State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) has been selected by the Progressive Patriot Fund, the political action committee of Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), as a featured Progressive Patriot. Candidates are periodically selected for this honor by a vote of PAC members. Winners are featured on the PAC's web site and receive a campaign contribution. Ohio candidates supported by the group in 2006 were Gov. Ted Strickland (D), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D).
In an email message from the Boccieri campaign announcing the selection, the candidate reports that he has hired Ian Walton, described as "an exceptionally capable and talented campaign director with more than a decade of experience in local, state and national campaigns." Boccieri also describes success in the legislature on a measure to support Ohio veterans:
I am honored by the bi-partisan passage of my "Military Injury Relief Fund" bill, a tax check-off program which gives Ohioans an opportunity to help our injured soldiers transition back into civilian life and assist with their medical expenses. Just a few weeks ago, I was proud to stand with Governor Strickland to present the first check to Sgt. Eric Marshall.
The message ends with an expression of support for 5th District special election candidate Robin Weirauch:
As you may have heard, Robin Weirauch is running strong in Ohio's 5th district congressional race to represent the working families of Northwest Ohio. The special election is Tuesday, December 11th. Call her campaign headquarters at 419.842.4338 or visit www.robinweirauch.com to help in the closing days.
Mark Naymik confirms in the Plain Dealer today that Mayor Tom O'Grady (D-North Olmsted) will officially join the 10th Congressional District race tomorrow. O'Grady's desire to run had been signaled on Politics 216 a month ago and Jerid wrote about his impending announcement on BSB yesterday. Naymik indicates that the O'Grady met with city councilman Joe Cimperman (D-Cleveland) last Saturday to try to narrow the field, obviously without success.
Naymik also reports that Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) indicated on a questionnaire submitted to the county Democratic party that he would be running for re-election in 2008. While not as rock solid as an official public announcement from the candidate, this development tends to tamp down speculation that Kucinich will retire.
O'Grady grew up in Cleveland and became a resident of North Olmsted in 1970. He attended St. Ignatius High School and has an undergraduate degree from John Carroll University as well as post-graduate degrees from John Carroll and Harvard University. He was an officer in the U.S. Army (retired 1993) and taught in the Cleveland public schools (1997-98) and North Olmsted public schools (1998-2005). He was elected to two terms in city council before being elected Mayor in 2005.
SNOW DAY !!!!!
Bonnie the Dog says "WOOF" to Stella and Sammy. "Come back and visit again soon!"
We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming... (I need a break. It's been pretty intense lately.)
The Ohio Democratic Party's Todd Hoffman has a post on the front page at DailyKos, spelling out how folks can help get Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) elected to Congress in the 5th District:
* Virtual phonebanking, from anywhere you are: Use your own phone, call when its convenient for you. Email Jason at phonebank4robin-at-gmail-dot-com.
* Volunteer here in Ohio: To learn more about canvassing and phonebanking in Ohio, send an email to WeirauchGOTV-at-ohiodems-dot-org.
* CONTRIBUTE TO THE CAMPAIGN: Click here to donate through ActBlue. Even a small contribution helps!
The new TV ad for State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) is all about fighting illegal immigration:
It seems to me that the problem in the 5th District is corporations closing down factories and sending the jobs to other countries, not illegal immigrants competing for jobs here. Whatever. This may be an interesting preview of how the immigration fear card will play for the GOP in 2008. (How timely: Simon Rosenberg of NDN argues in a blog post today that "the overwhelming evidence in the last several elections and in all the polling data indicate that those who believe [illegal immigration] has the capacity to be the defining issue in American politics are simply overstating their case.")
UPDATE: Although the TV ad doesn't mention Weirauch, Latta's campaign has been claiming that she supports paying government benefits to illegal immigrants. This is absolutely not true, and the Ohio Democratic Party has issued a statement calling them on it:
“Robin Weirauch absolutely opposes benefits, amnesty, and driver’s licenses, and for illegal immigrants. Robin believes we must secure our borders and ensure that illegal immigrants aren’t rewarded for breaking the law. Anything else that Representative Latta and his friends in Washington say about her position is a shameless attempt to distort her record,” said Doug Kelly, Executive Director of the Ohio Democratic Party.
“The Ohio Ethics Commission has already found Representative Latta guilty of lying, so why would anyone believe what he says now? The last thing Ohioans need is another career politician who plays fast and loose with the facts in order to score cheap political points.”
This is an enormous district geographically, including all or part of 16 counties, but it has no major metropolitan areas. According to the 2000 census there are 630,730 residents, of which 326,668 are active voters. The most populous county is centrally located Wood County (121,065 residents), home of Bowling Green State University in its largest town (29,636 residents).
The district is 94% non-Hispanic white, 99% American-born, 59% married, and the median household income is $41,701 (only 1% of the households are above $200,000). District residents are 49% urban and 51% rural.
This district has the highest concentration of blue collars workers of any in Ohio. The work force is 46% white collar, 40.5% blue collar, and 13.5% service industries. Only 15% have undergraduate college degrees, only 5% have graduate degrees. About 8% are below the poverty line.
There are about 60,000 registered Democrats (20% of all voters) and 97,500 registered Republicans (30%), leaving about half of the voters as independents. It is rated R+10.1. There hasn't been a Democratic Congressman in this district since 1938, and there has never been a woman in Congress here. George Bush won 61% of the vote in both 2000 and 2004; Kerry managed only 38%.
City Councilman Joe Cimperman (D-Cleveland) will announce today that he is running for the 10th Ohio Congressional District seat of veteran legislator and repeat presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland). Kucinich has not yet officially committed to seeking re-election. Also announced in the race are Iraq War activist Rosemary Palmer (D-Cleveland) and repeat candidate Barbara Anne Ferris (D-Cleveland), who was endorsed by the Plain Dealer in 2006. Three suburban mayors have been mentioned as possible contenders as well: Dean DePiero (D-Parma), Thomas O'Grady (D-North Olmsted), and Martin Zinotti (D-Parma Heights).
Cimperman is the first declared Democratic challenger to Kucinich with experience as a legislator. He has served as Councilman for the downtown 13th Ward for ten years. His ward includes the St. Clair Superior, Payne Sterling, Midtown, Downtown, Tremont, Ohio City/Near West, Duck Island, and Forest City Park neighborhoods of Cleveland. He grew up in the St. Clair Superior neighborhood and was a social worker on the west side when he was first elected to office in 1997.
Lots of developments in this race. Here is the attack ad against State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) being run by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee:
The ad connects Latta to unpopular former GOP governor Bob Taft and the recent Coingate scandal by pointing out that Latta received $1,000 from convicted Republican power-broker Tom Noe. It also hammers Latta on the finding of campaign misconduct against him by the Ohio Elections Commission in the GOP primary, including his own lawyer's concession at the hearing that Latta's campaign was "misleading" and dealt State Sen. Steve Buehrer (R-Delta) a "low blow."
The Ohio Democratic Party is also attacking Latta with its new web site aWholeLattaLove.com, decked out in creepy hot pink and black, which features negative TV ads from the GOP primary on the sidebar and text that slams Latta for voting for higher taxes, increased drivers' license fees, and the biggest state budget ever; holding investments in oil companies while receiving contributions from them; and receiving Noe campaign money. It also makes a bizarre and pointless joke about the name "Latta" and drinking fru-fru lattes.
Well, this is fun, isn't it? What a difference a few hours can make. (That's an inside joke for Jeff's benefit.)
This is Dr. Mike Zickar, the new chair of the Wood County Party speaking at the rally at Pipefitters Local 50 on Saturday night:
Next is Tom Joseph, president of Local 50 welcoming everyone and getting ready to introduce Robin:
Here's Judge Bill O'Neill who took time off from his own campaign in Oh-14 to support Robin:
Here's Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur from OH-09 showing her enthusiasm:
And finally, after a LONG hard day in some brutal cold weather, here's Robin Weirauch rallying the faithful ("Can I get an amen to that?" Robin, yes you can!)
Seth Michaels, Presidential Website Coordinator for WorkingFamiliesVote08.com, has posted a story on the AFL/CIO Now Blog that includes this new video clip by Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) calling on working families for support:
In the video clip, Weirauch calls on the 75,000 retirees, active union members, union household members, and Working America members in the 5th District to send GOTV letters, distribute work site leaflets, and engage in election day field work. She also describes her own union background (she was an IBEW member in her first job, her husband helped form the Napoleon Police Officers Association, and their families include other union members as well), and she expresses her support for the Employee Free Choice Act, for trade policies that protect workers and the environment, and for affordable, high-quality health care for all.
Gov. Ted Strickland (D) campaigned across the 5th Congressional District on Saturday, and on Sunday Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon), the other superstar from the 2006 Dream Team, campaigned for Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) in Fremont:
Brown came to Fremont Sunday as a rally for Weirauch was held at the IBEW union hall on East State Street.
Brown along with other supporters went door-to-door in an attempt to gain support for Weirauch, [Barb] Tuckerman [director of the Sandusky County Board of Elections] said.
While some supporters were venturing out and walking door-to-door, others were at the union hall making phone calls. ...
"She's a dedicated person for the job," [Sandra] Wise [a Sandusky County Democratic Party member] said. "She's just like us and will take our concerns to Washington."
Sandra's husband, Roger Wise, also a member of the Democratic party's central committee said, "I think the idea that the governor and senator were willing to come to Fremont, and the 5th District on behalf of Robin, demonstrates that they think we can win this."
The article also states that turnout at the Strickland/Weirauch rally in Fremont on Saturday atternoon was excellent: "The rally lasted about three hours and about 125 people attended."
Here are photographs from Saturday's campaign events in Tiffin and Norwalk (click image to see a larger version):
I drove from Bucyrus to Tiffin with the governor of Ohio right behind me in a big black SUV the last part of the way. By the time I found parking and made my way to the parade route, the parade was already underway and I had missed State Rep. Bob Latta, who reportedly walked behind a float with Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer on it. Weirauch and Strickland walked with members of Local 7-A of the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International Union, who had just learned on Tuesday that the company expects to close its plant in the area. The mood of these workers is grim, as reported in the Tiffin Advertiser-Tribune here and here. Strickland and Weirauch met with union members after the parade and talked about how current trade deals put domestic companies at a disadvantage. Strickland commented that he has visited a factory in Mexico where workers take home $38 per week. Weirauch said the the U.S. must pursue fair trade policies that protect jobs and don't favor moving plants out of the country.
At 9:30 a.m. on Saturday in Bucyrus Central Square it was freezing cold. About sixty people gathered to hear Gov. Strickland and Robin Weirauch, to be followed by door-to-door canvassing. There were quite a few big home-made signs like this one:
While waiting for the candidate and the governor to arrive, I enjoyed meeting blogger and City Councilman Frank Szollosi (D-Toledo), who was collecting signatures for the paid sick leave initiative. Weirauch and Strickland each arrived to applause and walked through the crowd greeting and shaking hands before speaking. Here is the audio of the entire presentation (9:43):
I also shot video of part of Strickland's comments and all of Weirauch's (8:08) which can be viewed on the sidebar today or at YouTube thereafter. The following is a recap of Weirauch's remarks.
Weirauch started by mentioning that she talked to a mother in the district whose son has served four rotations in Iraq, and said that "it's absolutely time to bring our troops home safe, honorably and soon." We can "really shake things up in Washington on December 11th," she said, because "business as usual is not going to lead us to a better future." She said that she learned from her mother who raised Weirauch and two brothers by herself that "change takes courage" and "there is always a better way, but you have to be open to change." She said that there are "enough career politicians in Washington already," and identified herself instead as an advocate, "someone who has a history of fighting for what matters most to you and me."
Gov. Ted Strickland (D) made five campaign appearances with 5th Congressional District candidate Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) on Saturday, the first three of which I attended. The early morning rally in Bucyrus is nicely covered by
Kimberly Gasuras in the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum, the candidates marching with supporters in the mid-morning Tiffin Christmas parade is reported by Joshua Boak in the Toledo Blade, and the early-afternoon walk along Main Street in Norwalk is described by Mary Lisa Boose in the Norwalk Reflector.
The Toledo Blade also reports on a televised appearance by Weirauch and State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) yesterday in which they engaged in a "cordial" debate. Reporter Joe Vardon writes that they "took similar stances on immigration and energy policies, differed on the war in Iraq, and did not say who they support for president in 2008." Weirauch called for U.S. troops to be brought home from Iraq honorably, safely, and soon, a consistent campaign theme:
"The military has done everything that's been asked of them and they've done it extremely well," she said. "Their work is completed, essentially, because now the diplomacy and the political solutions and the strat-egies for the region have to be brought in."
Latta, on the other hand, said that "President Bush's troop surge is working," and that lawmakers in Washington must "listen to the generals."
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has pulled out all the stops on the 5th Ohio Congressional District race, pouring over $150,000 into a TV ad attacking State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green). Meanwhile, contributions to Robin Weirauch (D-Bowling Green) are continuing at a very strong pace, with FEC filings showing $29,100 contributed today (including $5,000 each from the SEIU and the New Jersey-based Shore PAC), $15,100 contributed yesterday (including $5,000 from the United Steelworkers and $2,000 from Rep Barney Frank (D-MA)), and $13,300 contributed last Wednesday.
The Latta campaign reported receiving $69,500 last Friday but nothing since. Believe me, the DCCC and other contributers are making a real race out of the 5th Congressional District special. It's a sprint to the finish, and Weirauch has plenty of cash to carry her across the finish line.
Update from Earl 6:42 AM: Both campaigns have their new ads running during the local news on Toledo TV this morning.
Latta's ad touts his pro-business stance. It's as if he was still running in a GOP primary because that message is dog that won't hunt with independent voters. It's clearly aimed squarely at the most affluent part of the GOP base.
Last week I had a chance to talk to Carol Roe, Chairperson of the Ohio Nurses Democratic Caucus. Her organization actively supports 5th District congressional candidate Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon), a former Emergency Medical Technician whose family includes several nurses, and 14th District candidate Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell), a Registered Nurse in the pediatric emergency room at Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights.
In addition, the ONDC has sent questionnaires to the Democratic presidential candidates and has received responses from two. Former senator John Edwards (D-NC) and Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM) each submitted responses that spell out their detailed visions for universal, affordable and quality driven health care, their position on federal legislation to enable states to enact comprehensive health care reform, and steps they would take to deal with the shortage of nurses and to improve working conditions for nurses. The organization is to be commended for seeking out the candidates' positions on these issues, and kudos to Edwards and Richardson for responding -- their responses are definitely worth reading.
Congressional candidate Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell) is a former appellate court judge, retired Lieutenant Colonel, and member of the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame, who was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam and whose son Shawn served in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He is incensed at the Bush Administration and Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Township) for permitting the U.S. Government to seek the return of enlistment bonuses from injured veterans sent home from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I received word yesterday from a soldier overseas that the Department of Defense has been billing wounded soldiers – asking them to refund their enlistment bonuses if their injury prevents them from completing their full term," O'Neill said. "You don't have to have served your country to be offended by a policy like this. When a soldier is injured in the line of duty we are all wounded. To me this is an insult."
H.R. 3793, a bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA) with 219 co-sponsors, would mandate the practice be terminated immediately. Rep. LaTourette is not among the bill's co-sponsors.
"The bottom line is we must stop abandoning our soldiers," O'Neill said. "It is an outrage to force a soldier wounded in battle to give back his enlistment bonus. Our troops have made great sacrifices for their country and we must do everything we can to honor that service. At a minimum we must keep our word.
"Why is it that Steve LaTourette will vote consistently against efforts to bring accountability to this war, but he has so far failed to cosponsor this critical bill for those serving our country?" he said. "Northeast Ohio – and the men and women serving our country – deserve better."
Ohio deserves better than Steve LaTourette. Please send Bill O'Neill a campaign donation today. O'Neill will bring dignity, principle, and common sense to the task of representing the 14th Ohio Congressional District in Congress.
I have been asked to put out the word that the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is looking for volunteers to circulate signature petitions. Circulators need to be registered Ohio voters who have not voted in a different party's primary within the past two years.
The petition and an instruction sheet can be downloaded here. Please keep in mind that signatures must be legible to be counted. To that end, people may print their names in the open space to the left of their signatures.
Questions can be directed to Matthew D. Besser at mdbesser-at-vorys-dot-com.
Here's a terrific opportunity for Democrats in northeast Ohio to make a difference in the special election in Ohio's 5th Congressional District. From tomorrow, Monday December 3rd, through election day, December 11th, there will be phone banking going on from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., or 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., or in the evening during the week, at the UFCW Hall, 2828 Euclid Aveue in Cleveland. Please call Andrea Miller at two-one-six, eight-eight-one, seven-two-zero-zero for more information.
This is a very tight race and any time that you can give could make the difference. There hasn't been a competitive race for Democrats in this district for nearly 70 years ... let's get in there and give it our best shot!
On Saturday I attended three campaign events in the 5th Ohio Congressional District, where Gov. Ted Strickland (D) spent the day campaigning for Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon). I plan to post a field report with photographs and audio, but in the meantime here is a video clip. The governor and the candidate marched in a parade down the main street in Tiffin, Ohio, accompanied by union workers from an American Standard manufacturing plant that is in grave danger of being closed. In this video the two of them speak briefly to supporters right after the parade ended:
First public hearing and call to action on the issue of payday lending, organized by Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann. The event will be at Antioch Baptist Church, 8869 Cedar Avenue, Cleveland, OH (on the corner of E. 89thand Cedar).
UPDATE: I JUST made it home from the Northwood rally. A TERRIBLE ice storm has hit this area and it seems as if ODOT got caught napping. Will try to get some pics and video posted yet tonight (as soon as my hands stop shaking...)
UPDATE: The Norwalk event is wrapping up. Jeff is heading east and I'm heading for Fremont. More later. So far, so good!
UPDATE: The Governor reports that their polling data is saying that this race is "winnable."(!) We would need a GREAT GOTV effort and for the undecideds to break heavily for Wierauch.
UPDATE: There was great turnout for the parade in Tiffin (despite wind chills in the teens!). Local labor unions led by GMP Local 7A are incensed that American Standard is threatening to close a local plant and move production overseas. Robin and the Governor took the time to give an off the cuff pep talk to local workers. Robin told them "You're standing up for me, I'll stand up for you!"
UPDATE:Jeff just called me from the first campaign event in Bucyrus. And baby, it's COLD outside! Despite bone numbing cold, turnout was excellent and the Governor's speech was rousing. Ted's closing zinger; "If you REALLY want to make Bill O'Reilly cry, get out on Dec 11 and vote for Robin Weirauch!"
The DCCC is "fully engaged" in the Weirauch campaign. They have been providing staffers, money and other resources for the campaign along with the DNC, ODP, SEIU, the AFl-CIO and other labor groups. The entire staff from the midwest DCCC group has been here for some time and they're pouring everything they've got into this race. Just yesterday, another $13,300 was received from labor groups and progressive PACs. How about you?
Greg Giroux of CQ Politics sees a "sliver of uncertainty" in the 5th Ohio Congresional District special election:
The national political environment — which turned sharply against President Bush and his Republican Party in the 2006 midterm elections — remains unsettled. Additionally, the special elections held in mid-December, as most residents of the two districts are focused heavily on their holiday preparations, make the relative success of the parties’ voter turnout efforts difficult to predict. ...
Latta had $132,000 left to spend as of Nov. 21 to $68,000 for Weirauch.
Weirauch’s total fundraising for the short special election campaign already has exceeded the roughly $120,000 she raised during her entire campaign for the regularly scheduled 2006 election.
During the Oct. 18-Nov. 21 period, Latta raised $128,000 from individual donors and $118,000 from political committees, and he also loaned his campaign $50,000 from his personal resources. ...
Most of Weirauch’s contributions came from political action committees (PACs), including those associated with labor unions and campaign committees linked to House Democrats who didn’t contribute to her 2006 campaign. The fact that Democrats are giving to Weirauch is a sign that they think an upset, if unlikely, is nonetheless possible, and that an investment in her campaign is worthwhile.
I was sitting around in my basement with no windows this week...raising money for my own Congressional Race...when I thought: Whoa! ROBIN'S RACE IS THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN THIS WEEK! So I did what any out of control Democrat would do...Packed my first born daughter Katie into my BRAND NEW ELECTRIC CAR... and sent her West. Of course I stayed home to mind the store...but will join the fray on Saturday and maybe Sunday.
The question comes up: If we really believe that taking control of the Congress is our number one priority...why aren't we all up in the flatlands for the duration working for Robin...and the American way?
Robin needs us. Now. See you in Bowling Green.
And oh yes...I sent her $100 bucks...have you all?
Term-limited State Rep. Bob Otterman (D-Akron) will step down by the end of the year, the Ohio House Democratic Caucus has announced.
State Rep. George Distel (D-Conneaut) will chair a screening committee to recommend a replacement. Anyone interested in succeeding Rep. Otterman in the 45th Ohio House District should direct their resumes to Chief of Staff Andy DiPalma by the close of business on Monday, December 10th. Resumes may be e-mailed to Mr. DiPalma at andy.dipalma-at-ohr.state.oh.us.
Rep. Otterman is serving his fourth term in the House. He served for 29 years on Akron City Council before that. The 45th District is in Summit County in northeast Ohio and includes Barberton and parts of Akron. It leans very strongly Democratic (PVI D+14.6). Otterman defeated Joshua Jones (R-Akron) by 77.11% to 22.99% in 2006, and got 74.12% of the vote in 2004. City Councilman John R. Otterman (D-Akron) has been mentioned as a possible candidate to run for this seat.