OH-16: Boccieri (D) To Hold Campaign Strategy Session Saturday

02/02/2008 - 10:00am
02/02/2008 - 11:00am

Via email: Help Elect John Boccieri to Congress! Attend a Boccieri Campaign Strategy & Planning Session.
Details after the flip.

OH-12: Robinson (D) To Hold Campaign Meeting Saturday

02/02/2008 - 2:00pm
02/02/2008 - 3:00pm

The campaign of 12th District congressional candidate David Robinson (D-Columbus) asked me to notify readers about a campaign meeting to be held this coming Saturday, February 2nd. Details after the flip.

Trumbull County Democratic Candidates Forum on 2/4

02/04/2008 - 6:00pm
02/04/2008 - 8:00pm

The Trumbull County Federated Democratic Women’s Club will hold a Meet the Candidates Night at 6 p.m. on Monday, February 4th at the Warren YMCA, 375 North Park Avenue, Warren. Ohio. Democratic candidates running in the March primary are being invited. Admission is free, and free refreshments will be served.

News and Notes: County Office Races

Some items that came up as I updated my list of candidates in county office races:

Clermont - Today the Enquirer profiles the crowded GOP primary in the race for the county commissioner seat held by Mary Walker (R), who is being investigated by the Ohio Ethics Commission because she voted on a $58,500 county contract for a water main replacement project with a company run by her son. Township Trustee Archie Wilson (R-Batavia Twp), Township Trustee Ed Humphrey (R-Miami Twp), and former City Councilman Melvin Dean (R-Bethel) are all challenging her on the GOP side. "I want people to vote for me because of my attributes, the good things that I do - not because of the bad things that my opponent says that may or may not be true," says Walker. Her GOP opponents say she is in denial about her wrongdoing and needs to move on. Theresa Conover (D) is the only Democratic candidate.

Cuyahoga - Michael McIntyre writes in his "Tipoff" column in the Plain Dealer today about the fireworks that occurred at the endorsement interview involving incumbent County Recorder Pat O'Malley (D) and challenger Nelson Cintron (D), whom O'Malley fired from his county job. Cintron accused O'Malley of running a political machine out of his office. O'Malley said Cintron was just upset that O'Malley and others in his office worked to defend Cleveland City Councilman Joe Santiago in a recall election that former council member Cintron pushed. Meanwhile, O'Malley was the subject of an embarrassing news report last week, revealing that the county had foreclosed on a commercial property owned by him (the old Aragon Ballroom) because O'Malley has failed to pay more than $18,000 in property taxes, penalties and interest. "I've got financial problems like anybody else," he said. "You want to condemn me for that, I don't care." O'Malley said he fell behind on tax payments during his divorce.

Franklin - In the contentious Democratic primary between John O'Grady (D) and Cindy Lazarus (D) to replace Commissioner and congressional candidate Mary Jo Kilroy (D), former U.S., Ohio, and county treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow (D) has endorsed O'Grady. “I’ve had the good fortune of knowing John O’Grady for over twenty years," said Withrow. "John is the kind of leader that recognizes public service is a privilege. When he takes on a job, he works in the best interest of the public and he always sees the job through. I strongly endorse John for Franklin County Commissioner because he has the proven ability to work with everyone to bring new jobs and opportunity to Franklin County.” Withrow, an icon in Ohio politics who has been inducted into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame, was the first person to serve as treasurer at all three levels of government. She was named the nation's Most Valuable State Public Official by City & State Newspaper in 1990 and has served as president of the National Association of State Treasurers and the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers.

Mahoning - The Board of Elections ruled that ex-deputy sheriff David P. Aey (D) can stay on the ballot as a candidate for county sheriff, but the incumbent candidate Randall Wellington (D) has taken the matter to the Ohio Supreme Court. At issue is whether Aey has the required two years of supervisory experience as a peace officer at the rank of corporal or above, or service at the rank of sergeant or above in the five-year period before the filing deadline. Aey never rose above the rank of deputy during his 15 years with the sheriff’s department, but the board ruled that his time as a field supervisor for the U.S. Marshals Service’s Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force was equivalent to the required experience.

Medina - North Royalton Mayor Robert A. Stefanik says the city has been threatened with a lawsuit if Sgt. Dave Centner (R-Sharon Twp) continues to run as a primary challenger for Medina County Sheriff while employed in the police department. Ohio law prohibits a police officer who is in the classified service of a city from taking part in partisan political activity. The incumbent is Neil Hassinger (R). There is no Democratic candidate in the race.

Trumbull - The Trumbull Township Association, representing township trustees and fiscal officers, has endorsed Weathersfield Township police chief Joseph Consiglio (D) for county sheriff over 16-year incumbent Thomas Altiere (D). The vote was 29 to 16. Consiglio also won the Trumbull County Democratic Party endorsement over Altiere, who defeated Consiglio by 2,868 votes in 2004. Consiglio accuses Altiere of squandering county resources. In other races, the association preferred Hartford Township trustee and chief deputy county engineer Randy Smith (D) over Cafaro Co. vice president David DeChristofaro (D) for county engineer and Dr. Humphrey Germaniuk (D) over Dr. Gary Kraker for coroner.

Meanwhile, the Vindicator today calls county commissioner Paul Hetzel "a breath of fresh, fiery air" and opines that it is a good thing he reneged on his pledge to serve only one term. He is unopposed in his bid for re-election.

Pre-Primary Candidates Night on 2/19 by Blue Ash/North East Dems Club

02/19/2008 - 7:00pm
02/19/2008 - 9:00pm

Two Democratic candidates for the 2nd district U.S. House of Representatives, Dr. Victoria Wulsin and Steve Black, will speak at the February meeting of the Blue Ash / North East Democratic Club. Other Democrats running in the March 4 primary will also do brief presentations.

The meeting is set for 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 19th at the Blue Ash Golf Course, 4040 Cooper Road. “This is a chance for area residents to meet our candidates and learn more about them before voting in the March primary,” said Carol Heideman, president of the club.

Other candidates planning to attend include Wayne Coates, Hamilton County Recorder candidate; Steve Brinker, candidate for county treasurer; Norma Holt-Davis and Jerry Metz, running for two different positions as Common Pleas Court judge; Connie Pillich, candidate for Ohio House district 28; and Daniel McCarthy, running for Ohio Senate 8th district.

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

Buzz from the battlegrounds:

OH-01: Driehaus Named "Political Star Rising" - The campaign site of State Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-Price Hill), which can be reached either at Driehaus2008.com or SteveforCongress.com, has been upgraded, although the "Events" and "Issues" pages are yet to be filled in. The "Latest News" page led me to the 'Power 100' feature in the current issue of Cincy Magazine, which calls Driehaus a rising political star and "a smart, personable politico with a future."

OH-03: Esrati Likes Obama, Gives Good YouTube - Dayton activist/blogger/candidate David Esrati (D) continues to provide the news and entertainment in this race. Blogger OhDave of Into My Own has a great interview with the plain-spoken, iconoclastic Esrati. He says that both Jane Mitakides (D) and Charles Sanders (D) claimed to have been approached about switching parties; dismisses Mitakides by saying that voters don't want to "trade one person who talks like a politician for another;" plans to hire campaign staff after the primary and promises to have "tricks up his sleeve" for the campaign; and calls Barack Obama the best choice for president because he is "the boldest move America could make to try to say we've changed directions" and "has the potential of being a statesman, not just a president." OhDave also embeds another nice video ad from Esrati:

OH-07: Harkins (R) Loses the Popularity Contest - Jessica Wehrman has a story in the Dayton Daily News today detailing the rocky relationships between candidate Dan Harkins (R-Springfield), who is Clark County GOP Chair, and a variety of prominent Republicans: retiring Rep. Dave Hobson (R-Springfield) (who won't speak to the guy), State Rep. Ross McGregor (R-Springfield), Ohio Senate candidate State Rep. Chris Widener (R-Springfield), and former state legislator Merle Grace Kearns (R), who is running the campaign of former county commissioner Reed Madden (R) against Widener. They really, really don't like him.

OH-10: Kucinich Can't Use Presidential Cash - Ouch, that's gotta hurt. According to reporter Molly Kavanaugh of the Plain Dealer, Rep. Kucinich can't tap into the $330,000 in his presidential campaign chest for his re-election bid because he accepted federal matching funds. Kavanaugh also reveals that labor leaders, such as Harriet Applegate of the North Shore AFL/CIO, met with Kucinich a few weeks ago to tell him to pay more attention to his congressional campaign. Meanwhile, not many specifics on the new organization Integrity Now that Kucinich is starting to continue his work on national issues, but reportedly spouse Elizabeth will have a starring role.

OH HR-46: Meet Darlene Dunn (D)

A few weeks ago at RootsCamp I had the opportunity to meet attorney Darlene Dunn (D-Sylvania Twp), running in the 46th Ohio House District against recently appointed State Rep. Barbara Sears (R-Sylvania). (This is the seat vacated by State Rep. Mark Wagoner (R-Ottawa Hills) so he could be appointed to the Ohio Senate to replace Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green), who in turn replaced newly-elected Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) in the 6th Ohio House District.) Ohio Democratic Party Chair Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island) has indicated that this is a high priority race, so I was very interested to get to know the candidate.

Dunn is an engaging and energetic person with an infectious smile. She was accompanied by her husband, Cary Dunne, DDS, a Toledo dentist. The first thing I learned about her is that she ran for the Ohio House in 1978, because that is how she met her spouse -- by knocking on his door to ask for his vote.

In that race, when Dunn was in her twenties, she ran against three-term veteran State Rep. Irma Karmol (R). Karmol won the election but died the next April in a car accident in Perrysburg. Karmol was replaced by her son, David Karmol, who ran unsuccessfully for the Ohio Senate in 1982. The district was numbered 44 at that time and was differently configured. (It was redesigned to lean more strongly Republican.) "I gave her a pretty good run," Dunn said. "I'd have to look up the percentages, but they were very good." I told her that I could find those figures, but my check of Secretary of State data didn't reveal House results that far back.

When Dunn and Dunne went out on their very first date, he told her that if she married him she would not have to change her last name. (And she didn't - no "e"!) They raised two boys, who now live in Nevada and New York. "That's one of my issues, by the way," she told me, "We've got to figure out how to get our young people to be excited about staying here. We need to have good employment for them, which means we need good schools."

Dunn has practiced law for thirty years. For the first seven she was an assistant county prosecutor, concentrating on juvenile law and child support enforcement. She has also done workers compensation work for the state. She was at a law firm for 14 years and is now a general practice solo practictioner in Toledo. She has retained a strong interest in family law and domestic relations, but has done personal injury work and all manner of other legal representation.

In addition to stressing the importance of improving Ohio's schools, Dunn is very concerned about jobs and increasing employment opportunities. Young people will not want to stay in Ohio until their perception of it is changed, and that requires that Ohio be revitalized. "Where I live is on the Michigan border, close to Ann Arbor," she said, where companies have moved in and employed lots of people. "We're next door. We have a lot of the same resources," she continued. "Ohio has excellent resources and should be attracting those businesses."

Obama Soars in South Carolina Victory Speech

Tonight I watched Barack Obama give his victory speech at a party filled with politicos, several of them high-profile supporters of Hillary Clinton. The watchers were unanimous in their opinion that this was a great speech. Obama spoke directly to the nation, delivering a stirring call for unity and change. He included a stinging rebuke to the Clinton campaign for its attacks in the week leading up to the South Carolina primary, without detracting from the uplifting and inspiring tone of his speech:

Tonight's 18 point rout of Clinton was a huge boost for Obama and his masterful speech will help translate the win into strong momentum going into Super Tuesday. His references to Latinos in the speech signal a big effort to reach out to Hispanic voters in the next ten days.

Clinton's 27% finish is a serious setback. She is still assured of winning a number of states on Super Tuesday, but she needs to examine carefully what went wrong. Look for her to make a visible effort to rein in her spouse on the campaign trail. As for Edwards' 18% showing, it is probably the bare minimum needed to keep his campaign alive. On life support, perhaps, but alive.

The MCDAC Blog notes that Democratic turnout today was 38% higher than Republican turnout in their primary, even though South Carolina went for Bush by a large margin. Another great portent for November.

OH-10: Plain Dealer to Endorse Cimperman (D)

Tonight I met City Council member Joe Cimperman (D-Cleveland) at a party on the west side of town. He indicated to me that the Plain Dealer will endorse him in the 10th Congressional District Democratic primary. [UPDATE: Here is the link, with a hat-tip to Jill at WLST. The endorsement devotes 13 paragraphs to condemning Kucinich and only 2 to praising Cimperman.]

Cimperman described the endorsement process as an arduous three-hour interview. Rep. Kucinich declined to be interviewed together with the challengers, so his interview had been conducted separately. Barbara Anne Ferris was confused about the time and arrived 35 minutes late. Thomas O'Grady suffers from pain in his leg due to an injury, so he was unable to remain seated for the duration of the interview. He stood suddenly without explanation and stood behind Brent Larkin, peering over his shoulder, to the consternation of the newspaper personnel. Rosemary Palmer was particularly friendly and engaged and made a favorable impression on Cimperman.

The councilman seems boyishly enthusiastic about running for Congress. Fund-raising is going great, he said, and his polling shows him with over 60% name recognition in the 10th Congressional District. It should not come as a great surprise that the Plain Dealer is endorsing Cimperman, since it endorsed Ferris in the primary two years ago, but the endorsement is plainly a boost for Cimperman's campaign and he is very pleased about it.

Brown to Keynote Cuyahoga County Democratic Party Annual Dinner

03/02/2008 - 5:30pm
03/02/2008 - 8:00pm

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon) will be the keynote speaker at the annual dinner of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party on Sunday, March 2nd, at 5:30 p.m. at the Executive Caterers at Landerhaven. See the CCDP web site for more information - click on "Annual Dinner."

Link for South Carolina Results & Some Random Scuttlebutt

Here is the link for the South Carolina Democratic Party results page.

CNN reports steady to strong turnout among the Democratic primary voters. South Carolina's The State says state party leaders expect a record turnout, buoyed by good weather and an attractive slate of candidates.

Mark Halperin of Time reprints a memo from Howard Wolfson of the Clinton campaign, strongly signaling that they don't expect to beat Obama.

Robert Novak claims that Illinois Democrats close to Obama are talking about John Edwards as U.S. Attorney General in an Obama administration.

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

Newsy bits from the campaign trail:

OH-02: No Hamilton County Dem Endorsement; Brinkman Slams Schmidt on Vote - Bill Sloat reports on The Daily Bellwether that "the Hamilton County Democratic Executive Committee won't pick sides in the Democratic primary contest between Steve Black and Vic Wulsin." On the GOP side, Sloat details State Rep. Tom Brinkman's attack on Rep. Jean Schmidt for voting against a measure to reduce the cost and improve access to college education, a measure that President Bush and 77 GOP legislators supported.

OH-03: Mitakides Online & Endorsed by Montgomery County Dems - The campaign site for Jane Mitakides (D) is live, although there isn't much there yet. She states that "This is a 'Blue' district now -- Gov. Ted Strickland carried this district with 56% -- so change IS on the way," and she includes features for making campaign contributions and signing up for email updates. Meanwhile, Mike Bock reports on DaytonOS that the Executive Committee of the Montgomery County Democratic Party endorsed Mitakides last night. Repeat candidate Charles W. Sanders and activist David Esrati are the other Democrats in the race.

OH-06 & OH-17: Wilson and Ryan Write DOJ About Toxic Exposure in Prison Facility - Reps. Charlie Wilson (D-St. Clairsville) and Tim Ryan (D-Niles) fired off a stern letter to the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday about a preliminary report that guards at the Elkton Prison in Elkrun Township, Ohio were exposed to lead and cadmium at 450 times the allowable levels set by OSHA while changing filters in the ventilation system. They want the final report to come out ASAP, to be kept up to date on the investigation, and to work with the department on making sure it doesn't happen again.

OH-12: GOP Challenger on YouTube - Dave Ryon (R) wants to bring the troops home from Iraq immediately ... and to abolish the IRS by repealing the 16th amendment to the U.S. Constitution:

OH-14: O'Neill Web Site Overhauled - The campaign site for Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell) has been completely upgraded, with news clips, upcoming events, Flickr and Facebook links, endorsements and issues pages all in a gorgeous new design.

OH-18: Space (D) on SOTU Address - Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) has distributed a newspaper column on why he doesn't expect to like what he hears in the State of the Union address on Monday:

Unfortunately, I do not believe this speech will provide the solutions our region needs to address the problems we face. Instead, what we will likely hear is a set of priorities that are inconsistent with the needs of working families in our region who are anxious about their jobs, unable to afford the health care they need, and residents of towns and communities whose basic infrastructure needs have not been met. ...

OH-05: When is a "D" not a Democrat?

HUGE h/t to Ron at Politics1.com -EB

In Ohio, we don't have "registered" Democrats or Republicans (or socialists or communists or anything else.) Rather, when voters go to the polls for a partisan primary, they request a ballot from the GOP or the Democrats or any other party that is on the ballot and having a primary. Other states do things differently but that's the way we roll in the Buckeye state.

In 2006, George Mays of Norwalk, OH tried to run for the U.S. Senate. He did not run as a Democrat. Rather he tried to qualify for the ballot as an independent and claimed to be "Endorsed by the Reform Party of Ohio, The New Frontier Coalition, and the Libertarians of the Northeast Region."

According to his website at that time, he stated:

"I will unveil a simple plan to ensure the financial security of America and eliminate all Federal taxes..."

His effort to qualify for the ballot failed. Again, from his website:

"We simply did not get enough petition signatures. ... Most of my disappointment is in the lack of help from Reform Party and Libertarian members. I truely wish that you had given me a chance. ... So, I will run for my Congressional Seat in 2008. ..."

(emphasis added.)

Here is a picture from the current Reform Ohio party website:

If you look in the upper left hand corner, you can see a poster for Mr. Mays.

It would appear that Mr. Mays has never requested a Democratic ballot in a partisan primary, until he decided to run against Robin Weirauch in the primary for the special election here in OH-05 following the death of Rep. Gillmor.

But in order to get on the primary ballot last fall for the special election, as a "Democrat" all that he had to do was to pay $85 and submit nominating petitions with the signatures of fifty registered voters, who don't have to be Democrats. Of course, he got stomped in the primary election.

But he's back again this year and has successfully entered the primary as a Democrat. The problem is that no one else has filed to be on the ballot! Which means that he will win the primary election and this fall, his name will be on the ballot as the candidate of the Democratic Party.

This has happened to both parties in Ohio. With our gerrymandered districts, sometimes it is impossible to get candidates to take on kamikaze missions. Instead, wackos game the system and wind up on the ballot.

In the end, it doesn't make much difference, because they always lose. The problem arises when the media offers candidates opportunities such as televised debates or candidate forums. There was such a forum once where the unendorsed GOP standard bearer called a US Representative a "lesbian socialist." The look on the faces of the GOP politcos in attendance was priceless.

Another issue is whether to grant these ersatz candidates access to Party resources such as voting lists. Do you want these people to have your address and phone number?

OH-18: Space (D) Talks Up RENEW OHIO-18 Project

This afternoon I participated in a press conference call with a bouyant Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover), clearly energized by this morning's kickoff for his RENEW OHIO-18 project, which he calls an effort to develop a long-term blueprint for the economic redevelopment of Southeastern Ohio. Space said he was very impressed with both the quantity and quality of the attendees at the Zane State College/Ohio University-Zanesville regional campus for the breakfast meeting, comprising about 150 business leaders, educators, researchers, labor leaders, and elected officials. The participants formed work groups to address four topics (broadband internet access, agriculture, alternative energy, and healthcare) which Space sees as emerging fields critical to the region's future economy, cross-referenced to the region's available resources. Summits addressing each area will be held in Coshocton, Nelsonville, and Chillicothe over the next three months, with a final summit in Zanesville on May 23rd.

Space described the project as involving "serious thought about where we want to be down the road," with the benefits to accrue not immediately but over the coming years, perhaps the next five to twenty. I asked him about reports of a recent spike in the number of residents living in poverty in southeastern Ohio, and what short-term measures were appropriate to assist them. He acknowledged the problem, citing hundreds of people standing in line at a food kitchen in Zanesville, senior citizens whose retirement incomes aren't keeping up with inflation, and minimum wage workers who are unable to feed their families. He said that 15% of the district's residents live in poverty (a greater proportion than have college degrees), and one county is over 30%. "We have a moral obligation to alleviate the effects of poverty," he declared, but the long term need is to stay focused on creating jobs.

"Presenteeism" versus absenteeism

Usually, my kids bring germs home from school and we all get to share.I have always said, if you want to find biological weapons, visit your local grade school.

But today my usually indefatigable wife (and saint) is home from work with a GRUESOME cold. (It's not the flu, we all gets shots every year.) It seems that one of her co-workers has insisted on coming into work despite being really sick and now the whole office is starting to succumb.

Recent studies have seemed to show that such conduct, dubbed "presenteeism," is actually costing America MORE than absenteeism, where malingering workers stay home despite not being very ill.

One of the fund raising phone calls that I got today was from the SEIU phone bank operation in support of a proposal called the Healthy Families Act which would require most Ohio employers to provide up to seven days of paid sick leave a year. This is an idea whose time has come. Other western nations have adopted similar proposals and it has been a boon both to their economies as well as to the health of their citizens.

IMHO, this is one of those reality based proposals that just makes sense. And, I think it will naturally attract voters to polls in November to support it.

In 2004, the forces of darkness put the Hate Amendment on the ballot and 118,000 Ohio voters put the Shrub back into power. I think that many of those voters participated in the election because of this ballot issue.

But in 2006, labor groups fought back by placing a proposal to raise our state minimum wage.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

FEC Reports starting to be available

It ain't cheap running for office.

As has been mentioned previously, U.S. House candidates have until the end of this month to file their year end campaign online finance reports with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) rather than the 15th of the month as with the other three quarterly reports. Zack Space has already filed his report which shows that he has raised a LOT of money to defend his seat against the expected onslaught of GOP and right wing "527" type independent organizations.

I can tell when it's the end of the quarter because I get fund raising phone calls, including one this morning from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ("DCCC" or "D Triple C" or "D-Trip.")

There is an art form, if you will, to reading these reports.

For example, in OH-07, candidate Dave Woolever (D-Stoutsville) has filed his report and it's an interesting one. He reports having received $1791.48 in contributions for the quarter. However, if you read that page of the report, you can see that actually he paid for the cost of some of his own campaign expenses which are treated as donations. He has also paid $5,000 to retain a Washington, D.C. based fund raising consultant. And in addition, he reportedly owes $7,900 in debts and obligations, including another $3,000 that he owes his inside-the-Beltway fund raising consultant.

ActBlue Suspends Fundraising For State Level Candidates In Ohio

Yesterday, one of my clients asked why a donor was no longer able to donate to her campaign via ActBlue.

I explored this for a while and then discovered that all of our state level candidate ActBlue status was "no longer accepting donations" but that our Congressional candidates had no problems.

I figured I knew the problem at that point, but I sent in an email to ActBlue and this was the recent response:

Hi Paul,

I do apologize that we were unable to let campaigns know of this change. There was a request by the Ohio Secretary of State that we cease operations temporarily while we work with them to make sure we are operating in compliance with campaign finance laws. This is temporary, but at this time I cannot say when we will be up and running again.

I am sorry and I thank you for your patience in this matter.

Christine Khaikin
[email address]

As many may remember, an opinion came out from the SOS office a month or two ago that dontations given to a candidate were to be reported to the SOS office as coming from ActBlue and not from the individual.

That was annoying, but nothing in comparison that if person gave $50 to a state house candidate via ActBlue they wouldn't be allowed to take it as a tax credit since Person X donated to a PAC (as ActBlue) is and not directly to the candidate.

All but one of our clients suspended use of ActBlue when that came out given the difficulties that this could cause.

If I hear more, I will update accordingly.

Remember: This does not impact federal candidate, only state level candidates.

Edwards Gaining in South Carolina

Way back in 1979 my beloved Milwaukee Brewers were making a run at the AL East title, trailing favored Baltimore by only a few games in September. Crusty manager Earl Weaver was asked about the young pretenders from Wisconsin and he spat out, "I hate those guys. They're like cheap underwear. They keep creepin' up on ya!"

Don't look now, but John Edwards, given up for road kill after drawing only 4% of the caucus vote in Nevada, is moving up fast in the polls in South Carolina. It's a big story in South Carolina's The State today:

Watch John Edwards.

With only a day left before Saturday’s S.C. Democratic presidential primary, the former U.S. senator from North Carolina and S.C. native is making a move, tracking polls suggest.

While still in third, Edwards’ poll numbers have been rising since Monday’s Myrtle Beach debate.

Today's Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby tracking poll taken 1/22-24 shows Obama's lead shrinking and Edwards surging going into tomorrow's primary (results in parens are from 1/21-23 and 1/20-22):

38% (39%, 43%) Obama
25% (24%, 25%) Clinton
21% (19%, 15%) Edwards

John Zogby's comment:

The real movement here is by John Edwards, who is the only one who continues to gain ground in our three-day tracking poll. His increase appears to be coming from African American voters who are slowly making up their minds. ... Can he catch Clinton by Saturday’s vote, perhaps bumping her from a second-place finish? Perhaps that is why she has returned to the state to campaign.

Oh, and that 1979 pennant race? Baltimore held off Milwaukee, but it was exciting right to the end.

Lake and Cheadle To Headline Obama Event

Former National Security Advisor Tony Lake and Academy Award-nominated actor Don Cheadle (he should have won!) will be featured at a campaign discussion and reception benefiting Obama for America on Wednesday, January 30th from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at the home of Deborah & Ron Ratner in Shaker Heights, Ohio. RSVP is required; download the flyer for more details!

OH-04: Carroll (D) Asks Us To Heed the Message of Mouseland

Promoted from the Forums. It is tough work to take up the fight for social justice and run for office against an entrenched incumbent in hostile territory. Mike Carroll deserves our admiration and support for stepping up to the plate. Watch the video!!! -Jeff

I was trying to tell someone earlier why they should support me (Carroll for Congress in Ohio's 4th Congressional District). I came across this YouTube video, and thought it was a nice, lighthearted way to explain why you should:

Listen, I'm just a blue collar factory worker. I'm not a politician, nor a fundraiser. I'm running in a traditional "safe republican" district. But I truly believe that working class people have gotten the short end of the stick for WAY too long. I'm going to knock on thousands of doors this year with the message -- if you vote for me, you're voting to send yourself to Washington. I will always ALWAYS! put the American workers interest first!

If you can help spread my name, or donate to the cause, please visit www.mikeforohio.com. I am also in need of votes at www.democracyforamerica.com -- they have a "Grassroots All-Star '08" contest going on. A win would create a lot of exposure. But I need your help.

Mike Carroll

Kucinich Drops Out of Presidential Race UPDATED

Mark Naymik is breaking the story on Openers, and thoughtfully provides the video:

Kucinich will make the official announcement tomorrow at noon and says (not on the video) he will not make an endorsement. Go read Naymik's story, he deserves the clicks.

UPDATE: A couple of quick reactions. Pundits have been saying that Kucinich is in real trouble on winning re-election to Congress, but this news is the biggest proof yet. He wouldn't drop out of the presidential race if he wasn't nervous about keeping his seat.

Kucinich's national following is small but very loyal. He polled better in several states than candidates regarded as higher-profile, like Sens. Biden and Dodd. So, where will his 3% to 5% share of the voters turn? I'm thinking Edwards, as the one with the strongest populist progressive message. Will it change the dynamics of the race? Um ... no.

Does this help Kucinich keep his seat? Absolutely. Slamming Kucinich for ignoring his district while running for president has been the lynch-pin of the Palmer and Cimperman campaigns to date. They must retool. And, the fact that there are multiple challengers to divide the vote will help, along with Kucinich giving the congressional race his undivided attention.

Don't expect Kucinich to disappear from the national political arena completely. I bet he will still be making appearances on the cable news shows to talk about the presidential race. He may be out of the race, but he is still a controversial figure with lots of entertainment value (which is what the cable channels are all about), and he still has all the motivation in the world to speak out.

2nd UPDATE: Rosemary Palmer (D-Cleveland) is first out of the gate with a statement:

As the Democratic Presidential primary campaign continues, I applaud Congressman Dennis Kucinich for his decision to step aside and let the voters choose between the three remaining candidates for our party's nomination. While others cite his frequent presidential runs as their main motivation for entering the race for Congress, Mr. Kucinich's move today will not affect my decision to vigorously challenge him for the position he currently holds.

I entered this race in June because I did not feel he was focused on the job, nor able to effect the change we so desperately need. On issues of job creation, health care, the environment, and the Iraq War, Mr. Kucinich often talks a good game but seldom delivers. The 10th Congressional District, and the entire Northeast Ohio region, need someone who less interested in making points and more interested in making change. I feel I best represent that change and welcome the opportunity to debate Mr. Kucinch and make my case to the voters over the next five weeks.

What about the others? C'mon, this is the internet age, an hour of silence is like a century!

News and Notes: General Assembly Races

What's happening in those critical General Assembly contests:

OH Sen-24: Placeholder Identified - Recently, outgoing Ohio Senate Democratic Leader Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) remarked in an email message (reprinted on Glass City Jungle) that she is proud of having recruited a candidate in each of the 16 Ohio Senate races, but conceded that two of them are to be replaced with real candidates later. I heard from a reliable source today that attorney Emanuel Cotronakis (D-Bay Village) in the 24th District is one such placeholder. Who is the other? [UPDATE: I'm told that it is Holly Stutz in the 14th District.]

OH House-87: Brunner Will Decide Evans Protest - The Morgan Jackson County Board of Elections deadlocked 2-2 along party lines on a protest to the declaration of candidacy filed by State Rep. Clyde Evans (R-Rio Grande) after he mistakenly filed and then withdrew nominating petitions to run as an independent. Evans and the director of the board say that they were following instructions from the Secretary of State's office and should not be penalized for the mistake. Appearing for the protester and for the Oho Democratic Party, attorney Don McTigue argued that Evans is responsible for knowing and following the law.

OH House-92: Phillips and Thompson Discuss Poverty - Nick Claussen wrote a good article in the Athens News today based on interviews with candidates Debbie Phillips (D-Athens) and Jill Thompson (R-The Plains) about statistics showing rising poverty in the area and what to do about it. Thompson said that the cause of the increase needs to be verified and talked about infrastructure projects and Third Frontier investments as part of the solution. Phillips emphasized funding for programs that assist people in poverty, and talked about supporting small businesses and promoting alternative energy as a stimulus to the economy.

OH House-97: How Not To Blog - Having a campaign blog is a great idea, but ONLY if the candidate keeps it current. I hope that Luke Brewer (D-Glenmont) figures this out. His blog has nothing since his campaign manager wrote the first post on December 16th (and his website still declares that he will be announcing his candidacy soon).

OH House-98: Dolan Resigns Committee Post - State Rep. Matt Dolan (R-Novelty), who faces no opposition for re-election, said today that he is stepping down as chair of the powerful House Finance and Appropriations Committee. He recently failed in a bid to nail down the position of House Speaker early when caucus members resisted a straw vote on favoring Dolan over State Rep. Bill Batchelder (R-Medina). Is Dolan going to devote all of his time and energy to pursuing his leadership ambitions now?

OH-18: Space (D) Raising a Ton of Cash

Rep. Zack Space (D-Dover) may be the #1 target for the National Republican Congressional Committee, but he is a shining example of what one in that position should do about it. He has been incredibly visible all around his far-flung district, he has loudly trumpeted his legislative initiatives (including popular efforts like expanding broadband access, improving veterans care, and stimulating the economy), and he is absolutely kicking butt in the fund-raising department.

Today the Dispatch blog The Daily Briefing reports that Space has already filed his year-end FEC report, which is not due until January 31st, and he has raised $1,103,759 as of December 31st and has $755,810 cash on hand. The four GOP candidates haven't filed yet but they figure to be way behind, based on earlier FEC filings. This is a major haul for Space and sends a clear message that he will be tough to take out, particularly since none of his potential GOP opponents are what you'd call top-drawer candidates.

As a reality check, keep in mind that the NRCC and probably conservative 527's will step in with major bucks in this race, but even if Space winds up being outspent by such outside groups he is raising plenty of cash to mount an aggressive defense of his seat. Great news from the 18th District!

News and Notes: Ohio Congressional Races

A few items of interest:

OH-02: Democrats Sparring on Finances and Disclosure - As I have been noting, most recently here, the campaigns of Victoria Wulsin (D-Indian Hill) and Steve Black (D-Indian Hill) have been feuding about financial disclosure data. A source has been tipping me that Black owns (or owned) stock in Halliburton and drug, insurance, and oil companies while criticizing those entities in campaign mailers (three to date). The Black campaign addressed the Halliburton stock question (he sold it at a loss when he discovered it among his assets) but replied to the other charges by criticizing the quality of Wulsin's disclosure, which was amended to restate her assets by a large amount. Josh Levin of the Wulsin campaign has now responded in turn, and with this entry I will consider the matter closed (as far as this blog is concerned):

Vic’s personal finances are an open book - we're more than willing to allow a neutral source to review them. We have filed dozens of disclosures in full compliance with the law. When we found errors in a routine review, we followed the law and immediately amended the report.

The fact is that Steve Black is running a negative campaign, and misleading the voters in his direct mail is a real issue. He said "Halliburton needs to be held accountable" as a “war profiteer,” yet he earned income from Halliburton stock. He criticized oil and drug companies, yet he owns millions in their shares. Steve Black can't just gloss over his history. He says one thing now, but he does another. And that's a real issue that Democrats need to know about.

Vic knows that we must get tough on oil and drug companies, and that our families must come first. Steve says so too, but it seems hard to believe he'll lead on these issues when he is so personally invested in them and the status quo.

Meanwhile, Bill Sloat reports that Phil Heimlich isn't giving back any of the contributions he received for his congressional bid -- he wants to save it for
"opportunities that come up in future years."

OH-05: Latta Voted Against SCHIP Expansion - Newly elected Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) joined hardliners Chabot, Schmidt, Jordan and Boehner in opposing SCHIP health insurance program for 10 million more uninsured children. The other six Republicans voted with the Democrats. This vote against kids would be an opening for a strong Democratic opponent in the general election -- if there were one.

OH-07: Mitchel on Hobson's "Porker of the Month Award" - In this editorial the Dayton Daily News defends earmarks by Rep. Dave Hobson (R-Springfield), saying it is the system that should be criticized instead, but that doesn't sit well with candidate John Mitchel (R-Beavercreek):

“Woeful are we, our ‘sugar daddy’ is leaving town”

No, the slam at Hobson reflects directly on Hobson, not the system. Voter acceptance of the “bring-home-the-bacon” mind-set is precisely what is driving Ohio and the rest of America into the abyss, and blaming it on “the system” is a cop-out. Dave Hobson swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution, not bring home the bacon. Dave Hobson has a free will and he can exercise it to make moral judgments or not, so let’s not let him off the hook by allowing him to cry “the system made me do it.”

So what happens now as Hobson goes into retirement? If we trust the kingmakers, Steve Austria, another “bring-home-the-bacon” career politician, is waiting in the wings, but beware, if he gets elected it will be years before he earns the seniority to be included in the Congressional “good-old-boy network.” Even worse, to get to that point he’ll have to sell out to the lobbyists and special interests, and that leaves us exactly where we are today. So the choice is ours -- change or politics as usual. Our only hope is that when we cast our vote, it’s not for our own self-interest, but for a concern for future generations. Sooner or later our children and grandchildren will figure it out on there own, but our job is to buy them some time so all is not lost before the light comes on.

OH-12: O'Grady Endorses Goodwin - In a trade of endorsements, Franklin County Clerk of Courts John O'Grady (D) endorsed congressional candidate Russ Goodwin (D), and Goodwin returned the favor regarding O'Grady's bid for county commissioner. Said O'Grady of Goodwin: “Russ Goodwin is not only a Navy veteran and long-time Stonewall Dems leader. Russ is the kind of fresh voice we need in Washington. I urge the voters of Franklin County to support Russ on March 4th and send him to Congress on November 4th.”

OH-16: LaTourette Endorses Schuring - Blogger Justin of Right on the Right reports that Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Township) has endorsed State Sen. Kirk Schuring (R-North Canton). The post (registration required) also mentions that Schuring has been endorsed by the Stark County GOP and that Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Navarre) hosted a fund-raiser for Schuring in Washington. This report firms up the impression that Schuring is the establishment candidate and Matt Miller (R-Ashland) is the outsider/movement conservative candidate. The efforts of Regula and LaTourette will help Schuring prop up his reportedly lackluster fund-raising to date. (State Sen. Boccieri (D-New Middletown) has been working hard on fund-raising on the Democratic side.) I had been wondering if the Club For Growth would get involved in this race on Miller's behalf.

Nurse-Candidates Speak Up on Proposed Ohio "Nurses Month"

I received a press release today about Ohio House Democratic Leader Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus) testifying before an Ohio Senate committee today in support of H.B. 144, a bill she sponsored to designate May as “Nurses Month” in this state. Ohio has 198,000 practicing nurses, whose work has "evolved from traditional duties into new areas such as nurse practitioners and doctor’s assistants," as well as additional roles as administrators and educators. Beatty's bill passed the House on a 99-0 vote on May 23rd. “The nursing profession is vitally important to the health care system, yet many times, the nurses are overlooked,” Leader Beatty told members of the Senate Health, Human Services and Aging Committee.

So I called up Ohio's two prominent candidates for high public office who are also nurses and asked for their perspective. Jan Lanier (D-Westerville), running for an open seat in the 2nd Ohio House District, is a registered nurse and attorney and is the deputy executive officer for the Ohio Nurses Association. She was delighted to express support for Beatty's efforts:

Rep. Beatty has been a long-time supporter of nurses and all that we do to make health care safer for our patients. Nurses are the backbone of the health care system —- a fact that gets overlooked and discounted far too often. Through efforts such as this by Rep. Beatty, Ohio sends a message that it recognizes the true value nurses bring to the health care system, whether they practice in hospitals, long-term care facilities, homes, clinics, schools, industry, or elsewhere. I hope the Ohio Senate joins its House of Representatives counterpart and enacts HB 144 as soon as possible.

Former appellate judge Bill O'Neill (D-South Russell) is a pediatric emergency room nurse as well as a candidate for Congress in the 14th Ohio Congressional District, and his comment is characteristically blunt:

"If it were up to me, every month would be Nurses Month. I applaud the efforts of Leader Beatty, and I hope the State Senate moves forward with the proposal. We have to get serious about ending the nursing shortage in Ohio and across the country, and the way to do that is to change the way we think about the profession. For too long, nurses have been overworked and under-appreciated in our health care system. We need to start asking ourselves why we don't have mandated patient-to-nurse ratios in Ohio. These mandates have been proven to reduce the nursing shortage by reducing the burden placed upon our nurses. It is widely known that experienced nurses come back from early retirement when they know their workplace is safe for them and their patients. More importantly, these ratios have been proven to save lives.

"This is not just a problem in Ohio. When I'm a congressman, I won't be just the fourth nurse walking the halls of Congress, I'll be their biggest advocate."

I didn't know that part about O'Neill becoming the fourth nurse to walk the halls of Congress. I wonder who the first three were?

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