movement for change.
Please join us in taking action.
The message links to Weirauch's ActBlue page and provides the email address to volunteer for virtual phonebanking (firstname.lastname@example.org). The most interesting feature, however, is an internet-based system for Obama supporters outside the 5th District to call Obama supporters who live in the district. Messages to Obama supporters inside the district just remind them to vote, but messages to those outside the district include this link, which leads to a page on Obama's campaign site where they can register and receive a list of 5th District Obama supporters to call.
So, how about the other Democratic presidential candidates? Isn't it time to jump in and support Robin Weirauch?
Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) rallied with workers from the doomed American Standard plant in Tiffin yesterday:
Today in front of a crowd of workers from the last American Standard plant in the United States, Robin Weirauch, candidate for Congress (OH-5) gave an impassioned speech about the need to fight trade deals that send jobs abroad and encourage illegal immigration. Weirauch appeared with Jerri Haver, Vice President of Local 7A Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers Union and 20 employees who received notice their plant was closing today. In all, over 160 have lost their jobs and are not to report to work after December 21st, 4 days before Christmas.
“It would be one thing if the American Standard story was unusual but it’s not. It’s happening all over Northwest Ohio and the country. Washington’s career politicians blindly rushed to sign trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA. And now middle class Ohioans are paying the price. Our manufacturing base is in tatters and Washington offers talk. Well, as the saying goes, talk is cheap. The time has come for action.” Said Weirauch.
Weirauch cited the failure of trade agreements like CAFTA and NAFTA, and the career politicians that support similar trade agreements, as a prime culprit for the continued loss of jobs in the manufacturing sector. She believes that career politicians like her opponent, Representative Bob Latta have been blinded by the contributions they’ve received from large corporations that pay for play in Washington.
In a big boost for Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) in the last week of her special congressional election campaign, Gov. Ted Strickland (D-Columbus) appears in her newest television ad.
Here is the script:
Ted Strickland: Robin Weirauch is one of us. She is not a person of privilege.
This region of Ohio needs someone who will be an advocate for them, not someone who is going to go to Washington and forget where they are from. We all know that Washington is broken. Robin Weirauch will go up there and she won’t give in until change comes about.
On Tuesday December 11th I ask you to go to the polls to support Robin Weirauch.
Robin Weirauch: I’m Robin Weirauch and I approve this ad.
Information systems analyst and small business owner Paul Ackerman (D-Powell), running in the 21st Ohio House District, has issued a press release blasting yerterday's proposal by State Sen. John Carey (R-Wellston) to "reform" collective bargaining law by prohibiting teachers from striking. Ackerman calls it a "bill aimed at destroying the rights of teachers and their representatives":
“Make no mistake about the real motivations behind this legislation,” Ackerman said. “The Republican Party has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the charter school industry and this is simply another attempt to dismantle public education in Ohio.”
This is not the first attack against the public school system in Ohio. Previously, ancillary services such as bus drivers have been outsourced to private companies. This caused a whole host of problems when it was discovered that the background checks on these individuals were shoddy and people who had been convicted of multiple drunk driving or drug offenses were driving our children to school each day.
“As of late it has been quite popular in some political circles to attack teachers unions," Ackerman continued. "My wife is a member of a teachers union and has been on her union negotiating team. I know many members of these unions - they are hard working people who care about our children. The General Assembly needs to focus on issues that matter to Ohioans, not attacking a system that has worked well for decades.”
If teachers are not allowed to strike, the balance of power at the bargaining table shifts dramatically. Teachers would have no recourse to fight bad policies or unfair working or wage conditions.