Friday, October 20, 2006


Hurricane and the hamster

"Katy - are you sure these aren't your freakin' poll results?"

Picture 2


CQ: OH-2, OH-12 in play

Maybe this has been blogged to death already and we just missed it, but Congressional Quarterly haved moved up the chances for the Dems in the 2nd and 15th CDs (via Greg Sargent at the TPMCafe): has moved the contest in the Cincinnati area’s 2nd Congressional District — which pits first-term Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt against Democrat Victoria Wulsin, an epidemiologist — into the highly competitive Leans Republican category from the Republican Favored category.

This has emerged as one of the sleeper races in this year’s national contest for control of the House.

. . .

The willingness of the 79-year-old Shamansky — who won a House election in 1980 but was unseated two years later — to invest a sizable sum of his own money in his challenge to three-term Republican Rep. Pat Tiberi has spurred to change its rating on the race to Republican Favored from Safe Republican.

Tiberi remains a heavy favorite to win re-election. Though he faced a competitive open-seat election when he first ran for the House in 2000, he has twice coasted to re-election over meager competition.

But the 12th, overall, would not be mistaken for a Republican stronghold: Bush only edged Democratic challenger John Kerry here by 51 percent to 49 percent.

Enter Shamansky, who is waging a well-funded effort, mainly because of the personal wealth he can bring to bear on the campaign.



That's the sound of Kenny's glass house starting to crack.

This may take a day or two to emerge, but early warning sirens have been going off at KB's headquarters and the GOP.


Voters' gestalt vs. polling

A few comments about the Univ. of Cincinnati's new survey. First, here is how the researchers summed up the results:
The latest Ohio Poll finds that no single issue dominates the electoral environment in Ohio this year. Many voters continue to say candidate characteristics (such as experience, political party or character) will have the biggest impact on how they cast votes for Ohio governor and U.S. Senate.
This shouldn't be surprising and we think it's somewhat of a fool's errand to try to find those one or two dominating "issues" or "characteristics."

If anything, the results confirm George Lakoff's theories about people taking action based on perceived moral systems rather than any single issues(s)/characteristic(s), regardless of what kind of self-interests people might have in that issue(s)/characteristic(s).

Voters build multi-dimensional frameworks for making their decisions. Issues may be one dimension of this framework. Characteristics another. Language, empathy, family, religion and personal experiences also come into play.

Citizens maintain a somewhat moveable center of gravity within this moral matrix that brings them closer to one candidate and away from another. Ultimately, as Lakoff notes, voters make their decision based on a perceived, whole identity, not a single issue or two.

Democrats have, for lack of a better word, stumbled into a fairly successful framing of the elections based on the "Had Enough?" theme. They are somewhat lucky that, at least in Ohio, there is a perfect convergence of corruption, incompetence, arrogance and anger, and we are confident that the "Had Enough?" frame will be successful through election day.

But Democrats will quickly have to quickly move beyond the limits of this time-specific frame and develop a more permanent identity and implied moral system focused - both overtly and with subtlety - on things like opportunity, freedom, respect, honesty and patriotism.

The price of ignoring this and going off the offensive will be enormous. The GOP is already crafting it's 2008 and '10 strategies. 2006 will have knocked them back on their heels, but long-term planning has been their strength. Can the Dems make it their strength, too?


Nobody likes Kenny anymore

It's pathetic that when you're in your final weeks, when you're in your "strongest" area, and when you've called in your biggest blowhards, only a handful come out:
At a rain-soaked rally, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell told about 200 supporters Thursday that he does not question Democrat Ted Strickland's sexuality but does fault him for not "standing up" as a congressman for sexually abused children.

"I don't care what his sexual preference is," Blackwell said at Blue Ash's Veterans Memorial Park, where about 50 protesters ringed the pro-Blackwell crowd, booing and shouting throughout his speech.

Compare this to Strickland's recent rally with 1,500 in Columbus that didn't rely on paid commentators:
Ted Strickland rally 10/18/06

Ted even had a "choir" that brought a special air of jubilation to the throng:


By the way, we heard Kilroy rocked Wednesday night, too:

Mary Jo Kilroy at Strickland Columbus rally 10/18/06


Kenny living in a glass house?

One of the rules in the W-era is that you take your own vulnerabilities, and accuse your opponent of them first. That way, at worst, when your problems are revealed it just looks like revenge from the other side.

Well, rumors now circulate that Kenny Blackwell may have all along had a staffer problem.


Desparate, pathetic . . . and lost!

The Kamikaze Krew has a new member, and you just can't make this stuff up. From the Dispatch, Pryce acts like a 7-year-old instead of a 7-termer:
Under gray skies, a flatbed truck decorated with Pryce posters pulled up to the corner of Fourth and Long streets, blasting a song by 1970s and '80s rock warhorses Van Halen. Tailing the truck in an SUV, Pryce waved to supporters before stepping onto the back of the truck to challenge Kilroy to a "sidewalk debate" on the merits of Medicare Part D.

. . .

"Is Mary Jo Kilroy in the crowd? Is Mary Jo Kilroy in the crowd?" Pryce called oout. "Well maybe she'll show up another time."

. . .

"What kind of 14-year incumbent challenges her opponent to take it outside?" Kozar asked. "It's a desparate stunt by a desparate candidate who knows she's going to lose."
And, uh, Debster, Kilroy's campaign office moved two months ago. It's now about 5 miles north in the middle of Clintonville.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Better off?

Brown v. Dewine - short version:
Question: "Is Ohio better off than it was 6 years ago?

DeWine: "Did I ever tell you my story about Sherrod's unemployment taxes? Huh?"


DeWine death rattle

Oh snap, a few more cigars just blew up in Mike's face:
At least one Ohio television station has stopped airing a Republican ad because state documents contradict the ad's accusation that Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Sherrod Brown didn't pay an unemployment tax bill for 13 years.

WKRC-TV in Cincinnati said it dropped the ad, which aired Wednesday, after being advised by its lawyers that the ad was inaccurate. The Brown campaign said its lawyers were assured that television stations WSTR in Cincinnati and WSYX and WTTE in Columbus, owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, pulled the ad on Thursday. Barry Faber, Sinclair vice president and general counsel, declined to comment.


Let's get ready to rumbbbbble!

Damn, we love the smell of desparation in the morning.

Mikey continues to play Kamikaze without a joystick, and his campaign is slow to catch on to what a tactical blunder it is. From Stephen Koff at the PD's Openers:
Sen. Mike DeWine's reelection campaign this morning was still showing its commercial with a woman accusing Sherrod Brown of not paying an unemployment tax bill for 12 years. The claim is false; a paperwork mixup is to blame and the state of Ohio confirms that Brown paid his tax bill long ago.

DeWine campaign spokesman Brian Seitchik reiterated this morning, "The ad will be changed as soon as possible." That is at least more than the Republican National Committee is doing. The RNC wants to keep its similar ad up, although Brown attorneys have warned television stations that the ad is "false and libelous."
Koff also punches a few new holes in DeWine's evaporating credibility by getting the background on the woman Mikey uses in his ad to falsely raises the "12-year lien":
Broyles, of Xenia, is a family friend of DeWine and, she says, "I watched him grow up."

So the claim?

"I just listened to Mike and what he had to say and what he has learned." She would not comment further.
And Koff predicts that there will be some serious blow-back and slapddown tonight from Sherrod:
Remember the House banking scandal, when House members were writing overdrafts with impunity? Try that with your bank sometime. Actually, don't.

Anyway, DeWine was in the House then. If you can count to 31, you can count his number of overdrafts, on checks totaling more than $13,000, according to press accounts at the time.


Flim-flam Padgett?

Joy and Don are accused of playing 3-card Monte with their failed business:
A northern Ohio office supply company says in bankruptcy filings that a firm owned by a Republican congressional candidate sold it property without disclosing it was collateral for an unpaid loan.

The office supply company, Graphic Enterprises Inc. of North Canton, will seek $129,250 from Don Padgett, the husband of congressional candidate Joy Padgett, if it is saddled with the lien.

Joy Padgett, a state senator in a close race with Democrat Zack Space for the House seat held by scandal-scarred Republican Bob Ney, has been beset by personal money woes. She and her husband owned their own office supply company in Coshocton that went bankrupt, and they have since filed for personal bankruptcy protection.


Brunner gets endorsement . . . [UPDATED]

. . . the Morning Journal, [UPDATED] and the Plain Dealer (link fixed).


Liars keep it up

Tactically, this resistence by DeWine looks to us like pissing into the wind, but if your campaign has already reached the kamikaze stage maybe it doesn't matter:
The Republican Party last night refused to cancel commercials that claim Sherrod Brown was a longtime tax scofflaw - even though the state of Ohio says the ad's claim is untrue.

. . .

Jon Allen, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, the successor agency to the employment bureau, said the claims suggesting Brown didn't pay the tax bill for 12 or 13 years are false. His department researched the matter last year, when the Brown campaign asked about the lien.


DCCC raises stakes, adds OH-2, OH-12

From the reliable Sabrina Eaton at the Plain Dealer:
As Democrats grow more confident that they will retake control of the House of Representatives in November's elections, they've expanded their list of targeted races around the country to include five Republican-held Ohio congressional seats instead of the previous three.

"We are in a position today where the field is growing as we are three weeks out from the election," Maryland Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen told a National Press Club luncheon.

. . .

He said the DCCC has added Victoria Wulsin's Cincinnati-area race against GOP incumbent Jean Schmidt and Bob Shamansky's Columbus-area race against GOP incumbent Patrick Tiberi to its list of targeted races. The group is encouraging donations to both candidates and is examining whether to devote other resources to their races, he said.


Sphincter tightening in Deb's world

Squeesh! Rep. Rodney Alexander:
"It's quite apparent from some of the reports out there that there are many people that know what we know and have known it for a lot longer period of time than we've known."
At one level, Alexander if certainly refering to page sponsors. But at this point in his interview, Alexander appears to be choosing his words carefully and has made a very broad comment here.

Hmmm, let's play profiler and think about whom else Alexander might be talking about. Our guess about someone who could fit the bill is:
1) someone in leadership, having access to internal party information
2) someone who knew Foley closely for an extended period
3) someone who regularly attended social functions with Foley
4) someone who has a motive for keeping her lips zipped.
We're just saying, you know, sqeeshy-squish!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Comeback? Come on!

Nice try.

Republicans dismiss talk of a political tidal wave, and say even Rep. Deborah Pryce, a member of the House leadership, is making a comeback in a race that seemed lost.

But increasingly, their goal is to minimize losses at a time of widespread voter discontent over the economy, the war in Iraq and corruption.

Deb's cooked and the plug on the crockpot is being pulled.


Why the DeWine-loves-Bush fundraiser is so great

Via Atrios:
In the survey, Bush's approval rating is at 38 percent, a one-point decline from a previous NBC/Journal poll released earlier this month after the Foley news first broke.


GOP rejects magic!

Republican synchronicity of the day? Or maybe Frank Luntz just got some new polling in about the supernatural.

The Fixer:
"I will say one other thing - there's no magic bullet for the situation in Iraq. It is very, very difficult," Baker said on Tuesday in a speech to the World Affairs Council of Houston.
The Forgetter:
Union representatives asked DeWine for help with manpower issues. They told him that at any given time many of the city's 45 patrol zones are unstaffed and that the city's ports and harbors unit is gone, even though port security is a national issue.

. . .

"There's no magical solution to any of this," he said.


Wednesday bliss

Is this what passes for planning when the big guys pull their brains and benjamins out? Hope so!

#1 from the PD:
President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, will help Sen. Mike DeWine make it up tomorrow by appearing at a DeWine fundraiser in Hudson, according to the Ohio Republican Party.
You know, 'cuz no one connects W with the heightening horror he has unleashed:
That means at least half a million people have been displaced since the February bombing of the Askariya mosque in Samarra, a holy Shiite shrine, as the average Iraqi family consists of eight to 10 members, the chairman of the Iraqi Red Crescent told CNN.

Among the displaced are at least 100,000 children, said Dr. Said Ismail Hakki, and a fifth of the displaced have fled during the last four weeks.
#2 from the PD:
Expect fireworks this afternoon as Sherrod Brown's campaign for U.S. Senate blasts the Republican National Committee and Sen. Mike DeWine's reelection committee and demands that they immediately take down commercials with demonstrably false claims.
You know its a bad day when the reporters won't give you even one day of journamalism.


Dems win round for SoS accountability

A judge has rejected the state’s request to dismiss an Ohio Democratic Party lawsuit that asks the court to order Secretary of State Ken Blackwell to issue directives dealing with voting machine security and long lines at polling places.

Judge Angela White of Franklin County common pleas court ordered parties in the case to submit their final written arguments by Friday in order that she can make a final ruling. She heard initial arguments last month. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, September 29, 2006).

Democrats want Secretary Blackwell to set a consistent policy on voting machine security before, during and after the Nov. 7 election; issue directives and protocols for handling machines in the event they break; and issue directives on how to handle long lines at polling locations.
Sound like a good great idea, especially in light of this story.


Minimum logic

From today's Gongwers (sub. req'd):
According to OBM, “Record keeping and other administrative costs could increase due to an expanded definition of employees and expanded access to employee records.”

“The proposal would also potentially increase enforcement costs because the Ohio Department of Commerce and state courts may need to process increasing numbers of cases,” OBM stated.

. . .

“This confirms what Issue 2 opponents have been saying since the measure was placed on the Nov. 7 ballot,” OTPPP chairman Ty Pine, state director of the National Federation of Business/Ohio, said in a news release.
Leaving aside all the "coulds" and "mays" in the OBM projection, the NFB's response essentially boils down to this goofiness: "Oppose the Minimum Wage increase because government might have to spend a little more to enforce it."

Actually, the OBM report itself, is a joke and an attempt to walk a political tightrope. The document doesn't actually estimate these increased costs. It does however acknowledge that 1) increased enforcement may not occur if there is an increase in the federal Minimum Wage because complaints would be policed by the U.S. Dept. of Labor (and therefore Ohio enforcement costs may actually fall), and 2) enforcement costs were rising already because the number of reported violations of the existing Minimum Wage have increased recently.


Pool party: GOP 3-outta-5 strategy

For the record, the Hypothetically Speaking News Service said this exactly 48 days ago (Sept 1, 2006):
The Ohio GOP will essentially now focus on the non-governor offices it needs to retain control of the state Apportionment Board, the all-important 5-member group that controls political redistrictring (governor, auditor, sec. of state, majority gen. assembly member and minority gen. assembly member).

That means Bennett has marshaled his forces to shift their sights to the State Auditor and Secretary of State races. Bennett is cocky enough to have convinced himself (not us) that Mary Taylor can easily pull back in front of Barbara Sykes. The race he is most obsessed with now is the SOS race that pits the largely unknown Republican Greg Hartmann against the also relatively unknown Democrat Jennifer Brunner.

With both SOS candidates with little name recognition, Bennett is betting that if he drops $5 million on the Hartmann race, especially for a heavy media buy, the SOS job will stay in his column.
The only thing that's changed from Sept. 1 is that 1) all the GOP polling is even worse, and 2) Bennett only has $3 million for Hartmann, not $5 million.

But, apparently, the steno corps has just figured out that their "horse race" stories for the last seven weeks look pretty moronic and are now trying to play catch up. From today's Plain Dealer:
"If there is a sense that we are going to push hard on these two, it's because we absolutely believe that we can win these races," said John McClelland, spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party.

The stakes are particularly high because of what the two offices could represent for Ohio politics in the future.

Both the secretary and auditor sit on the five-member Apportionment Board, which in 2011 will redraw congressional boundaries - a once-a-decade process often dominated by partisan politics. That would come after the next statewide election in four years, but because incumbents tend to hold a heavy advantage, who wins this year is important.

"Pooling our resources into the apportionment board seats - for Republicans, that has become the focus," said Republican strategist Mark Weaver, who is working for the campaign of GOP secretary of state candidate Greg Hartmann.

. . .

So, now Republicans Hartmann and auditor hopeful Mary Taylor, whose campaigns at times have appeared oddly dormant, are mounting late charges.

. . .

Sykes has run much like a front-runner, agreeing to only one debate with Taylor and promising to clean up state government's scandal-riddled reputation, garnered under Republicans. Taylor is doing the chasing, trying to goad Sykes into multiple debates, where she figures she could close the gap by touting her experience as a former accountant.

Brunner has been outspoken about the perceived troubles plaguing Ohio's election system from the time she entered the race, forcing political observers to take note of her campaign.

Hartmann was quiet at the beginning but has turned up the rhetoric over the past month, whipping up charges that Brunner was soft on criminals as a judge and turning the race into a mudfight.

Ohio Republicans know how to run a campaign, having held every executive seat since 1994 - governor and secretary since 1990. But keeping a majority of those in GOP hands might be wishful thinking, they concede.

"I think that winning three out of five," Weaver said, "would be a major success."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


"Firewall" vs rout

From CBS/NYTimes:
The bellwether state of Ohio appears to have become hostile terrain for Republicans this year, with voters there overwhelmingly saying Democrats are more likely to help create jobs and concluding by a wide margin that Republicans in the state are more prone to political corruption than are Democrats, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
. . .

The Democratic candidates for governor and Senate hold commanding, double-digit leads over their Republican opponents in the poll and respondents said they intended to vote for the Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives in their district by a 50 to 32 percent margin.

. . .

The poll found a striking slippage in the president’s standing among white evangelical Christians, a constituency that has provided a strong vote cushion for Republican candidates in recent elections. In November 2004, 76 percent of white evangelical Christians in Ohio voted for Mr. Bush. When asked in this poll whether they approve or disapprove of the job Mr. Bush is doing as president, 49 percent approved while 45 percent disapproved.

. . .

A plurality, 46 percent of Ohio voters, said the economy and jobs were the most important issues facing the state, while 17 percent cited health care, 15 percent said terrorism and 12 percent said the war in Iraq. Seventy percent said both Ohio and the nation are on the wrong track, a number that often spells doom for the party in power.

More than three-quarters of Ohioans in the poll said they strongly favored a ballot measure to increase the state minimum wage to $6.85 an hour from $5.15 an hour.

. . .

More than half of the poll’s respondents said they believed corruption was widespread in Ohio and said, by a 3-to-1 margin, that the Republican Party had more corrupt politicians than the Democrats.

. . .

By large margins, Ohio voters said they trusted Democrats over Republicans to handle government spending and create new jobs.

. . .

The tide of dissatisfaction appears ready to wash out Mr. DeWine, who is trailing Mr. Brown by 34 percent to 48 percent, the poll found. The Democratic candidate for governor, Representative Ted Strickland, is leading the Republican nominee, J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Ohio secretary of state, by 53 percent to 29 percent.

The omens in the poll were almost uniformly grim for the president and his party. Six out of 10 respondents disapprove of the way Mr. Bush is handling the economy and Iraq, and a plurality of Ohioans (by 40 percent to 36 percent) disapprove of the way he is managing the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula. The approval rating for the Republican-led Congress is a paltry 22 percent.

. . .

Twenty-eight percent of those polled said an adult in their household has been out of work and looking for a job in the past 12 months, and 44 percent of them said they were worried that someone in their family would be out of work in the coming year.
Full poll results here.


Ohio's textbook economy

Geez Loueez, somebody warn the Debster. From Families USA:
Ohioans' earnings have grown more slowly than the national average while health costs in the state have skyrocketed as much as or more than they have across the country, according to a new report.

Families USA, a group that promotes universal health care, found health insurance costs in Ohio rose 8.4 times faster than earnings from 2000 to 2006. Nationally, the report found insurance premiums grew 6.4 times faster than median earnings.

The amount Ohio workers and employers must pay for family health insurance premiums has risen 73.3 percent over the six years, about the same as the national average. Individual premiums in Ohio have increased 73.8 percent, more than the national average of 64.1 percent.

The average median income in Ohio, meanwhile, went up only 8.7 percent during the same period — shy of the national earnings increase of 11.6 percent, Families USA found using U.S. Census, Labor Department and Health and Human Services data.

"If earnings continue to lag behind fast-rising health care costs, Ohioans will face diminishing economic and health security," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA.
We agree fully with Pollack and made the same point a few weeks ago in response to some new Kaiser Family Foundation research, however we believe the results will be more cataclysmic, particularly for pension plans.


Ohio Poll: Brown, Strickland expanding leads

Highlights from the Univ. of Cincinnati new survey:
With three weeks remaining before Election Day, the latest Ohio Poll finds Democrat Ted Strickland holds a 14 percentage point lead over Republican Ken Blackwell in the race for governor, 52 to 38 percent.

. . .

Strickland led Blackwell, 50 to 38 percent in the September 2006 Ohio Poll of likely voters.
. . .

Democrat Sherrod Brown holds a seven percentage point lead over Republican Mike DeWine in the race for U.S. Senate, 52 to 45 percent among likely voters. Less than one percent express support for some other candidate and two percent are undecided.

Brown led DeWine, 51 to 47 percent in the September 2006 Ohio Poll of likely voters.
. . .

As Election Day nears, likely voters continue to be pessimistic about the direction in which Ohio, and the country, are headed.

Seventy-one percent of likely voters see things in Ohio as “off on the wrong track,” while 25 percent see things in Ohio as “heading in the right direction.”

When asked about the direction the country is headed, 65 percent of likely voters see things in the country as “off on the wrong track,” while 32 percent see things as “heading in the right direction.”


Dead man walking X 2

Kenny and Denny apparently together to discuss their NAMBLA woes.


+12, Senate race turns into rout, too.

What the RNSC knew, via Political Wire:
Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has opened up a 53% to 41% lead over Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) among likely voters in Ohio's U.S. Senate race, according to a new Quinnipiac poll. Just 7% of voters remain undecided.

Last month's poll showed the two in a statistical tie.

Monday, October 16, 2006


Body language

Bennett and Blackwell just bubble over with warmth for each other, can't you tell.

We imagine the conversation went some thing like this:
"Fuck you, Bob."
"No, fuck YOU Ken."

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Rout fallout: Nat'l GOP writes off DeWine

. . . and, from what we understand, Pryce may be next: From Monday's NYTimes:
Senior Republican leaders have concluded that Senator Mike DeWine of Ohio, a pivotal state in this year’s fierce midterm election battles, is likely to be heading for defeat and are moving to reduce financial support for his race and divert party money to other embattled Republican senators, party officials said.

The decision to effectively write off Mr. DeWine’s seat, after a series of internal Republican polls showed him falling behind his Democratic challenger, is part of a fluid series of choices by top leaders in both parties as they set the strategic framework of the campaign’s final three weeks, signaling, by where they are spending television money and other resources, the Senate and House races where they believe they have the best chances of success.

. . .

The decision involving Mr. DeWine offers the most compelling evidence so far that Republicans are circling their wagons around a smaller group of races, effectively conceding some Senate and House seats with the goal of retaining at least a thin margin of control when the 110th Congress is seated next January. Democrats need to win 6 seats to capture the Senate and 15 seats to win the House on Nov. 7.

. . .

The Republican National Committee and the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee have already spent $4.6 million on his race; party officials said they concluded that there were now simply more opportune races to focus on.

. . .

Republicans noted that Mr. DeWine, in addition to having a sizable financial advantage, was a well-liked figure in Ohio who handily won his first two terms in the Senate and still had enough time to recover, even though recent internal party polls showed him lagging badly.

Republicans said they remained confident that the party’s considerable financial advantage would allow them to hold back a Democratic onslaught over the next three weeks, and they said they were preparing to spend significantly to bulk up any Republican who their polling over the next few days suggested might be faltering.

. . .

One Republican Party official said Mr. DeWine’s continued problems in Ohio had persuaded them to in effect rebuild a firewall that has now partly collapsed, and to find a state to replace it.

The decision about Mr. DeWine’s seat came after recent internal polls showed Mr. DeWine’s Democratic challenger, Representative Brown, jumping to a large lead. Mr. Brown’s surge came despite a barrage of Republican advertisements intended to portray him as weak on national security — the very line of attack that had given party officials confidence earlier this year that Mr. DeWine would be re-elected.

Normally, a party would be averse to scaling back its help for a senator in a state with as many as five competitive Congressional races also on the ballot. But in this case, Ohio Republicans said, Mr. DeWine and Republican Congressional candidates face the added problem of being dragged down this November by the party’s candidate for governor, J. Kenneth Blackwell, who polls show is facing a double-digit loss to the Democrat, Representative Ted Strickland.

. . .

“When you look at the polling numbers, they don’t want to vote for the Democrat,” Mr. Forti said. “Believe me, we are not going to waste two million bucks if we don’t think we have a shot.”



As long as we've know Betty Montgomery's handler-in-chief, Mark Weaver, we've always thought he had some integrity. At least, relative speaking, he was low on the slime scale. But Ohio's worst reporter, Mark Niquette (who, along with his pal Bob Bennett, invented this story about the Dean fundraiser), and Weaver go back aways.

If Weaver wants to repeat things he knows are lies, like he does below, he risks becoming damaged goods, too:
There was little fanfare for Rove's trip to Toledo and there was no announcement made last month when Dean visited Columbus for a party fundraiser.

"They didn't want voters to know screaming Dean was in town," Weaver said.
Again, we post for the record the announcements of the fundraiser:

Picture 5Picture 4


New Rasmussen . . .

. . . we are told has Brown in significant lead for fifth week in a row, and is now calling the governor's race a "rout."


GOP meltdown starts in Ohio?

From the editors of the Economist:
The Buckeye State is America in miniature.

It has a depressed northeastern corner around Cleveland and Akron, where jobs lost from steel mills and tire plants have never been replaced.

It has a poor, rural southeast in the foothills of the Appalachians, rich rolling agricultural land around Toledo in the northwest and a prosperous services economy based in Columbus, the fast-expanding state capital.

On most metrics, from percentage of Protestants to education spending per child, the state is close to the national average.

So it's not surprising that when it votes, Ohio mirrors the nation. In the past century, it has voted for the winning president on all but two occasions.

If past form continues to hold good, the Republican party ought to be deeply worried.

On Nov. 7, Ohio's Republicans look certain to lose the governor's mansion; an incumbent senator is in grave danger of losing his seat; and as many as three Republican-held seats in the House of Representatives could turn Democratic.

Roll that outcome out across the country and you're looking at a meltdown.



As we have noted recently, Bob Bennett and the Ohio GOP aren't stupid. They know when and where to retreat, regroup and reattack. Likewise, the Ohio Dems - instead of celebrating Strickland's victory now - should be refocusing its resources down ticket.

From the AP's Julie Carr Smyth (whose address was published by Ohio GOP operatives the last time she reported on Republican problems):
Ohio Republicans are trying to regroup amid a guilty plea Friday by U.S. Rep. Bob Ney in a Washington influence-peddling case and the trial of GOP fundraiser Tom Noe - accused of stealing from a state investment in rare coins - set to begin next week. Their national counterparts are following suit, focusing every last penny on races they believe they can win.

Those include U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine's seat, which is being hotly contested by U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown; U.S. Rep. Deborah Pryce's seat, which Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy is seeking; and the seat Ney is vacating, which the party hopes state Rep. Joy Padgett can win over Democrat Zach Space.

"As races change, dynamics change," said Ed Patru, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "We're not going to continue spending money in races where we're significantly ahead and, conversely, in some races if it looks to be out of reach, you're not going to dump a bunch of money into it."


The right man for the job

The Morning Journal endorses:
In the Senate, Brown can continue to press for the interests of working families, senior citizens and veterans. His expertise in health care and trade issues will be a valuable addition to the Senate as the nation continues its struggle with rising medical costs and a job-draining global economy.

Agree with him or not, Brown's opposition to the Iraq War and his views on security issues are thoughtful and a much-needed contribution as the nation navigates its way through the new perils of the 21st century world.

Winning election to the Senate requires support from all across the state, not just Brown's familiar turf in and around Lorain County. But this area's problems with lost jobs, a fraying infrastructure, economic uncertainty, runaway costs for health care and higher education are familiar problems all over Ohio. Brown understands those problems and he is committed to finding solutions that will be good for ordinary people.

These qualities that voters in Lorain County have found so valuable in Sherrod Brown should easily resonate with voters from the shore of Lake Erie all the way to the banks of the Ohio River.

That common interest adds strength to the statewide recognition Brown carries from his days as Ohio Secretary of State. As a consequence, Brown has given incumbent Republican Sen. Mike DeWine a close, hot race. That indicates Ohio is restless and ready for leadership of a kind not seen for more than a decade.

Mike DeWine has had 12 years to do his best for Ohio in the U.S. Senate. Now, our sense is that Ohioans want to do better. From all we've seen of Sherrod Brown close-up over the past 14 years, he is now the man for the job.

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