OH Sen-2: McGookey (D) Will Not Run

This story in the Toledo Blade confirms that attorney Daniel McGookey (D-Sandusky) has decided against running for the open 2nd Ohio Senate District seat of term-limited State Sen. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green). Well-funded veteran State Rep. Mark Wagoner (R-Ottawa Township) is running on the GOP side. Energetic but inexperienced political activist Justin Zollars (D-Bowling Green) has expressed interest in running. The filing deadline (January 4th) is fast approaching.

Bush "Willing To Let Americans Die To Protect The Phone Companies"

Great speech on the FISA telecom immunity debate, cutting right to the fundamental issue of subverting the rule of law:

On the Ohio Blogs

Posts of interest:

AOG: Call for Congressional Candidates - No confirmed Democratic candidates in OH-03, OH-04, OH-05, and OH-08, although there are three (Jane Mitakides, Charles Sanders, and David Estrati) who plan to file in OH-03. I suspect that Robin Weirauch will file in OH-05, or perhaps Mike Grandillo. Filing deadline (January 4th) is coming up fast.

P-Ohio: Urge Brown (D) To Filibuster Telecom Immunity - Dave Zimmerman sets an example by posting his fax to the senator. I urge everyone to follow suit by calling or writing today. Fax = (202) 228-6321, Voice = (202) 224-2315.

IMO: New Standard for School Achievement - Dave writes about the new value-added metric that the State of Ohio is implementing to demonstrate achievement in school districts. An earlier post on the topic by Dave is here.

WLST: Rationale for Charter Schools Challenged - Jill highlights a good article in the Akron Beacon Journal on mounting criticism of the justification for charter schools now that big urban school district are emerging from academic crises. Pho has a quick take.

B-Bex: Just Say No To Christmas Displays on State Property - Bonobo objects to Gov. Strickland's decision to reinstall Christmas displays at two state parks, calling it inappropriate (even if legal) and pandering to the religious right. Jerid praises him in the comments for speaking out, although disagreeing somewhat on the merits. Personally, I'm not an absolutist about this recurring issue. There is a long history of religious holiday displays on state-owned property and they simply can't all be construed as state endorsement of a particular religion. This is why the Supreme Court cases on the topic are complicated -- it's a balancing act. Also, the sentiment expressed in this mini-polemic guest post on Word of Mouth Blog on the supposed "holy war between Defenders of Christianity and nonbelievers" in this country infuriates and alarms me. There is no such a war, but there are a lot of people ready to believe that there is, and as liberals we should not play into that nonsensical situation by over-reacting to something like reasonable, appropriate Christmas displays. That's my take.

Chief Source in New Hampshire - Kyle and Bob report from the primary campaign trail.

News and Notes: Ohio

What's going on in the state with a city named for the Father of Geometry and which for ten seasons (1920-29) was the home of an NFL team called the Dayton Triangles:

Winter, For Real - Snow, wind, and ice are front page news across the state following a major winter storm yesterday - Dayton, Cincinnati, Toledo, Cleveland.

Council Recall Election - Cleveland Council member Joe Santiago (D) faces a recall election tomorrow, the first in city history, which will cost the taxpayers about $47,000. Recall backers say Santiago is ignoring quality-of-life issues in his ward and is too chummy with club owners. Other council members have joined to back Santiago adn resist the recall. Former council member Nelson Cintron Jr (D), leader of the effort against Santiago, insists he will not run for the state if Santiago is ousted and has pulled petitions to run for county auditor, challenging incumbent Pat O'Malley (D) in a primary.

Heating Aid Fund Half Gone - Ohio's Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps about 400,000 low-income, elderly, and disabled households pay their heating bills, is already tapping money set aside for cooling costs next summer, due mainly to rising energy costs.

Foreclosure Holiday Requested in Cleveland - As Bill Callahan and Jill Miller Zimon reported over the weekend, a coalition of community groups is having a big press conference in Cleveland today, calling for a two-month foreclosure "holiday" to prevent people from being thrown out of their houses on Christmas eve and generally give some struggling homeowners a chacne to dig themselves out.

Residents Oppose Wal-Mart Proposed for Canfield - Opposition is mounting to a possible Wal-Mart in Canfield, near Youngstown, with the township zoning commission likely to deny a zoning change sought by the retail behemoth.

Kucinich Signs Petition for Edwards - Blogger and Cleveland area resident Anastasia P has a great post at DailyKos relating how she obtained the signature of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) on a primary ballot petition for former senator and presidential nomination rival John Edwards (D-NC).

Reaction to Brunner's Call for Voting Changes Begins - The predictable Republican resistance has begun.

Dispatch Doesn't Like Schuring's Education Funding Plan - Congressional candidate State Sen. Kirk Schuring (R-North Canton) has proposed a plan that would require a percentage of tax receipts to be set aside for education, and the Columbus editorial board is already giving it the thumbs-down.

Brunner (D) Explains Findings on Electronic Voting Machines

Marc Dann in Akron

Cross Posted on Pho's Akron Pages
Marc Dann is not the guy he looks like in his publicity still. The man pictured on the Attorney General website looks happy and friendly and, well, a little pudgy. Soft. Soft in a good, nice, favorite uncle sort of way, but still soft.

Marc Dann in person is far more imposing. Broad-shouldered and barrel-chested, with a persistent set to his jaw, in person he looks hard. Hard in a good, tough, guy you want to have your back sort of way, but still hard.

Marc Dann spoke at the Akron Press Club today. With a variety of disclosures and caveats1, here are a few impressions. He is, again, an imposing presence. Yes, he carries a little of the extra padding that comes with middle age, but it’s layered atop a bruising physique. He carries himself like the former o-lineman he is.

Dann is also a forceful speaker. Whatever one thinks about his policies, he speaks with impressive passion about his accepted mission to act on behalf of consumers and citizens. Part of the rap on Dann during his first year in office, on both the left and the right, has been his lack of political acumen. In contrast to the occasional missteps of the last eleven months, the speech today was a political masterwork. In particular, Dann’s speech did two things Democrats need to do better, and did both wonderfully.

OH House-52: Nine Apply for Appointment to Replace Healy

The Canton Repository reported Wednesday that nine people asked to be considered as the replacement for Canton mayor-elect State Rep. William J. Healy II (D-Canton):

* Stark County employee James O. Babcock (D-Canton), property complaints manager in the auditor’s office.

* Former union lobbyist Richard Hiles (D-Perry Township), retired employee of The Timken Co.

* Patrick F. Murphy (D-Akron), former councilman for the Village of Mingo Junction.

* Attorney Ryan Ramage (D-Lake Township), employed by Peter Hart Research Associates.

* School Board President John M. Rinaldi (D-Canton).

* Serial candidate (and mayoral primary opponent to Healy) Thomas L. Robinson (D-Canton).

* Stephen Slesnick (D-Canton), vice president of Slesnick Iron and Metal.

* Gulf War veteran and former military recruiter Rhoderick Simpson (D-Canton).

* City council member Thomas E. West (D-Canton).

Rinaldi (pictured above) is the only one to have filed petitions to run for the seat in 2008, although Babcock, Slesnick, and West have pulled petitions. Murphy and Ramage reportedly live outside the district, which doesn't technically rule them out but they won't be considered because the Ohio House Democratic Caucus is looking for someone who can run next year.

Rinaldi and West are the subject of this prior report in the Repository. West ran for the Ohio Senate in 2006 and lost to State Sen. Kirk Schuring (R-North Canton) by 55.6% to 44.4%, a respectable showing.

OH-07: Neuhardt (D) Considering Running

Business attorney Sharen Swartz Neuhardt (D-Yellow Springs), a partner in the Dayton office of Thompson Hine LLP, is seriously considering running for the open 7th Ohio Congressional District seat of retiring Rep. Dave Hobson (R) and will make her decision in the next two weeks.

Neuhardt considered a run in 2006 but ultimately decided against it. She was born in Dayton, daughter of a policeman and grand-daughter of a fireman, and has been practicing business law in Dayton her entire career except for a brief period as Vice President and General Counsel of Lexis-Nexis. She and her husband David Neuhardt are both corporate partners at Thompson Hine. They purchased the farmhouse at Whitehall Farm near Yellow Springs (in Greene County) and moved there in 1994. They have been active in community development and land preservation in Greene County.

The 7th District is in Clark, Fairfield, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Perry, Pickaway and Ross Counties in south central Ohio. It includes the southwest suburbs of Columbus, Lancaster, Xenia, Circleville and Springfield. It leans Republican (PVI R+6) and Bush won 57% of the vote in 2004. Hobson defeated repeat challenger Bill Conner by 61% to 39% in 2006. The announced candidates in the race are State Sen. Steve Austria (R-Beavercreek), attorney Dan Harkins (R-Springfield), instructor and USAF veteran John Mitchel (R-Beavercreek), small business owner Dave Woolever (D-Stoutsville), and engineer and USAF veteran William R. Conner (D-Beavercreek).


Read all about it. Dave is correct, Huckabee wouldn't be an "easy kill." There are lots of ways that Huckabee could still trip and fall, and he is still woefully behind in fund-raising and organization in early states at this point, but if he gets in he will be a force.

UPDATE: The Hill reports today that Reagan's 1984 campaign manager, Ed Rollins, has joined the Huckabee campaign, lending an aura of Republican institutional support that had been missing.

Then again, as a reader reminds me, there is always that thing about Wayne Dumond.

OH-03: Mitakides (D) Will Run

The Dayton Daily News reports today that political consultant Jane Mitakides (D-Dayton) has pulled petitions and plans to run for the 3rd Ohio Congressional District seat of Rep. Mike Turner (R-Centerville). She ran for this seat in 2004 and won 38% of the vote.

Mitakides is a Dayton native and long-time political activist whose web site notes that she worked on the campaigns of Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, Gov. Ann Richards of Texas in 1994, and Al Gore's presidential bids in 1988 and 2000. She was a founding member of the DSCC's Women's Council in 1992 and a founder of the DNC's Small Business Council. She has had a successful career in advertising, beginning in New York with Calderhead-Jackson Advertising and later founding Helsley Advertising.

The 3rd District is located in Southwest Ohio in Clinton, Highland, Montgomery, Warren Counties. It includes Dayton and its southern suburbs as well as Kettering, Miamisburg, Centerville, and West Carrollton City. Bush won 54% in this district in 2004. Turner defeated former federal prosecutor Richard Chema (D) by 59% to 41% in 2006, following the withdrawal of veterinarian Stephanie Studebaker (D) from the race in the wake of a domestic violence incident.

Brunner: All Ohio Voting Systems Have Critical Security Failures

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (D) will hold a press conference today at 11:00 am to announce the results of her $1.9 million examination of voting systems in use in the state. [UPDATE: The full report (pdf) and a summary of the report are on the Secretary of State web site.] From the Dispatch, a preview:

All of the voting systems used in Ohio have "critical security failures" that make them vulnerable to tampering and unreliable, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner concluded after a thorough review of the systems.

The findings apply both to the electronic touch-screen machines used in 58 of Ohio's 88 counties, as well as the optical-count paper ballot systems used in the others.

The $1.9 million testing found risks ranging from minor to severe and concluded that while higher levels of sophistication were needed in some cases to tamper with vote results, "fairly simple techniques" sometimes could be used. ...

Brunner made a series of recommendations to Gov. Ted Strickland and the legislature for improving the security of the voting systems but stopped short of decertifying the machines or calling for replacements.

OH-05: Bottom Line on Special Election from "The Fix"

From Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post blog "The Fix":

In the end, both sides got what they wanted. Republicans scored a win they desperately needed while Democrats successfully forced the NRCC to spend down their extremely limited campaign war chest.

In other words, it was a loss for the Democratic Party as to this particular race, but strategically speaking it was a draw or a stand-off, not a definitive portent for 2008 for either side.

PS - I missed that Lisa Renee had noted this item a few hours before I did.

OH-05: Perspective on The Special Election

On election day, at the campaign headquarters of Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon), I had the pleasure of meeting Caleb Faux, Executive Director of the Hamilton County Democratic Party. He has passed along his thoughts on the special election in the 5th Ohio Congressional District, in historical perspective:

I've had several opportunities to speak to High School students about the difference between the Republican Party and Democratic Party recently. I found that in trying to explain it, seems to me the underlying issue goes all the way back to the 1920's and 30's.

The hard core old line Republicans have been trying to find a way to undo the things Roosevelt (and his successors in Congress and the White House) did ever since 1933. To do that, they have to get a lot of people to vote against their own economic interest. So they seized on fear, beginning way back in the late 40's and 50's. First it was communism, calling the Democrats communists (the McCarthy era). Then it was race following the Brown vs. the Board of education. Remember “Law & Order”?

Then it was national defense during the Vietnam war (the Nixon/McGovern era). Then abortion, which springs directly from the changes in society brought about by easily available birth control. Again, its about fear of change, this time the changing role of women (they're gettin out of line!).

The Schiavo case was an offshoot of that, again changes brought about by the development of medical technology. It goes on and on, gays, terrorists, guns, religion, now immigration, but the message is always the same -- "be afraid, the world is changing for the worse, we have to stop it and we're the ones to do that."

But under it all is the struggle over money. It’s about whether the benefits of our prosperous society will accrue to the few or to the many. It’s about whether the middle class will survive at all and the less fortunate among us have any reason for hope.

State GOP Rejects Background Checks on Legislators and Candidates

Yesterday in the Ohio Senate, a proposal by Congressional candidate State Sen. John Boccieri (D-New Middletown) to add background checks on legislators and candidates to a bill that imposes such checks on about four dozen types of licensed professionals was literally shouted down by Republicans, with State Sen. Jeff Jacobsen (R-Dayton) objecting to the amendment before Boccieri even finished offering it and then bellowing at the Democratic side of the aisle during the following confusion "You vote yes, we vote no!"

As often happens, the most entertaining take on the ruckus comes from Your Professor at Political Science 216:

What I care about - no, check that - what I love is Boccieri’s proposal to have state lawmakers and candidates for Ohio House and Senate to be forced to go through criminal background checks as well.

Who can argue with that?

Well, evidentially, Senate Republicans can. That shows how politically tone deaf they can be. Morons.

Frankly, as a citizen of Ohio, as a voter, and of course, as your Professor, I want to know how many drunk drivers, drug users, petty thieves and perverts there are in the Ohio General Assembly. And I want to know this about candidates as well.

If elected officials can't be forced to submit to criminal background checks yet, they should do so voluntarily. Then, we can label politicians as "Subjected Self to Criminal Backgound Check and Came Up Clean" and "Refused to Subject Self to Criminal Background Check so You Can Only Imagine What I am Trying to Hide."

May I be so bold as to offer two new ideas to the John Boccieri (D-Genius Land) plan?

1. Why stop at State Senators and Representatives? Include their staffs as well!

Yellow Dog Democrat

I am sometimes asked about my blogging nickname, Yellow Dog Sammy. I do have a dog named Sam who is sort of yellow (more golden), but the "Yellow Dog" part is a very old nickname for a loyal Democrat -- here is the story as told in the Wikipedia:

In the late 19th century and throughout the 20th century, yellow dog Democrats were voters in the U.S. Southern states who consistently voted for Democratic candidates because of lingering resentment against Republicans from the Civil War and Reconstruction periods. The term arose from the notion that a Southerner would vote for a yellow dog before voting for a Republican. ...

The first known usage to date of “yaller dog” in relation to Democrats occurred in the 1900 Kentucky gubernatorial contest which turned into quite a dogfight. ...

The term gained national prominence during the 1928 presidential campaign when many Southern voters disliked several items on Democratic candidate Al Smith's platform (as well as his Catholicism), but voted for him regardless.

Just now I noticed that you can buy a variety of union-made Yellow Dog merchandise at an outfit called DemocraticStuff.com, operated by TigerEye Design, including buttons (one is pictured), a lapel pin, and a nice looking t-shirt.

OH-10: Trakas (R) To Jump Into Race

Jill at WLST is reporting that former state representative Jim Trakas (R-Independence) will formally announce his candidacy for the 10th Ohio Congressional District seat of Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Cleveland) this Saturday at 10:00 a.m. at Independence City Hall.

The announcement sent to Jill portrays this development as an historical watershed supported at all levels of the Ohio Republican Party:

For several months, Chairman Rob Frost has worked to recruit a top tier candidate for The United States Congress in the seat abandoned by Presidential Candidate Dennis J. Kucinich, who recently denounced the United States of America on Syrian state television and voted against a memorial resolution commemorating the lives of those lost in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

We are pleased to announce that The Republican Party will vigorously contest the 10th Congressional District with a high profile, established and seasoned candidate. With the strong cooperation of Ohio Republican Party Chairman Robert T. Bennett, Vice Chairman Kevin DeWine, Chairman Rob Frost and the leadership of The Republican Party of Cuyahoga County, Former State Representative Jim Trakas of Independence will announce his candidacy for The United States Congress this Saturday.

You can practically hear the trumpets blaring in the background. I suspect that this has much more to do with avoiding a hard-fought primary in the 24th Ohio Senate seat than any real prospect of electing Trakas to Congress. I wonder what future ambition on the part of Trakas is served by a high profile but futile Congressional bid.

Just for the record, the 10th District has 35% registered Democrats to 15% registered Republicans, a partisan ratio exceeded only by the 11th District (38% to 6%) and the 17th District (42% to 11%). Kucinich has won five decisive victories since his initial relatively close win over Rep. Martin Hoke (R) in 1996. Kerry won 58.07% of the vote there in 2004 and Kucinich defeated former federal official Mike Dovilla (R-Cleveland) by 66% to 34% last year. Trakas served eight years as a state representative in the suburban 18th 17th Ohio House District, which leans Republican (R+4).

Obama (D) and Huckabee (R) Leads In Iowa Growing

I have not written anything about the presidential race for quite a while, having been focused on the 5th Ohio Congressional District, and of course the terrain has shifted entirely during that time. Today's poll from Strategic Vision confirms that surging former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AR) is now unequivocally leading the GOP field:

Mike Huckabee 30%
Mitt Romney 25%
Fred Thompson 13%
Rudy Giuliani 10%
John McCain 5%
Ron Paul 4%

On the Democratic side, struggling former front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is slipping further behind the revived Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL):

Barack Obama 33%
Hillary Clinton 25%
John Edwards 24%
Joseph Biden 4%
Bill Richardson 4%

Giuliani and Clinton are still leading in national polls, but that will not withstand poor showings in the early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. At this point the two races are in turmoil with no clear favorite on either side.

For my part, I never expected that Giuliani would maintain his lead and win the nomination, and now I'm completely convinced that he will not. However, I anticipate a big backlash against Huckabee, so I don't know what to predict as between him and Romney. I don't think either Thompson or McCain will be a factor.

On the Democratic side, I expect Obama's charge to level off and Clinton to make something of a comeback. It is so close between the three leading contenders that I don't think a meaningful prediction can be made until after Iowa.

There is something else in the Strategic Vision poll worth highlighting. The GOP is ballyhooing the recent decline in U.S. military fatalities in Iraq as though it were "success," ignoring the violence that continues to occur and the lack of political progress on the ground, but here is how Iowa Republicans responded to the question of whether they favor a withdrawal of all U.S. military from Iraq within the next six months:

Yes 51%
No 39%
Undecided 10%

That's the Republicans. Iowa Democrats are 84% to 5% in favor of withdrawal. This means that the urgency of the Iraq War issue may have lessened somewhat in the public mind, but support for Bush's endless war strategy is not coming back. Democrats need to emphasize domestic issues like the tanking economy, the health care crisis, and the need to improve public education, but the Iraq War must not be allowed to drop off the political radar. It is too important, and sentiment against staying in Iraq is too strong across the political spectrum, to take it out of the political equation.

OH Sen-2 & OH House-46: Post-Latta Shuffle

The Toledo Blade has a story and Lisa Renee has some thoughts on the shuffling of seats and candidates to occur in the 2nd Ohio Senate District and the 6th and 46th Ohio House Districts due to the election of State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) to Congress. In brief, term-limited State Sen. Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) will resign his seat and be appointed to Latta's 6th House District post so that he can run next year as an incumbent. State Rep. Mark Wagoner (R-Ottawa Hills) will step down from his 46th House District seat to be appointed as Gardner's replacement and likewise run as an incumbent. The leading contenders to replace Wagoner are City Council President Barbara Sears (R-Sylvania) and Township Trustee DeeDee Liedel (R-Sylvania), both of whom have expressed interested in running for the seat.

Gardner will be opposed by former city council member and repeat candidate Jeff Bretz (D-North Baltimore). The Blade reports that the Democrats most often named as potential candidates to run for Wagoner's current 46th House District post are Mayor Tim Wagener (D-Maumee), attorney and school board member James Nusbaum (D-Sylvania), and former county commissioners Sandy Isenberg (D) and Harry Barlos (D). Other names I've heard mentioned are 2006 candidate Mark Dansack (D-Monclova Township), Township Trustee Carol Contrada (D-Sylvania), and city council member Mark Luetke (D-Sylvania), although I don't know if any of them are still interested or not. A person named Dick Roberts filed with the Secretary of State to run in the 46th as a Democrat, but I have no other information about him. In the 2nd Ohio Senate District, attorney Daniel McGookey (D-Sandusky) is reportedly still thinking it over and will announce a decision tomorrow.

The Blade also reports that the Democratic Party regards the 46th House District as their best pick-up opportunity in northwest Ohio. "They have always viewed that [46th District] seat as somewhat safe, but Ted Strickland won that district," ODP Chair Rep. Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island) said to the Blade. "We will take a swing at that district." The district has a PVI of R+2.8. Wagoner won 60% of the vote against underfunded and inexperienced Dansack in 2006.

OH-02: Brinkman (R) Is Running

Dave of NixGuy.com reports that controversial arch-conservative State Rep. Tom Brinkman (R-Cincinnati), nicknamed "Dr. No" for his opposition to taxes and public spending, has filed to run for the 2nd Ohio Congressional District seat of Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland), complicating a GOP primary that already includes former county commissioner Phil Heimlich (R-Cincinnati). The thinking is that Brinkman and Heimlich will split the anti-Schmidt vote, making Schmidt's path easier. Brinkman ran against Schmidt in the GOP special primary in 2005 and came in third with about 20% of the vote. [UPDATE: Here is the link to the AP story in the Columbus Dispatch.]

A few highlights from Brinkman's divisive career:

* Founded the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) in 1999, which opposes tax levies in southwestern Ohio.

* Campaigned against a proposed levy to build a new communications system for the Hamilton County's fire and police departments, even after a tornado revealed problems with the existing systems.

* Led a group called Equal Rights Not Special Rights (ERNSR) that tried to gather petitions in 2006 to overturn Cincinnati's Human Rights Ordinance. The petitions were challenged as invalid and Brinkman was reprimanded by a court as "the real criminal" in the matter for changing addresses on the petitions, although he was not criminally charged in the case.

* Called on GOP voters to cast their ballots for Tim Hagan (D) over Gov. Bob Taft (R) in 2002 because Taft selected pro-life pro-choice Jennette Bradley (R) as his running mate.

* Was rated the single worst legislator in the 132-member in a 2003 Columbus Monthly survey of legislators, lobbyists, and others working in the State House.

OH Sen-26: Kruse (D) To Announce Candidacy Friday

Mayor Tom Kruse (D-Marysville) will declare his candidacy for the open 26th Ohio Senate District seat on Friday, December 14th at 10:00 am, at the Marysville City Council Chambers, 125 East Sixth Street in Marysville, Ohio. He will be joined at the announcement by Ohio Senate Democratic Leader Theresa Fedor (D-Toledo). Kruse has served three terms as Mayor and one term as a member of Marysville City Council.

Incumbent Sen. Larry Mumper (R-Marion) is term-limited. The 26th Ohio Senate District stretches from north-central to northwest Ohio, in Union, Logan, Marion, Wyandot, Crawford, Seneca, Sandusky and Ottawa Counties. It leans Republican (PVI R+8) and includes the 81st, 82nd, and 83rd Ohio House Districts, all held by Republicans. Former state senator Karen Gillmor (R-Dublin), who is the widow of the late Rep. Paul Gillmor (R), and State Rep. Steve Reinhard (R-Bucyrus) are running on the GOP side.

UPDATE: A commenter asks an excellent question. Why isn't Kruse running in the open 83rd Ohio House District, of which Marysville forms a substantial part? I know of no Democratic candidate there, where David Burke (R), Logan County Commissioner Jack Reser (R-Bellefountaine), and Air Force veteran and automotive technician Carson Wasserbeck (R-Prospect) appear ready to fight it out for the chance to replace term-limited State Rep. Tony Core (R-Rushsylvania). The Democratic Party has no realistic shot at taking control of the Ohio Senate but the Ohio House is in play, so why not put the promising candidates in those races? There had better be an excellent candidate in store for the 83rd, or this recruiting move makes no sense at all.

Ohio Is Still Purple

Or, I should say, a patchwork of red and blue. And those red parts have been knit into some pretty safe Republican districts. Gerrymandering works, doesn't it. And for the working families of the 5th District, the lack of a champion in Washington continues.

It was a very good thing that the Democratic Party played offense in a very Republican district, and that the Republican Party was compelled to expend extraordinary resources to retain the seat. I am hoping that the impressive exertions by the AFL/CIO and the Weirauch campaign will have a lasting positive effect in that area, leading to future gains.

Here are some things are probably obvious but deserve mention:

* Weirauch campaigned hard and well, showing a lot of improvement over the course of her three campaigns. She did not win, but she deserves some acknowledgment of that. And big thanks to her, to Bruce Weirauch, and to all of the campaign workers and volunteers and contributors who put so much into this race.

* Gov. Ted Strickland is very popular all across the state, but his support is not a silver bullet in hostile territory. Helpful, perhaps necessary, but not sufficient by itself.

* I don't know if Bob Latta's fear-mongering about illegal aliens won the race for him, but since it didn't clearly backfire I imagine that we are in for a wave of Tancredoism from GOP candidates across the board.

* Turnout was higher than I expected or that anecdotal reports suggested, although still low compared to regular elections. The GOTV was good on both sides, and Weirauch needed for it to be much better on her side than on the other.

OH-05: Not Looking Good for Weirauch

Wood County, the most populous in the district and the most Democratic, has counted about 70% of its precincts and the unofficial results are about 55% for Bob Latta (R) and 45% for Robin Weirauch (D).

Although the counting is not over, this looks very, very bad for Weirauch.

OH-05: First Trickle of Results

From the small part of Ashland County that is in the 5th District:

405 Weirauch (D)
646 Latta (R)
1 Green (WI)

From Seneca County:

1,375 Weirauch (D)
1,589 Latta (R)
15 Green (WI)

Lucas County absentee ballots:

169 Weirauch (D)
168 Latta (R)
2 Green (WI)

Notes on turnout so far

The polls have closed and the poll workers are on their way into Bowling Green with the results.

In my tiny village, there is a sign painted on the wall of one of the buildings which says: "Population 800 nice people and one sorehead." There are 597 registered voters and 151 voted today and there were 39 absentee ballots issued.

In the next town over, there are 757 registered voters and 175 voted today with 24 absentee ballots issued.

But I heard unofficially that late in the day today, 120 people had voted at one of the two campus polling places, which I think is GREAT. Supposedly, there are 1,845 registered voters in that precinct. Obviously, a LOT of those folks have graduated and moved on. In the 2006 election, 173 voted at that location and for the primary back in November (it seems so long ago, doesn't it?) only 11 (!) people voted. Today was a big improvement!

My guess is that over the most northwestern portion of the District (near the Ohio, Michigan and Indiana border) where the weather was the worst and there is the most Buehrer support, turnout will be in the teens. Here in Wood county it could top 25% and be the highest turnout. I would guess that turnout overall will be between somewhere over 18% but more likely closer to 22 or 23%.

UPDATE: Turnout in Wood County came in at 24.52%

OH-05: Polls Are Closed UPDATED

The telephoning has stopped and people are streaming into headquarters from out in the field. Volunteers are rearranging the tables and generally setting up for the party.

Some random thoughts:

* Here is the link to the page at the Ohio Secretary of State's web site where results will be posted.

* Someone said that 120 people had voted at the polling place at the Bowling Green State University Student Union by about 6:00 pm. That doesn't sound like a lot, but to a local politico I consulted it is actually a pretty good number.

* The chairman of the Wood County Democratic Party told me that he checked some precincts in Democratic-leaning Rossford and turnout there was fairly high, and then he checked some precincts in Republican-leaning Perrysburg and turnout was low. Not very scientific, but he said it's making him "feel pretty good."

* Another local politico said he expects turnout to be somewhat above 20% in Wood County, right around 20% in the counties just to the east and west, and under 20% in the extreme eastern and western counties. Those western counties are "Buehrer country," referring to the defeated GOP primary opponent of Bob Latta, and the weather out there was the worst in the district.

* A local activist, Justin Zollars, tells me that the Wood County Democratic Party has never been so energized. Seeing national resources supporting the campaign of Robin Weirauch has set an example and demonstrated a level of mobilization that people will want to emulate in the future.

UPDATE: * There were robo-calls for Weirauch from Bill Clinton today. At some point during the last few days there were robo-calls for Latta from Laura Bush.

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