Tuesday, January 09, 2018

The DCCC Can Make OH-01 Into A Real Race-- But They're Not Going To


By the numbers, the craftily-gerrymandered first congressional district of Ohio looks nearly impossible for a Democrat. It includes most of Cincinnati-- Lyle Park and Prospect Hill but not Mount Adams-- but not all of it (which would turn it blue) and enough of Warren County to guarantee Republican majorities. Since the district was redrawn-- after Obama’s 55-44% win against McCain-- Romney won it with 52% and Trump won it 51-45%. Still it looks more possible than almost any other red district in Ohio-- and Lord knows, the moribund Ohio Democratic Party doesn’t do squat in congressional elections and neither does the DCCC. The PVI is R+5, far from impossible in a wave election. But the Democrats don’t seem to have been able to find a Randy Bryce to believe enough in himself or herself to take on longtime incumbent Steve Chabot. SO, instead, it looks like a small gaggle of vanity candidates running in an election which could actually land one of them in Congress.

The last time I looked, a Berniecrat, Sam Ronan, had decided to run as a Republican. But now I can’t tell what he’s running as. His website doesn’t indicate which party and neither does this video he made.

Howard Wilkinson, reporting for WVXU, did a pretty thorough job on the race, although he left Ronan out entirely. He reports that the 2016 candidate, Michele Young, who lost to Chabot 210,014 (59.2%) to 144,644 (40.8%), is about to jump in a primary that already includes Robert Barr, a rabbi, whose website doesn’t mention any issues act all. The DCCC searched-- unsuccessfully-- for a credible candidate.
At the top of the list was Hamilton County commissioner Todd Portune, who has proven he can win cross-over votes from Republicans. But, in the end, Portune gave the DCCC a thumbs-down.

Then there was Mark Lippert, a former Navy SEAL who was ambassador to South Korea under the Obama administration. Another no-go.

And P.G. Sittenfeld was approached by the DCCC. So, too, was state representative Alicia Reece. So far, nothing has come of that either.

The filing deadline for candidates is February 7. Still time for some Bigfoot Democrat to wade into the race, but the clock is ticking.
He reported that Michele Young will officially jump in in early February. He seems more obsessed with the rabbi though.
Today, one month away from the candidate filing deadline, the most active candidate to take on Chabot in Ohio 1 appears to be one who would make history if he were elected.

His name is Robert Barr; and what makes him unique is that he is a rabbi-- and no rabbi has ever been elected to Congress. Catholic priests, a couple; Protestant ministers, a bunch.

But never a rabbi.

And Barr is the only rabbi to run who is a "pulpit rabbi"-- meaning that he leads a congregation, performs weddings, burials, bar mitzvahs and other functions. Thirty-seven years ago, the 62-year-old Barr, a product of Cincinnati's Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, founded Congregation Beth Adam in Loveland, which he still leads today.

"I am not running to become the first rabbi to be elected to Congress," Barr told WVXU. "I am running to be a congressman who happens to be a rabbi."

Barr said he made the decision to run "by watching what was going on in politics in this country. I was extremely disheartened. I saw people who had been good friends stop talking to each other. The atmosphere has been poisonous."

Some of his own friends, he said, tried to discourage him from running.

"The first thing I heard from some of my friends was, 'Bob, running for Congress is going to be awful,'" Barr told WVXU. "But the more they talked about how bad it was, the more I wanted to do it."

Barr is discouraged by what he sees coming out of Washington today-- the acrimony, the name-calling, the extreme partisanship that grinds legislation to a halt and results in nothing positive getting done.

"Politics in Washington is so balkanized, so divided," Barr said. "People on both sides appear to be unwilling to talk to each other because they are afraid of being seen as weak or as a loser."

As for Chabot, Barr said, "after 20 years, I've not seen him work to repair that damage."

Barr is idealistic, but he is not delusional. He knows perfectly well that defeating Chabot would be a steep climb in that heavily-Republican district.

"I just have this feeling that, right now, people are looking for someone who has worked in the community, someone who is authentic," Barr said. "I've been doing that for 37 years."

Last week, he announced an impressive group to serve as his campaign co-chairs.

They are retired Judge Nathaniel Jones of the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Barb Rinto, the former director of the University of Cincinnati's Women's Center; and Sallie Westheimer, the retired CEO of 4C for Children.

He is not going to run a campaign on duct tape and bailing wire; he plans on raising serious money for this campaign-- although he knows that, in a general election, Chabot and his allies, would outspend him by a large margin. Chabot already has over $1 million in his campaign account.

Barr told WVXU that as of about two weeks ago, he had raised $150,000 for his campaign since he officially became a candidate on Oct. 15. He won't say how much he has now, but said that when he files his first quarter campaign finance report with the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) it will be "substantial."

The only Democratic candidate in Ohio 1 to have filed a campaign finance report so far with the FEC is a little-known transgender dentist named Laura Ann Weaver, who has a little over $8,000 in the bank.

While Barr is out raising money and putting together a campaign organization, Young is organizing. her campaign.
Sabato's Crystal Ball managing editor is Kyle Kondik, an Ohioan and he told Wilkinson that "The Democrats can win back control of the House without picking up a single seat in Ohio” which explains why they are ignoring the state and why “Ohio 1 will not end up being a prime target” for the DCCC. They use similar excuses all over the country, part of the explanation for a decade of pitiful failure.

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At 9:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

THIS is why the desire to "reform the Party from within" is doomed to abject failure. The only way to afflict Party leaders is to leave the Party and create a viable replacement.


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