OH House-84: Crockett (D) Off and Running

In 2006 dynamic campaigner Connie Crockett (D-Yellow Springs) won 40% of the vote against entrenched incumbent Chris Widener (R-Springfield). Now it's an open seat and Crockett is gunning for it. From the press release:

On Sunday, December 30th, Connie Crockett announced her candidacy for State Representative in the 84th District of the Ohio House of Representatives. The announcement was made to a large crowd of supporters gathered at the historic Howard House in London, Ohio.

Crockett will run as a Strickland-style Democrat, emphasizing her priorities of strengthening our local economy, improving health care by increasing quality, lowering costs, and providing affordable access to prescription drugs, and ensuring both a high-quality education for our children and the opportunities to succeed after graduation.

“We are educating smart young people who are leaving the state for jobs elsewhere,” said Crockett. “We need to provide opportunities for their fresh ideas to thrive here at home. I want to ensure that Clark, Greene and Madison counties have a place at the table, and will work hard to build a better future for all of us.”

Crockett, a descendant of folk hero Davy Crockett, is a longtime resident and officeholder in Greene County.

Crockett will face the winner of the GOP primary between Madison County Commissioner Bob Hackett and Assistant Prosecutor Craig Saunders.

Roll Call: "GOP Facing Tough Open-Seat Primaries in Ohio"

Shira Toeplitz reports on subscription-only Roll Call that Ohio Republicans are now looking at competitive and potentially divisive primaries in all three seats that came because of retirements (Rep. Hobson in OH-07, Rep. Pryce in OH-15, and Rep. Regula in OH-16):

“We were very fortunate to have one of the most senior delegations. ... We’ve been able to have a very powerful delegation,” said Ohio Republican Party Deputy Chairman Kevin DeWine. “Unfortunately, three of them have decided to retire at the same time.”

No fewer than three Republicans have filed to run to fill Regula’s 16th district seat. Ashland County Commissioner Matt Miller, online radio host Paul Schiffer and state Sen. Kirk Schuring hope to win the Republican nod to take on state Sen. John Boccieri, who is considered a top Democratic recruit.

In Hobson’s 7th district, election filings show Republicans state Sen. Steve Austria, former state Rep. Ron Hood and Clark County Republican Chairman Dan Harkins as running for the seat. ...

The race for Pryce’s seat has proved the least contentious for Republicans, as they have recruited what they consider to be a top-tier candidate in state Sen. Steve Stivers. Yet Stivers must first defeat Ohio State University economics professor Robert Wagner in the GOP race before facing 2006 Democratic nominee Mary Jo Kilroy in November.

Meanwhile, Rep. Jean Schmidt (R) faces two former elected officials in the Republican primary as she tries to hold onto the seat she won by about 2,500 votes in 2006. ...

However, DeWine said he anticipates a greater challenge for Schmidt in the general election ...

“I just think Jean’s nature is that she’ll always have an interesting time in the general election,” he said. “Despite the makeup of the district, I don’t think Jean will ever have a free pass.”

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

Some items of interest while we await the New Hampshire primary with bated breath (yes, it's "bated," not "baited" - I checked):

OH-01: Third Candidate - There is a third candidate in the mix along with Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Westwood) and opponent State Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill). His name is Rich Stevenson and he's running as a non-partisan independent, attacking career politicians and pledging to serve only two terms. If it is a close race as expected an independent could affect the outcome, although it is hard to say at this point what impact Stevenson would have.

OH-02: Debate Challenge Issued - Steve Black (D-Indian Hill) is challenging repeat candidate Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) to "a minimum of seven" debates before the March 4th primary. "Unfortunately, we now live in a world where politicians rely on 30 second sound-bites and slick slogans to communicate with voters," Black wrote to Wulsin in a letter. "Voters deserve better. The time has come for a substantive discussion about the issues that affect people's daily lives." By the way, a Democrat named Willaim R. Smith filed in this race, along with independent Nathan W. Bailey.

OH-05: Latta's Two Challengers - Scott Radcliffe (R-Perrysburg) was serving in Iraq during the special election. "“The people of northwest Ohio have always been so great while I was over there,” Radcliffe says. “I just wanted to give back to them. Service was just the best way to give back to them. I’d like to go to Washington and serve them well. That’s just a continuation of my service.” The other challenger, retiree Michael Reynolds (R-Columbus Grove), filed for the special election GOP primary but his petitions were disqualified. Better luck this time?

OH-06: Race Previewed - A piece in the Athens Messenger gives a quick preview of this race. Richard "Dick" Stobbs (R-Dillonvale) is a Viet Nam and one-term sheriff who placed fourth in the 2006 GOP primary behind then-Ohio House Speaker Chuck Blasdel, Danny Harmon, and Tim Ginter (now running for Ohio Senate against Charlie Wilson's son Jason). Wilson will campaign on his credentials as a state legislator and congressman, the latter now including sponsoring legislation to amend the National Housing Act to promote fair appraisals in connection with mortgages insured under the FHA single-family mortgage insurance program and co-sponsoring bills to increase in the federal minimum wage and reduce interest rates for education loans.

OH-07: Wide Open Primaries - This should be fun -- four Republicans, six Democrats. On the Democratic side, I see from Dr. Richard Wyderski's LinkedIn profile that he is Associate Program Director of Internal Medicine Residency and Chair of Continuing Medical Education at Miami Valley Hospital. Sharen Neuhardt is a partner at Thompson Hines and leader of the firm's Corporate Transactions and Securities practice group. These are a couple of high-power professionals.

OH-08: Two Oppose Boehner - The House Speaker draws not one but two potential Democratic opponents, Nicholas Vonstein (D) and 2006 candidate Mort Meier (D-Hamilton). I don't know anything about Vonstein yet, but Meier is a scrappy retired stock broker who was a Republican until George W. Bush was elected president.

OH-09: Familiar Names in GOP Primary - Bradley Leavitt (R-Toledo) and Ed Emery (R-Sylvania) also duked it out in 2006, with Leavitt prevailing and losing to Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) in the general election.

OH-12: What The World Needs Now - Columbus-area attorney Marc Fagin, one of four Democrats hoping to oust Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-Westerville), told the Newark Advocate that if he could narrow his message down to one word, it would be "kindness." Interesting. From a lawyer, no less. I love it!

OH-13: Sutton's Opponent Thinks State Sen. Kevin Coughlin (R) is "Squirelly" - That's what Joseph reported on Plunderbund in August about Frances L. Kalapodis (R), who filed to oppose Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Copley Twp) along with restaurant owner Frank Chestney (R-New Brunswick) and David Potter (R).

OH-17: Sen. Ryan? - The Plain Dealer has a profile of Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles) today, written by Sabrina Eaton, in which she portrays him as the future of the Democratic party and probably our next U.S. Senator. (I'm okay with that.) The funny part of the article is GOP shills trying to find ways to disparage him. A reader emailed me to point out that there are other terrific Democratic prospects for the U.S. Senate, with Treasurer Rich Cordray (D) as a case in point. Fine. I have no problem with that scenario, either!

McGovern (D) Calls For Impeachment

The first political campaign for which I volunteered (before I could even vote) was the 1972 presidential bid by then-senator George McGovern (D-SD). Today the Washington Post published his stirring call for the impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney. Some excerpts:

From the beginning, the Bush-Cheney team's assumption of power was the product of questionable elections that probably should have been officially challenged -- perhaps even by a congressional investigation.

In a more fundamental sense, American democracy has been derailed throughout the Bush-Cheney regime. The dominant commitment of the administration has been a murderous, illegal, nonsensical war against Iraq. That irresponsible venture has killed almost 4,000 Americans, left many times that number mentally or physically crippled, claimed the lives of an estimated 600,000 Iraqis (according to a careful October 2006 study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) and laid waste their country. The financial cost to the United States is now $250 million a day and is expected to exceed a total of $1 trillion, most of which we have borrowed from the Chinese and others as our national debt has now climbed above $9 trillion -- by far the highest in our national history.

All of this has been done without the declaration of war from Congress that the Constitution clearly requires, in defiance of the U.N. Charter and in violation of international law. This reckless disregard for life and property, as well as constitutional law, has been accompanied by the abuse of prisoners, including systematic torture, in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. ...

Making A List, Checking It Twice

I will not be posting very much over the next few days as I focus my efforts on gathering information about candidates who filed at boards of election across all 88 counties. Although I won't be posting here, I'll be updating the information on the ODB candidates list. Please note that this year the list will include county offices from Ohio's twelve largest counties as well as Courts of Appeals.

So far I have worked my way through lists of filings from Cuyahoga, Stark, Franklin, Summit, Lake and a few other counties. There have been a number of surprises, but I want to get the list in good shape before taking much time to comment on things here on the front page. Just a few quick examples of newsy bits:

* Reps. Boccieri (D) and Space (D) have primary challengers that I had not heard or read about, neither a familiar name: Mary Cirelli (D) and Mark Pitrone (D), respectively. [CORRECTION! Cirelli is indeed a "familiar name." She is a former state legislator and county commissioner as well as a current member of Canton City Council.]

* Mike Todd (D-Medina) didn't file for the 22nd Ohio Senate District after campaigning a long time for it. He will run for County Treasurer and 2006 Ohio House candidate James E. Riley (D) will oppose State Rep. Bob Gibbs (R) for the open seat.

* As rumored yesterday, Doug Nagy (D) did not file in the 63rd Ohio House District, leaving assistant prosecutor Mark Schneider (D) as the opponent for State Rep. Carol-Ann Schindel (R) in that key race.

* 2006 candidate Bev Campbell (D) did file in the 20th Ohio House District, setting up a primary with Nancy Garland (D) to determine who will face incumbent Jim McGregor.

OH Sen-2: Two Democrats File

As of the 4:00PM deadline, two Democratic challengers had filed nominating petitions in Ohio General Assembly Senate District 2.

Jeff had previously mentioned teacher and school board member Sylvia Washburn (D-Maumee) who was recruited by Democratic Senate caucus leader Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) after her previous choice, Sandusky attorney Daniel McGookey decided against running. Wood County Democratic Party activist Justin Zollars had considered entering this race. The good news is that Justin is working on the campaign of Gordon Heminger (D-Bowling Green) for County Clerk of Courts, (who also had decided against running for this seat.)

Today, according to the Wood County Board of Elections, Darwitt R. Garrett of Sandusky has also filed for this race. Mr. Garrett is a precinct committee representative of the Erie County Democratic Party, of which Mr. McGookey is vice -chair.

At the present time, Democrats control 12 out of 33 Senate seats in the General Assembly, as compared with 46 out of 99 members in the Ohio House.

Ohio Go Run applications now open

I've written about The White House Project for over a year now. It's a group that:
aims to advance women’s leadership in all communities and sectors, up to the U.S. presidency. By filling the leadership pipeline with a richly diverse, critical mass of women, we make American institutions, businesses and government truly representative. Through multi-platform programs, The White House Project creates a culture where America’s most valuable untapped resource—women—can succeed in all realms.

And now its signature training program, Go Run, is coming to Ohio.

What Go Run is:
Go Run is a weekend long training dedicated to equipping you, the future candidate, with the skills to run and win. The training aims to demystify the political process and inspire a richly diverse group of women in to the leadership pipeline. Go Run provides the nuts and bolts of running for political office by focusing on areas like communications, fundraising, and campaigning - skills you can use in your work and in your community up to the day you decide to run!

When: The weekend of June 6-8, 2008

Where: The Riffe Center and the Hyatt in Columbus

Link to application is here.

Have questions? E-mail me, leave a comment or contact Faith Winter at fwinter@thewhitehouseproject.org or call 303-871-6779.

But most importantly, if you're a woman, think about applying yourself, or asking or convincing other women to apply.

Enormous props to the group of Ohio women and White House Project folks whom I've gotten to know over the last few months in the effort to get this training here.

Hamilton County Parties Make Deal to Limit Contested Races

My initial reaction to this is very negative. The Enquirer reports that the county parties have made an agreement to give various county office candidates a free pass. Short version, former congressional and city council candidate Greg Harris (D) will not oppose Clerk of Courts Greg Hartmann (R) in his bid for county commissioner; County Commissioner Todd Portune (D) won't face an endorsed opponent (it would have been Green Township Trustee Tracy Winkler (R)), although he still faces unendorsed opponent Ed Rothenberg (R); and prosecutor Joe Deters (R) and ten Common Pleas Judges will also get a free pass.

This kind of deal-making is part of the asserted basis for the bid by State Sen. Kevin Coughlin (R-Cuyahoga Falls) to unseat Summit County GOP boss Alex Arshinkoff. I'm not very comfortable about aligning myself with Coughlin, and one can recite economies and efficiencies that could be gained by such arrangements, but frankly it strikes me as a dangerous abuse of power. The point of democratic government is for voters to have the opportunity to decide who represents them, and such incursions into that right should ring lots of alarm bells. It's true that individuals can step outside the party system and run as independents, but as a practical matter political parties have a lot of clout - in many cases they can effectively stifle electoral challenges. Let's hope they are not doing too much damage to democracy ideals in this instance. That depends, I suppose, on whether the deal prevents close races that otherwise would have occurred, which is hard to assess.

OH House-54: School Levy Critic Files as Democrat

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that school board member and ardent school levy opponent Arnie Engel of Fairfield has filed nominating petitions to run for the 54th Ohio House District seat of State Rep. Eric Combs (R-Fairfield) as a Democrat. However, he will not be seeking the endorsement of the Demcratic Party, because he has disagreed in the past with party leaders about school tax levies. Engel says that "schools will be my No. 1 issue."

Combs' 2006 opponent Ken Keith (D-Hamilton) is also going to run.

OH-14: Does LaTourette (R) Agree About Staying in Iraq For 100 Years?

Last night Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said it would be just fine with him if the U.S. keeps troops in Iraq for another 100 years:

Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Twp) has endorsed McCain for president. Is LaTourette on board with McCain's century-long military presence in Iraq position? I'm just wondering. Because I'm pretty sure that Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell) wants us to get our troops out. Like the two-thirds of voters who want us out within a year.

PS: I believe that this is the first time that I have had occasion to write about Rep. LaTourette since he complained to the Plain Dealer about my participation in the group blog "Wide Open," resulting in my termination. If he wants to complain to my boss again ... well, that would be me. He can call any time. And then maybe he can tell me his position on U.S. troops still being in Iraq when the two of us are both long dead.

OH-07: Hood (R) Announces Run

The path of anointed successor State Sen. Steve Austria (R-Beavercreek) to succeed his mentor, retiring Rep. Dave Hobson (R-Springfield), just got a LOT rockier, with former state representative Ron Hood (R-Asheville) announcing last night that he is running. Hood's entry brings to four the number of confirmed GOP candidates, the others being attorney and county GOP chair Dan Harkins (R-Springfield) and retired USAF pilot John Mitchel (R-Beavercreek).

The story in today's Dayton Business Journal makes it clear that Hood will run an agressive primary challenge from the right:

"I'm running for Congress because I believe we need to restore the core conservative values of the Republican Party to our state and our country," Hood said in the announcement. "I have always defended life, traditional marriage and the Constitution -- including the Second Amendment." ...

Until mid-October, Hood worked for the National Right To Work Committee, a nonprofit that "combats compulsory unionism" and enlists public support for Right to Work legislation, according to its mission statement.

Ohio Sen. John Carey, R-Wellston, who has endorsed Austria for the U.S. Congress, said Hood is known for running an extremely aggressive campaign, with strong grassroots support from the National Right To Work Committee.

OH Sen-20: Waiting for Shriver (D) and/or Richards (D) to File

ODP Chair Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island) has indicated that the 20th Ohio Senate District represents one of the Democrats' best pickup opportunities in that chamber, with bankruptcy-plagued incumbent State Sen. Joy Padgett (R-Coshocton) retiring and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) and Gov. Ted Strickland (D) having done well here in 2006. State Rep. Jimmy Stewart (R-Athens) is the GOP candidate, but nobody has yet filed on the Democratic side.

Today, with the 4:00 p.m. filing deadline fast approaching, the suspense is whether it will be Morgan County Commissioner Rick Shriver (D) or 2004 congressional primary contender Paul E. Richards (D-Glouster), or perhaps both. The two have been circulating nominating petitions.

Jim Phillips reports in the Athens News today that Shriver has been heavily recruited by party leaders in Columbus and Washington, including Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) and Gov. Strickland (D). Shriver is president of the county commission and teaches communications at Ohio University in Zanesville. He is also a former Fulbright fellow.

Richards is a union carpenter who won over 22,000 votes in 2004 in the 18th Congressional District, losing the primary to Brian Thomas. He told Phillips that he might not stay in the race if there is to be a primary.

Classy Biden (D) Exit Speech

New front-runner Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) isn't the only one to make a great speech last night. The nine minute farewell address by Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) really was one of the classiest I have ever heard. Poised, sincere, grateful, but proud and inspiring at the same time - truly worth watching. As Biden said, it was a great night to be a Democrat:

OH-02: Bailey (R) Joins Race

According to Politics Extra, Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) has drawn a third primary opponent in Nathan W. Bailey (R), but Google searching reveals nothing about him -- can any readers help?

News and Notes: General Assembly Races UPDATED

Late breaking developments on filing day:

OH House-41: Cole (R) to Oppose Williams (D) - Randy Cole (R-West Akron), who ran unsuccessfully for county council in 2004 and for city council in 2007, will run against State Rep. Brian Williams (D-Akron). President of web site developer GovTech Solutions, Cole said that his "relationships with government, business and community leaders" and his prior experience as an administrator for two county engineers and as a legislative aide and budget analyst in the Ohio General Assembly make him "uniquely qualified to address the important issues" in the district.

OH House-50: Hagan (R) to Run for County Office - Term-limited incumbent John Hagan (R-Marlboro Twp) will run for Stark County Commissioner, while his daughter Cristina runs for his former House seat. She will face a primary challenge from attorney Todd Snitchler (R-Lake Township) and perhaps Lee Strad (R-Pike Township). ODP Chair Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island) regards this as a top pickup opportunity because the Republican lean of the district is modest (PVI R+3.7) and Strickland and Brown did well here in 2006. The names I've read about on the Democratic side are Adam E. Artimez (D-Lake Township) and Martin Olson (D-Lake Township).

OH-House 54: Keith (D) to Oppose Combs (R) - Ken Keith (D-Hamilton) will run against State Rep. Courtney Combs (R-Fairfield) again, having done well in 2006 by winning 42.84% of the vote in this heavily Republican district (PVI R+12.3).

OH House-55: Klimek (D) Will Run - Political newcomer Anthony Klimek (D) will oppose State Rep. Coley (R-Middletown) in this Republican stronghold (PVI R+16.8).

OH House-63: Nagy (D) Out? - It appears that former legislative aide Doug Nagy (D-Mentor) may have decided not to file, clearing the Democratic field for assistant prosecutor Mark Schneider (D). First-term State Rep. Carol-Ann Schindel (R-Leroy Twp) is apparently unopposed on the GOP side. H/t/ BSB.

OH House-65: Harwood (D) Faces Two Primary Challengers - According to a story today in the Tribune Chroncle, personal injury attorney Mike Harshman (D), well-known locally from his TV commercials, has joined pilot and air reservist John D. Williams (D-Liberty Twp) as challengers to three-term incumbent Sandra Stabile Harwood (D-Niles). Harshman, who is reportedly a close friend and campaign fund-raiser for Attorney General Marc Dann (D-Liberty Twp), had previously expressed interest in the seat when Harwood was mentioned for a judicial post. The GOP candidate is Lyle Waddell (R-Newton Falls).

OH Sen-4: Two Democrats to Oppose Cates (R) - Retired businesswoman Kathryn Bridgman (D-West Chester) has filed to run against incumbent State Sen. Gary Cates (R-West Chester), and Victor Rivera (D-Fairield) is expected to file as well. 4th District is in Butler County in southeast Ohio and includes the 53rd, 54th, and 55th Ohio House Districts, all Republican-held. It leans strongly Republican (PVI R+13).

OH Sen-12: Kaffenberger (I) Will Run - Jack Kaffenberger (I-Rossberg), who ran unsuccessfully against Jim Jordan (R-Urbana) in this district in 2000, has filed to run against State Sen. Keith Faber (R-Celina).

OH-10: Cimperman (D), Other Challengers Raise Big Money Against Kucinich (D)

Mark Naymik posted an eye-popping item on the Openers blog last night about fund-raising in the 10th Ohio Congressional District. He reports that city council member Joe Cimperman (D-Cleveland) has raised $226,000 in just about one month, and Rosemary Palmer (D-Cleveland) has raised about $130,000 since she started campaigning last summer. The other challengers are not quite so flush -- Barbara Anne Ferris (D-Cleveland) has raised about $35,000 and Mayor Tom O'Grady (D-North Olmsted) about $30,000.

That's a total of about $421,000 amassed against Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland), who does not appear to have given his congressional re-election campaign much thought at all. However, Naymik reports that he plans to have a campaign kickoff event at the North Shore AFL/CIO headquarters on Wednesday.

Biden (D) and Dodd (D) Dropping Out

It's a massacre for the second tier. Suddenly we have only the top three plus Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, and Mike Gravel.

Richardson only got 2%, but he did place fourth. From an email message to supporters:

"We made it to the final four," Richardson said. "My staff and volunteers worked their hearts out to get us here. Now we are going to take the fight to New Hampshire."

Turnout among Democrats overall was huge, turnout among young voters was huge, and the message of the evening is the voters overwhelmingly want change.

Obama (D) Scores with Triumphant Speech

Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) just amplified his dramatic victory in the Iowa caucuses by giving a soaring, inspiring victory speech reminiscent of his 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address. Calling for a "coalition for change" and telling Iowa voters that they had sent a message for change and unity, Obama established a visceral connection with his audience and created a powerful sense of history in the making. With the momentum and confidence of this early victory at his back, we may be seeing Obama emerge as the kind of transformational, post-partisan candidate for which many had been hoping:

OH Sen-2: Washburn (D) to File

Board of Education member Sylvia Washburn (D-Maumee) was collecting signatures tonight and plans to file nominating petitions tomorrow to run for the 2nd Ohio Senate District seat of term-limited State Sen. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green). Gardner is expected to be appointed to the vacated 6th Ohio House District seat of Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green), with well-funded State Rep. Mark Wagoner (R-Ottawa Hills) replacing Gardner as state senator.

OH House-28: Incumbent Raussen (R) Pulls Petitions for Hamilton County Office

Today's game of musical chairs among GOP candidates for Hamilton County offices has apparently converted the 28th Ohio House District into an open seat race, as incumbent Rep. Jim Raussen (R-Springdale) has reportedly pulled petitions to run for Hamilton County Clerk of Courts.

Earlier in the day it was reported that the current clerk of courts, 2006 secretary of state candidate Greg Hartmann (R), will run for county commissioner instead of re-election, and current county commissioner Pat DeWine (R) will run for Common Pleas Judge. It was thought that former state senator Patricia Clancy (R) would run for the clerk of courts post. However, it now appears that Rep. Raussen will seek that office, and City Councilman Rick Bryan (R-Blue Ash) will run for state representative in the 28th District.

If so, this development is a huge boost for second-time candidate Connie Pillich (D-Montgomery), who gained an impressive 48% of the vote against Raussen in 2006. With the benefit of name recognition from her prior campaign and running for an open seat instead of against an incumbent, Pillich's bid in the 28th District becomes one of the very best pickup opportunities for the Democratic Party in the Ohio House of Representatives.

OH-05: Weirauch (D) to Run for Henry County Commissioner

Three-time congressional candidate Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) will pass on the 2008 race against newly-elected Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green). She attended tonight's OH-05 District caucus collecting nominating signatures for Henry County Commissioner, which she will file tomorrow.

Weirauch spoke briefly to the crowd and was very well received by the Party faithful. She was positive, upbeat and optimistic. It was great to see her and her husband Bruce in such good spirits. (She's doing a LOT better than I would be!) We wish her the best in her race and will have more coverage in the days ahead.

Obama (D) Wins Iowa!

CNN has just projected that Obama will win. Youth vote is very heavy.

Clinton is struggling for second, still a point behind Edwards. Whether she squeaks into second or not, the "aura of inevitability" is now officially gone. Either she produces a major comeback in the style of her husband in 1992, or we're looking at a tight three-way race going into New Hampshire and subsequent states.

UPDATE: Taegan Goddard notes that "more than half of caucus goers younger than 29 years old are backing Obama; nearly half those over 65 back Clinton." Wow. That's a huge generational divide.

The Politico says that Dodd, having failed to finish fourth, may announce tomorrow in Hartford that he is dropping out.

2nd UPDATE: EDWARDS WILL FINISH SECOND - Although Edwards and Clinton appear to be tied for second at 10:00 p.m. with 1660 of 1781 precincts reporting, most of the remaining votes are from Johnson County/Iowa City, which figure to be from younger voters and therefore not as good for Clinton as elsewhere:

Obama : 37.30%
Edwards : 29.95%
Clinton : 29.54%

Edwards will hang on for second place, just ahead of Clinton.

3rd UPDATE: FINAL TALLY - At 10:30 p.m., with almost all the precincts reporting, Obama wins by a decisive 7 1/2 point margin (buoyed by strong turnout among young voters) and Edwards edges Clinton for second at about 30% each, with Biden and Dodd failing to attain either double digits or fourth place and therefore likely out of the race:

Obama : 37.52%
Edwards : 29.88%
Clinton : 29.41%
Richardson : 2.09%
Biden : 0.94%
Uncommitted : 0.14%
Dodd : 0.02%

Yellow Dog Sammy Elected as Delegate to Democratic National Convention

That's right. At the 11th Congressional District Caucus tonight, yours truly was elected as a delegate for Sen. John Edwards (D-NC).

Four men and one woman were elected. How many of us get to go will depend on what percentage of the vote Edwards wins in the Ohio primary on March 4th.

Iowa Results

CNN is calling the GOP caucuses for Huckabee. Exit polls indicate that Romney will finish second and Thompson probably third just ahead of McCain. Paul is clobbering Giluliani.

On the Democratic side, it is too close to call, with Edwards, Obama, and Clinton all around 31% to 33% in exit polling.

Here is a link for results from the Iowa Democratic Party.

UPDATE: At 9:30 p.m., with 1369 of 1781 precincts reporting, the Democratic candidates are ranked as follows:

Obama : 35.87%
Edwards : 30.65%
Clinton : 30.44%
Richardson : 1.92%
Biden : 0.98%
Uncommitted : 0.10%
Dodd : 0.03%

Obama is pulling ahead. Edwards and Clinton are way to close to call. It's looking like a lethal night for the Biden and Dodd campaigns.

OH-07: Neuhardt (D) To File Nominating Petitions

Three weeks ago Ohio Daily Blog broke the story that she was considering a run, and tomorrow morning business attorney Sharen Neuhardt (D-Yellow Springs) will make it official. From the press release:

Neuhardt [will file] nominating petitions at the Greene County Board of Elections on Friday morning after collecting more than 150 signatures from voters in the Seventh District.

“I am excited to become a candidate for Congress, and I believe that the fact that I've never run for public office before is an advantage,” Neuhardt said. “People want change and new voices to break the stalemate that exists in Washington. I have a 30 year history of working to do what's right for this region, and of working with community and business leaders to do that without regard to party affiliation.”

Neuhardt, a Democrat, said that her priorities will be working to end the war in Iraq, bringing jobs to the Seventh District, reforming our health care system, and moving the country toward energy independence. “I know how to get things done, how to build consensus, and how to do the right thing. As the representative in Congress for the Seventh District, I'll work with and for the people of the Seventh District to bring about the changes we all know are necessary to get the United States back on the right track,” Neuhardt added.

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