Confirming earlier reports, seven-term Clark County Commissioner Roger Tackett (D-Springfield) announced a few weeks ago that he is running for the 10th Ohio Senate District seat of term-limited State Sen. Steve Austria (R-Beavercreek):
Tackett, a Democrat, was elected to his seventh term as commissioner last year.
He will remain in the position throughout the campaign next year. His seat is up for election in 2010. ...
Tackett, 61, was awarded a Purple Heart after being wounded in Vietnam and is chairman of the Governor's Office of Veterans' Affairs Advisory Committee.
He is currently commission president.
"I would just like to have a fresh challenge with the state of Ohio," he said.
Tackett ran unsuccessfully for the Ohio Senate in 1984, 1992 and 2000.
The 10th District is composed of Clark, Greene, and Madison counties in southeast-central Ohio. It includes the 70th, 72nd, and 84th Ohio House Districts, all held by Republicans. It leans Republican (PVI R+5) and Austria won 64.51% of the vote in 2004. Former Greene County Commissioner Reid Madden (R) and State Rep. Chris Widener (R-Springfield) have said they will run for the seat.
It has been rumored that Austria will run for Congress if 7th District incumbent Dave Hobson (R-Springfield) retires.
Surprising few, Ohio Speaker of the House Jon Husted (R-Kettering) will announce today that he is officially entering the contest to succeed term-limited State Sen. Jeff Jacobsen (R-Butler Township):
With his days in the Ohio House numbered by term limits, Speaker Jon Husted, R-Kettering, today is to formally announce that he's running for the Ohio Senate in 2008.
"I just feel that there's so much work left to be done," Husted, 40, said Thursday. "I want to build on our success and take it to the next level."
The 6th Ohio Senate District is in Montgomery County and includes suburbs of Dayton. It is made up of the 36th, 37th, and 38th Ohio House Districts, all held by Republicans. The partisan voter index leans strongly Republican (R+9). Incumbent Jacobsen won 64.47% of the vote in 2004.
Incidentally, Husted endorsed Kettering Council Member Peggy Lehner for his current 37th House District seat.
I won't reprint the entire thing here, but simply urge you to go to "Have I Got News for You!", which is the personal blog of WKYC-TV3 Akron-Canton anchor Eric Mansfield, and read this guest post by his wife Lisa. She recounts a conference call by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) and his staffers with military families on the day that the Senate bill to guarantee U.S. troops as much time at home as they had spent overseas in combat zones was defeated. She details the heart-rending miseries endured by these families, and concludes by saying:
Senator Brown and his staff were well prepared for the outbreaks of emotion that this kind of discussion might create. They tried very hard to redirect everyone to what we had in common rather than our differences. They reminded us that we had made incredible sacrifices in a time when so few were being asked to make any at all ... and that we all loved the people who served nobly no matter what the mission.
There were so many more stories that I know I fail to do justice. Still, I have to tell you, I have a whole new respect for the job that Senators and their staffers do on a daily basis. After just two hours of listening to these other families, I had trouble sleeping ... and none of them have left my mind.
I can only place hope in our Senator's belief that you CAN make a difference ... even as he and all of us watched a bill that might have made a real difference for real military families in Ohio go down by a small margin.
The GOP special primary in the 5th Ohio Congressional District has taken a very nasty turn. Responding the Ohio Elections Commission finding of probable cause on the complaint by State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) against State Sen. Steve Buehrer (R-Delta), the Club for Growth increased its $75,000 ad buy by another $35,000 and issued this statement earlier today:
“In light of Big Tax Bob Latta’s ridiculous efforts to hide his liberal tax-and-spend record, we are further determined to make sure Ohio taxpayers know the truth. ... We are increasing our ad buy, and will continue to do so as long as Big Tax Bob Latta continues to try to hide the indisputable fact that he joined with Bob Taft in backing the largest tax and spending increases in Ohio history.”
... Unable to defend his abysmal record, Latta is filing hollow political complaints, hoping voters won’t notice just how bad his record is.
“The Club for Growth PAC will not sit silently while Bob Latta attempts to portray himself as a fiscal conservative and distract voters from his tax-and-spend record ... Voters in Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District deserve a representative like Steve Buehrer who will stand up for taxpayers and fight the tax-hiking machine in Washington. Clearly, Bob Latta is not up to the job.”
Meanwhile, the Latta campaign came up with this TV ad to connect Buehrer to disgraced GOP fund-raiser Tom Noe and the Bureau of Workers Compensation he swindled:
Dang, I really appreciate it when someone comes up with a visual to illustrate something I've been struggling to articulate in words. Here is a chart showing that resets under adjustable rate mortgages (the trigger for home foreclosures) won't peak until March of 2008:
This is from the blog Calculated Risk by way of Bank of America analyst Robert Lacoursiere in the Orange County Register. The fallout from ARM resets lags by a few months, so the peak impact won't be felt until mid-to-late 2008. Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Economy.com, doesn't see a turnaround in the housing market until some time in 2009.
See how the peak looks kind of like a wave? A really, really big wave? Kind of like this:
In other words, don't buy into this comforting talk about how the federal and state regulators "get it" now and this thing is under control. It isn't. It's going to get worse, and it's going to be a long time before it gets better.
The Columbus Dispatch blog The Daily Briefing is reporting that Hilliard councilman Brett Sciotto (R-Hilliard), who is also president of the political consulting firm American Strategies, is being encouraged by State Sen. Steve Stivers (R-Columbus), former county commissioner Dewey Stokes (R-Columbus), and Mayor Don Schonhardt (R-Hilliard) to jump into the 15th Congressional District race against County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy (R-Columbus).
Surely somewhere, somehow, some way, the GOP will come up with some candidate willing to jump into the fray in the 15th District. Until then, I am compelled to treat a report that someone is being "encouraged" to run as newsworthy. In any event, this item confirms that Sciotto, having lost the Franklin County GOP endorsement for the 23rd Ohio House race, is no longer thinking of mounting a primary challenge to endorsed candidate Mayor Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City).
UPDATE: The blog Ohio 15th Distict reports that former NFL star Chris Spielman (R) has decided that he will not run.
If true, this means State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) is running for an open seat. Presumably State Sen. Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) will now officially join County Commissioner Matt Miller (R-Ashland) in the GOP primary.
UPDATE: It is also being reported in The Guardian:
Rep. Ralph Regula, an Ohio Republican who has served in the House for 35 years, is expected to announce tomorrow that he will retire at the end of his term, GOP operatives said Thursday.
Regula, 82, is the dean of Ohio's congressional delegation and the No. 3 Republican on the powerful Appropriations Committee. He has held his seat since 1973.
Regula's retirement has been long anticipated and he has begun informing congressional colleagues of his decision, said a senior Republican in the state and aides to GOP colleagues. They requested anonymity in order to speak candidly about the matter.
Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-St. Clairsville) underwent emergency surgery this morning to repair a colonic perforation suffered during a colonoscopy. Reportedly the surgery was a success and Wilson says he is looking forward to getting back to work after he gets out of the hospital in about five to seven days. Dave Potts at Left of Ohio is following the story.
Prognosticator Stuart Rothenberg has included Ohio's 2nd and 10th Congressional Districts in a list of seven Republican and five Democratic seats where incumbents face serious primary opposition:
Ohio’s 2nd: Rep. Jean Schmidt has turned her reliably safe Republican Congressional district into a marginal seat, and that has encouraged ex-Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich, a former Cincinnati city councilman, to take her on in the GOP primary.
Ohio’s 10th: While Rep. Dennis Kucinich basks in the notoriety of his presidential campaign, teacher (and former reporter) Rosemary Palmer is trying to take his seat. Palmer, whose son was killed in Iraq in 2005, has blasted Kucinich for voting against the State Children’s Health Insurance Program bill. She has been endorsed by Paul Hackett, the Iraq War veteran who has become a celebrity to liberal bloggers.
Jerid of BSB reported yesterday that he has heard rumors that Kucinich may retire from the House, so that one could turn into contest between Palmer and opportunistic late-comers, with Mayor Dean DePiero (D-Parma) on the short list.
Marc Kovac at the excellent Capital Blog notes that the advocacy group Environment Ohio has issued a report finding that "more than 74% percent of Ohio’s major facilities exceeded the allowable pollution limits established in their Clean Water Act permits in 2005." Add that to this factoid mentioned in a Columbus Dispatch story today: "Ohio ranks No. 1 among states for toxic air pollution today, largely because of power-plant emissions." It's a double helping of depressing news for Ohioans who breath air and drink water.
The point of the Dispatch story, however, is to ask a question that demands an answer: why did Ohio sit out the EPA lawsuit against AEP, settled a few days ago for many millions of dollars, when other states joined the federal agency in the litigation?
When Gov. Bob Taft presented American Electric Power's Muskingum River Plant an award for outstanding pollution-prevention efforts on Oct. 27, 1999, he praised the company for voluntarily cutting waste and emissions.
Exactly a week later, the plant was a target of lawsuits filed by eight eastern states, environmental groups and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Muskingum River was among the nation's oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants violating the Clean Air Act, the lawsuit said.
For eight years, while the lawsuit proceeded to the record multibillion-dollar settlement announced this week, the Ohio EPA sat on the sidelines. The state had no voice in an agreement that will make Ohio's air cleaner and affect jobs and electricity rates.
Courtesy of the Columbus Dispatch blog The Daily Briefing, here is Rep. Dave Hobson (R-Springfield) on the SCHIP veto:
"I don't know who's advising him up there, but the president is really out of touch," Hobson said in the morning edition of Congress Daily last week. "It's too little, too late for him to be a fiscal conservative. He should have vetoed the (2002) farm bill ... now he's against the SCHIP bill, he wants $190 billion more for the war, but he's picking a fight over $23 billion?"
The Ohio Health Care Policy Review notes today that the average annual health care cost for a typical family of four is about $14,500, an increase of 8.4% over last year. (That is a lower increase than for the several preceding years, but still outstrips inflation and average wage growth.)
Opponents of SCHIP expansion keep asserting that the proposed eligibility limit of 300% of the federal poverty limit (which translates to about $60,000 for a family of four) means that program would cover middle-class people who can afford to buy their own health insurance. Putting aside the fact that the SCHIP expansion is needed for families whose children have pre-existing conditions, which means that their health care costs could be above average, let's see if that family of four living on $60,000 has enough money to buy health insurance.
Middle-income Americans pay about 40% of their income in federal, state, and local taxes, so after taxes our family has $36,000 left. Average Americans pay about 20% of their income for housing, so that leaves $24,000. Food? Well, a few years ago the average household spent 13.5% of its income on food, so that leaves about $16,000. The average expenditure for transportation is about 6% of income, so that leaves ...
$12,400! Less than the average cost of health care! And we haven't even considered clothing, saving for college, school supplies, non-health insurance, and everything else!
Mr. Vice President, there are times for politicians and times for heroes. America and the Earth need a hero right now -- someone who will transcend politics as usual and bring real hope to our country and to the world.
CBS News has just posted this story, speculating about whether Gore might jump in if he wins the Nobel Peace Prize to be announced tomorrow in Oslo, Norway:
"Winning a Nobel Peace Prize is a life changing event," said Dylan Malone, who runs a Web site called AlGore.org, which advocates a Gore presidential run. "If he wins (the Nobel), he will undoubtedly reassess the situation and think, 'Where do I go next?' He's done the slideshow, made the movie, won every accolade that our society has to give. There's nowhere else to go to take it to the next level in my mind."
However, if Gore's going to do it, he must act quickly or he will lose his chance. Chris Bowers explained Tuesday on Open Left that Gore only has about two weeks before registration deadlines for primaries slam his window of opportunity shut (quoting from a Newsweek item):
And any "Shermanesque" decision from Gore will come between now and two weeks from today, October 23rd:
Even most diehard Gore supporters agree the next few weeks are do-or-die for a Gore candidacy. The New York state petition drive must gather 5,000 signatures during a short legal window between Halloween and early December. Gore supporters in Michigan launched a petition drive last week that must secure 12,396 valid signatures by Oct.
Here is the TV ad by the American Federation of State, County, and Municial Employees targeting Rep. Steve Chabot (R-West Wood) over his vote against the bipartisan SCHIP expansion bill vetoed by Bush:
AFSCME is targeting eight members of Congress. “This is the biggest fight we have had on a domestic issue since the showdown over President Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security,” said Chuck Loveless, Legislative Director for AFSCME. “President Bush has essentially told American kids to drop dead, and we are not going to let that happen.
This comforting, gauzy notion the White House is promoting that things have turned for the better in Iraq due to the "surge" and the leadership of Gen. David Petraeus is pure nonsense. Today in Iraq (as noted by Prof. Juan Cole at Informed Consent):
Guerrilla violence left at least 57 dead in Iraq on Tuesday, with 22 killed in two truck bombings in the northern refinery city of Baiji. The violence left nearly 120 wounded. (The attacks in Baiji appear to have targeted a tribal sheikh allied with the US.)
A private security firm based in Kuwait killed two women in a car, which apparently did not slow down as they had ordered.
In the northern big city of Mosul, gunmen assassinated the deputy chief of police.
From the AFL/CIO Blog:
This agreement was made possible because UAW workers made it clear to Chrysler that we needed an agreement that rewards the contributions they have made to the success of this company.
UAW Vice President General Holiefield, who heads the union’s Chrysler department, added:
Once again, teamwork in the leadership and solidarity in the ranks has produced an agreement that protects jobs for our communities and also protects wages, pensions, and health care for our active and retired members.
Details of the agreement are being withheld, pending ratification votes by rank-and-file UAW members at Chrysler. But published reports had indicated the two sides were stuck on the company’s demand for health care concessions. Also at issue was the union’s desire for job security pledges at U.S. factories and Chrysler’s wish to contract out some work now done by union members.
If this agreement tracks the UAW/GM agreement, it could be a very good thing. We will have to wait until the details are revealed.
This is a let-down. The Ohio Senate today unanimously passed a resolution sponsored by Sen. Tom Niehaus (R-New Richmond) that calls on Congress to renew the SCHIP program, but Democratic amendments to insert language that would directly address President Bush's veto of the bipartisan bill to expand SCHIP by $35 billion over five years, and to file an amicus brief in support of multi-state legislation to challenge restrictive new SCHIP rules, were both rejected along party lines (19-12).
Senate Democratic Leader Terea Fedor denounced the result:
“Our amendments were not adopted because the Senate Republicans lacked the courage to stand up to President Bush by urging Congress to override his veto. Simply reauthorizing SCHIP at its current level will not fulfill our budgetary obligation to expand SCHIP coverage to children and families up to 300% of poverty.
SCHIP has always generated bipartisan support. When we voted for the state budget in June, we all voted for a federal expansion of SCHIP, including President Harris and Speaker Husted. It is time to stop playing politics and make access to health care coverage for all children a top priority.”
Republican leadership in the legislature is bending to pressure from hard-core right-wingers and loyal Bush foot soldiers (like U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-West Chester)) despite a majority of Ohio's Republican members of Congress voting for the expansion, and the General Assembly unanimously approving expansion of Ohio's Medicaid program in the state's biennial budget in reliance upon the SCHIP expansion.
They have no spine, even when it comes to providing health insurance to Ohio's uninsured children.
The Columbus Dispatch blog The Daily Briefing reports that the Ohio House voted overwhelmingly today (82-13) to ban the slot machine-like games that have been proliferating at bars, restaurants, and race tracks in Ohio:
The bill would ban cash payouts from the games, or ban any tournament, including those for Golden Tee machines, darts or pool, where the house takes a cut of the proceeds. Banning tournament play, Speaker Jon Husted said, was necessary to avoid the next generation of games, where machine manufacturers get around the law by calling the games tournaments. ...
[T]he bill now heads to the Senate, where President Bill M. Harris, R-Ashland, has expressed support for the measure ...
The bill passed as an emergency measure, which means it take effect immediately after Gov. Ted Strickland signs it. That would block any attempt to go to the ballot and overturn the law through a referendum.
This reads like a big victory for Gov. Ted Strickland (D) and Attorney General Marc Dann (D), whose efforts to ban the games by executive order have been stymied in the courts due to ineffective language in the controlling statute on gambling.
Hallelujah. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) is still unhappy with the bill (because it omits children of legal immigrants per the request of Republican senators), but he says that "the president has to be held to an accounting."
A shooting spree has just occurred at SuccessTech Acadmey, an alternative high school in downtown Cleveland. Five people were taken to the hospital:
Students stood outside the building, many in tears and on cell phones. Family members also stood outside, anxiously waiting for their children to be released.
"I'm scared. I'm hoping no more people got hurt," Jackson said.
Tammy Mundy, 38, who has a son and daughter at the school, told The Plain Dealer of Cleveland that her daughter called when the shooting started.
"She said, 'Mom they're shooting in here, kids are running out, I'm hiding in the closet,'" Mundy told the newspaper.
Then she called her 18-year-old son, Darnell Rodgers, on his cell phone, and he told her he had been shot in the arm.
"He said, 'Mom I got shot,'" Mundy told the newspaper.
This madness has got to stop. There are too many guns on the streets. Teenagers should not have such an easy time obtaining deadly weapons.
On a related point, the law passed last year that forbids local governments from devising gun regulations to meet their own needs (HB 347) is outrageous. I fervently hope that the Ohio Supreme Court overturns it in the case it recently agreed to hear -- but with the Justices we have now I am not holding my breath.
Jennifer Stewart (D-Zanesville), a member and vice president of the Ohio State Board of Education (9th District), has filed to run for the 94th Ohio House District seat that is being vacated by term-limited Rep. Jim Aslanides (R-Coshocton). The district includes all of Coshocton County and much of Muskingum County. Aslanides won re-election in 2006 over Aaron Phillips (D-Zanesville) with 53.29% of the vote.
A news story in the Zanesville Times Recorder profiled the candidate:
[A] former Zanesville City Schools teacher, [Stewart] is also past president of the Zanesville City Board of Education, former chair of the local Goodwill organization and past president of the Mid-East Ohio Vocational School Board. In 2004, she was named the Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education's Person of the Year.
"As a full-time legislator, I will work hard to improve the conditions that will promote job creation and enhance the quality of life for our citizens," Stewart said. "My goals are to strengthen educational opportunities, workforce training, health care, home ownership and property values so we can build a strong economic base for our region."
The Zanesville High School graduate earned her bachelor's degree from Muskingum College and a master's degree from The Ohio State University. Jennifer and her husband of 36 years, Bill Stewart, have five children, Brian, Amy, Allison, Jessica and David.
Stewart was a candidate in the 18th Congressional District Primary Election in May, 2006, placing second behind eventual general election winner Zack Space (D-Dover): Zack Space 39%, Jennifer Stewart 26%, Chillicothe Mayor Joe Sulzer 24%, frequent candidate Ralph Applegate 12%.
In his latest set of House ratings, prognosticator Stuart Rothenberg calls the 15th Ohio Congressional District race "Toss Up/Tilt Democratic." Democratic candidate Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Columbus) is still waiting for a Republican candidate to emerge about two months after incumbent Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Upper Arlington) announced that she would retire.
Rothenberg also calls OH-1 (Rep. Chabot (R)), OH-2 (Rep. Schmidt (R)), and OH-16 (Rep. Regula (R)) "Lean Republican" and OH-18 (Rep. Space (D)) "Lean Democratic." All the other Ohio races are regarded as being of limited risk to the incumbent party, skipping over the category of "Favored" to either party. This apparently included the special election in OH-5.
I'm disappointed that OH-14 didn't make it at least into "Republican Favored." Bill O'Neill (D) is a strong candidate with a good fund-raising start, running against a potentially vulnerable incumbent in Rep. Steve LaTourette (R).
UPDATE: The Evans-Novak Political Report confirms Rothenberg by rating the 15th District "Likely Democratic Takeover." Novak suggests the GOP "may have given up on the seat."
Matt Parker, campaign manager for State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green), reports that the Ohio Elections Commission found probable cause on Latta's compaint against State Sen. Steve Buehrer (R-Delta) alleging false statements by a 3-0 vote. A statement from the Latta campaign is pending.
UPDATE: Here is the statement from the Latta campaign:
Campaign Manager Matt Parker commented, “I am pleased that the Ohio Elections Commission ruled unanimously to move forward with our complaint. The Club for Growth has a history of using unethical campaign tactics. Just last month they were fined $350,000 by the FEC for failing to properly report contributions. It should be no surprise to anyone that they are now under investigation for making false statements about Bob Latta.”
Parker continued, “The truth is, Bob Latta is a rock solid conservative who protects our wallets. He has won three Watchdog of the Treasury Awards and has been Ohio’s leading advocate against the Death Tax. Club for Growth and the Buehrer campaign are not going to get away with distorting Bob Latta’s record.”
The full hearing on this complaint will most likely be heard on October 18th.
2nd UPDATEThe Club for Growth responds:
As the Club for Growth PAC stipulated in its statement to the Ohio Elections Commission, we stand by our assertion that our representation of Bob Latta’s voting record in our press release is completely accurate. Indeed, the official analysis by the Ohio Legislative Budget office, consistent with our press release, describes the 1998 legislation as a sales tax increase, as did Bob Latta’s own lawyer in a 1998 press release when he was the executive director of National Taxpayers Union of Ohio.
A new Ohio poll just out from Quinnipiac University pegs Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) at a 46%-40% advantage over former mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) in a head-to-head match up, basically unchanged from her 47%-40% advantage last month. Clinton has a favorability rating of 49% favorable/42% unfavorable, while the Republican front-runner is at 42%/33%. Clinton's rating has improved, but she has yet to break through the critical 50% mark. Her unfavorable number is very high, but because she is so well known it may have peaked.
In the primary contests, Clinton has a commanding lead at 47% while Sen. Barack Obama is at 19% and Sen. John Edwards is at 11%. Giuliani leads the Republicans by a slimmer margin at 29% while new-comer Fred Thompson is t 17%, Sen. John McCain is at 10%, and Mitt Romney is at 8%.
The poll also shows Clinton beating the other major GOP contenders, McCain (48%-38%), Thompson (50%-36%), and Romney (51%/34%). However, the other two top-tier Democratic candidates also lead their GOP counterparts, and overall Edwards performs the best:
* Obama tops Giuliani 44 - 38 percent, McCain 43 - 39 percent, Thompson 44 - 33 percent and Romney 47 - 31 percent;
* Edwards bests Giuliani 46 - 36 percent, McCain 46 - 35 percent, Thompson 48 - 31 percent and Romney 50 - 28 percent.
Favorability ratings for the other candidates are 45%/26% for Obama; 47%/26% for Edwards;40%/28% for McCain; 23%/19% for Thompson; and 19%/22% for Romney.
These results show Clinton maintaining her lead over Giuliani and consolidating her lead over her Democratic rivals. The GOP field is still very fluid, and of course these early polls are subject to big changes as lesser-known candidates get more name recognition and especially when the early caucuses and primaries occur.
The Concerned Women Political Action Committee (CWPAC) has announced its support for State Sen. Steve Buehrer (R-Delta) in the 5th Congressional District special primary. CWPAC is affiliated with Concerned Women for America, a group that claims to be the nation's largest public policy women's organization with over 500,000 grassroots members.
CWPAC identifies itself as "a conservative voice for traditional values." The announcement praises Buehrer as having "a proven and truly outstanding record on issues of concern to traditional values voters."
Buehrer has also received the nod of the Williams County Republican Party Central Committee. This comes as no surprise as Williams County is in the western part of the district that is Buehrer's home base.