Tuesday, March 27, 2018

2018 House Elections Coming Up... But It Seems Kind Of Quiet In Ohio


We've been talking about a big primary day coming up-- May 8-- and focussing on lively primaries in North Carolina and Indiana, where Democrats have an opportunity to elect valient progressives Dan Canon and Jenny Marshall. May 8th, though, is also primary day in Ohio. In theory, November should be a good opportunity for Democrats to win back some congressional seats in Ohio. There's a gubernatorial race and a Senate race. According to a new poll by SurveyUSA, Sherrod Brown is running way ahead of both GOP front-runners, multimillionaire right wing crackpots Mike Gibbons (who has written his campaign a $854,654 check) and Jim Renacci, also a multimillionaire and another freaky Trumpist. The survey shows Brown beating either one of them 52% to 38%. Those would be some good coattails to be rising for a congressional candidate, especially in suburban districts that have turned toxic for Republicans because of Trump's and Paul Ryan's disapproval numbers.

The crowded gubernatorial field is coming down to a contest between Dennis Kucinich and Richard Cordray, who are tied at 21/21, the only candidates in double digits. (The likely GOP nominee, Mike DeWine, looks like he could beat either.)

Favorable/unfavorable job ratings for current office-holders seem to be signaling the 2018 could be a good year for Democrats:
Senator Sherrod Brown (D)- 55-27%
Governor John Kasich (R)- retiring- 54/31%
Homophobe Mike Pence (R)- 46/41%
Senator Rob Portman (R)- 44/37%
Señor Donald Trumpanzee (R)- 41/51%
But are the Democrats fielding any credible candidates in Ohio's super-gerrymandered congressional districts? The DCCC has endorsed one candidate so far, Aftab Pureval, a county clerk in the first congressional district where the incumbent is Steve Chabot; it should be a top tier race, but it isn't. As of the December 31 FEC deadline Pureval hadn't raised any money. Shockingly, there isn't a serious challenger in OH-02 (Brad Wenstrump), OH-04 (Jim Jordan), OH-05 (Bob Latta), OH-06 (Bill Johnson), OH-08 (Warren Davidson), OH-12 (open-Tiberi ), or OH-16 (open-Renacci). There are 4 red districts were there are at least Democrats trying, although all would have to be rated as long shots, very long shots... even in a wave cycle:
OH-15 (Steve Stivers)- Rick Neal
OH-14 (David Joyce)- Betsy Rader
OH-10 (Mike Turner)- Theresa Gasper
OH-07 (Bob Gibbs)- Ken Harbaugh
These 4 are at least raising some money to get their message out and make sure voters know there's a candidate challenging the incumbent. In fact, Harbaugh actually outraised Gibbs-- $690,227 to $455,200-- as of December 31. (Caveat: Gibbs has a campaign war chest with $1,298,289.)

There's no reason that the Democrats should be fighting well-financed vigorous campaigns in OH-01 (Cincinnati, PVI R+5), OH-10 (Dayton, PVI R+4), OH-12 (northern Columbus metro, PVI R+7), OH-14 (Cleveland, Akron suburbs, PVI R+5), OH-15 (southern Columbus metro, R+7) and OH-16 (Cleveland, Akron, Canton suburbs, R+8).

There's a special elections coming up for Tiberi's seat (OH-12) on August 7 (so it's just for 3 months) and the primary is May 8 for both the special and the general. There are 10 Republicans and 6 Democrats running. The Dems include Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott, reactionary Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor and last cycle's congressional candidate Ed Albertson. None of the Democrats have raised enough money to finance a competitive campaigns though people have noted that OH-12 should be an easier climb for a Democrat than PA-18's special was last month. Remember in Pennsylvania, the PVI was R+11 and in OH-12 it's only R+7. In the Pennsylvania district Trump beat Hillary by 19 points. In the Ohio district it was just 11 points. Conor Lamb spent $3,031,838 on the race and the DCCC and allied groups spent another $1,919,746. By way of comparison, the OH-12 Democrat who had spent the most as of December 31 was John Russell-- $20,454. All this aside, Cook has changed the district's rating from "Likely Republican" to "Lean Republican" and Sabato's Crystal Ball changed the race the same way-- from likely to lean.

Although the Republicans have a 2-1 registration advantage, more than half the voters are independents and the independents will determine who wins. According to a report from CNBC on the race
If a Democrat has a shot of winning the district, the candidate will likely need to win over highly educated independents and Republicans in Columbus' outskirts who disapprove of Trump. Having to go through a primary process could make that more difficult for a Democrat in Ohio than it was for Lamb, said Mark Weaver, a Republican strategist at the Columbus-based Communications Counsel.

To win a primary election, candidates often have to go closer to their party's extremes. It can make them less appealing to general election voters.

Republicans have argued Lamb had an easier path than other candidates will this year because he did not face a primary election. It allowed him to take moderate stances that would not have held up had he gone through a primary, they contend.

"Most Democratic primaries won't produce a former Marine, former prosecutor, good-looking white guy who loves to shoot AR-15s and who says he's personally pro-life and wants to toss out Nancy Pelosi," said Weaver, who is working as a consultant for the GOP candidate Bacon and has worked with Balderson in the past.

Of course, the primary election concerns go both ways. Weaver says the risk for Republicans in the district is nominating someone whose views skew too far to the right "who cannot win a general election."

That may prove particularly important in Ohio's 12th District, where voters are more educated than the median congressional district. Highly educated voters generally tend to have more socially liberal views and take more time to research and understand the candidates.
So why does this matter, other than hurting Democrats' chances to take back the House? Imagine if there were serious, active campaigns by Democrats in every congressional district, encouraging the Democratic base to get out and vote. Even if the candidates didn't win, they would be helping other candidates up and down the ticket-- Sherrod Brown, for example, or mayors, supervisors, etc. But, like we implied in the title, Ohio hasn't had a living, breathing Democratic Party in decades.

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At 5:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't like the democraps at all, but even I would have difficulty justifying them spending much to campaign there.

The Rs are in charge in ohio. They have a pretty systemic machine to defraud voting there. It's been in place since at least 2000. Neither party nor any admin has done even one thing to make voting in OH fair since they ratfucked Gore, Kerry and their own minority voters.

At 8:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohio has been politically suspect since the reign of Mark Hanna over the Republican Party over 100 years ago. Little has changed since.

At 10:51 AM, Blogger kingster said...

It's critical for all Ohioans to vote for ISSUE 1 to redo Ohio's skewed districts. http://www.cantonrep.com/opinion/20180430/editorial-yes-on-issue-1-for-congressional-redistricting-plan


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