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    Two powerful sitting Democrats in the U.S. Congress have taken the highly unusual step of giving a primary endorsement to David Krikorian, now far in the lead for the Democratic nomination in Ohio's second district. Krikorian will likely face incumbent coprolite Jean Schmidt in November. (No need to look it up; a coprolite is a fossilized turd.)

     Ohio's primary election is exactly three weeks from today on May 4. Early voting now enters its third week. Since all ten Democratic members of the Ohio congressional delegation are seeking reelection, and seven of the eight seats held by Republicans are considered unwinnable by Democrats, OH-02 is the only Ohio district that is flippable and that has competitive primaries in both major parties.

      As Krikorian outpaces his two primary opponents, and as Schmidt's three primary opponents increasingly savage her, the chances of the seat flipping now increase dramatically.

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    The two congressmen are Adam Schiff and Brad Sherman, no marginal characters since Schiff sits on the Appropriations Committee and is considered one of the top two or three House Democrats on national security issues, while Sherman serves on the Foreign Affairs and Financial Services committees.

      Both congressmen represent southern California districts, and they endorsed Krikorian at a fundraiser for Krikorian in Los Angeles on March 27 (before the start of early voting). None of the other six primary candidates in OH-02, including Schmidt, has received a primary endorsement from a sitting congressman. (Schmidt faces an especially vigorous primary challenge from Warren County commissioner Mike Kilburn, who has taken to tarring Schmidt with the accusation that she's "too liberal," a charge mainly related to her welcoming of stimulus funds for district projects.)

       The endorsement move reflects the fact that Krikorian has become a national champion of First Amendment rights, ironically thanks to Schmidt's efforts to squelch his free expression. Congressman Schiff co-founded the Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press.

        The LA fundraiser for Krikorian, which raised $25,000, one of many held coast to coast, was hosted by the nationally-known attorney Mark Geragos, who represents Krikorian in the Schmidt v. Krikorian "Genocide Denial Trial," now awaiting a ruling from the federal courts. The federal case revolves around the important issue of whether a state body (the Ohio Elections Commission) can regulate and suppress the speech of candidates in an election for federal office, as Schmidt asked the Republican-dominated state commission to do.

         But this backfired on the congresswoman, giving Krikorian the national stage, backed by the ground-breaking testimony of FBI-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds on behalf of Krikorian in the case. Click on the tag "Genocide Denial Trial" for my past diaries on the case.

       Geragos has used the Schmidt v. Krikorian case as the basis for a guest lecture on the First Amendment at UCLA: http://www.asbarez.com/...

         The Krikorian campaign's announcement of the endorsements, issued Monday, reads in part:

Adam Schiff has represented California's 29th district for nine years. He sits on the powerful Appropriations Committee, the Judiciary Committee, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel. He co-founded the Democratic Study Group on National Security and the Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press.

Representative Schiff says of Krikorian: "David is a fiscal conservative with a strong background in economics and finance.  As a small business owner he has practical experience in creating jobs and will be a welcome addition to Congress in 2011.  I am happy to support David in his campaign -- he is the best choice for Congress this November."

Brad Sherman has represented California's 27th district (San Fernando Valley) for thirteen years. Sherman sits on the Foreign Affairs and Financial Services committees and is the author of the well-known 1998 Sherman Amendment that enabled the acquisition of land for environmental rehabilitation.

Representative Sherman comments on David saying " I've met David a few times and I am impressed by his sincerity and his understanding of economic issues.  I am convinced that he will be a strong representative for the people of Ohio's second district and I look forward to serving alongside him next year in Congress."

    The new endorsements give the lie to a claim by late-entry and last-place primary contender Surya Yalamanchili that:
"the Democratic Party has fully lined up behind our campaign" [Yalamanchili campaign newsletter]
    The truth is that Yalamanchili has received NO party endorsements, and no contributions from official party organizations. He also has filed no financial report with the FEC, implying that he did not reach the legal threshold for reporting in 2009. (First quarter 2010 reports are due shortly.)

Mr. Chili also states that he has received:

"ALL of the major endorsements"
     That's not just antiquated; it was never true. Yalamanchili refers to five individuals, three of whom live outside the district, and the other two who do live in the district were past party nominees who lost, neither of whom has held elective office.

       Krikorian's endorsers include two sitting congressmen, the only labor-union endorsement in the race, and the only city mayor who lives in OH-02, in addition to nearly 200 named community leaders in the four largest counties of the district. Krikorian is known and popular throughout the district, has been filing FEC reports for nearly a year, has opened a headquarters in Clermont County, and has a full-fledged up-and-running campaign apparatus. Yalamanchili, a failed contestant on Donald Trump's Apprentice show, has his keyboard and screen.

       A recent infantilist fad on DailyKOS comprised of at least three commenters (or one using three screen names) portrays Yalamanchili as "the leading candidate" for the nomination.

       Maybe on Planet Bizarro, or in the late-night fantasies of Jean Schmidt and her shills (schmills) and Internet trolls (schmolls).

       In fact, Yalamanchili is running a distant third (last) among the Democratic candidates, with a campaign almost entirely limited to urban Cincinnati, only a sliver of OH-02. I'm not at liberty to reveal tracking poll numbers, but here is where the Democratic primary race stands in April in each of the seven counties of OH-02, ranked by size:

1. Hamilton: Krikorian beating Yalamanchili by 3 to 1, Parker a distant third
2. Clermont: Krikorian way out front, with Parker a distant second and Yalamanchili not on the map
3. Warren: same as Clermont
4. Brown: same as Clermont
5. Scioto: same as Clermont
6. Pike (Parker's home county): Parker and Krikorian vying for first, Yalamanchili a very distant third
7. Adams: same as Clermont
     Summary: Yalamanchili is running a distant third in six counties, and is beating Jim Parker only in Hamilton County. I deconstructed the carnival-act Yalamchili campaign here: http://www.dailykos.com/...

       Predictably, both of Krikorian's primary challengers have responded to the new congressional endorsements, with statements posted to the Cincinnati Enquirer's Politics Extra blog:  http://cincinnati.com/...   Taking different tacks, the statements contradict and negate each other.

     In comments posted on that blog, Jim Parker chooses to attack the congressmen, accusing them of being anti-NRA (like that's relevant) and bizarrely accusing them of failing to honor Holocaust Memorial Day. Parker failed to realize that the congressmen endorsed two weeks ago and that they are both Jewish (oops!). He also says he wouldn't accept endorsements from these two if offered (yeah right, and my mother is Madonna).

     Yalamanchili, on the other hand, says the two congressmen are really swell guys, and he'd be happy to have them on board, but then accuses them of endorsing for sordid motives not revealed in their actual statements. As if he has no backing from his own ethnic community of Indian-Americans, Yalamanchili says that Schiff and Sherman needed to pander to their own Armenian constituents by endorsing an Armenian in an Ohio race. (Yeah right, and my GRANDmother is Madonna.)

      Upholding its reputation as the biggest schmill newspaper on the planet, the Enquirer printed Yalamanchili's long op-ed piece as a part of the blog text. This afternoon, Krikorian wrote to Malia Rulon, Howard Wilkinson, and Carl Weiser of the Enquirer, demanding equal time, which was flatly denied. Therefore I am publishing Krikorian's response here:

To the editors of Politics Extra,

It appears that my two primary opponents are not pleased that two powerful Democratic congressmen have endorsed me in the primary campaign. That's to be expected. But my opponents have responded to the endorsements in ways that are contradictory, false, negative, and destructive to Democratic unity in the campaign to unseat Jean Schmidt.

Jim Parker has chosen to attack the two congressmen as individuals, a very strange thing to do for a man who says he wants to be the Democratic nominee in a congressional race. Whatever the outcome on May 4, Democrats and Independents will need to unite and work together to defeat Ms. Schmidt in November. Unlike Jim's approach, my campaign is a unity campaign.

Surya Yalamanchili has released a statement lauding Representatives Schiff and Sherman as individuals, but questioning their motives for the endorsements, attributing the endorsements to the ethnic politics in their districts. Not only is the accusation strange from a candidate who himself has leaned on his ethnic roots for fundraising, but Surya appears to misunderstand that the Schmidt v. Krikorian legal case was pressed by Congresswoman Schmidt in order to attack her most potent opponent. I have been the defendant not the plaintiff in the case.

As the matter proceeds, now in the federal courts, the key issues aren't ethnic ones, but First Amendment rights, specifically the ability of candidates for federal office to speak without censure by partisan state agencies. Congressmen Schiff and Sherman, both leaders in the civil rights movement, were motivated by recognition that Jean Schmidt is trying to squelch free speech. Adam Schiff was co-founder of the Congressional Caucus for Freedom of the Press. Their endorsement statements mention these issues, and my background in finance and economics, not ethnic politics.

Surya is right about one thing. Economy and jobs are the chief issue in this congressional campaign. That's exactly what the Laborers Union, former Cincinnati vice-mayor David Crowley, and Portsmouth mayor Jane Murray all said in announcing their decisions to endorse me for Congress. They and my thousands of other supporters across the district see me as the only candidate who can unite Democrats and Independents to defeat Jean Schmidt in the November election, and then move to rectify the years of neglect of economic development that Ohio's second district has suffered.

-- David Krikorian, candidate for U.S. Congress
 

    Ohio's primary is May 4. Early voting has already started.

     To find out more and donate to the Krikorian campaign, go to: http://www.ilikedave.org/

       Disclosure: I am not now nor have I ever been staff of the Krikorian campaign. I have given unpaid advice to the campaign on some issues. The opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent those of any campaign.

       Shout out to Jean Schmidt, who, I hear, mentioned my name at least five times at a closed-door meeting today.  Those warm fuzzy feelings you expressed -- Back atcha Congresswoman!

CLARIFICATION: "Ohdemvoter," who self-identifies in comments below as the blogger ModernEsquire aka Brian Hester, has been hurling the accusation since last summer that Krikorian "contributed to the Republican Party," usually without giving any substantiating details. He repeats that charge in comments below.

After prodding from me, Ohdemvoter below gives a link to an FEC report that lists David Krikorian as giving $250 to the Republican Party of Virginia in 2004. Mr. Hester has made no attempt to confirm the accuracy of that report with Krikorian.

The facts of the matter are now at hand. The report was an error committed by the Republican Party of Virginia. In 2004, Krikorian was president and CEO of a company that makes and sells political novelty items, sold at dozens of state political conventions of both major parties. The $250 payment was from the company, for a sales booth at a Republican convention in Virginia; the listed address is a company address. Because David signed the check, the Party misreported it as an individual contribution. Dave Krikorian has never made any individual donation to the Republican Party.

Mr. Hester, an apology is due.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Ohiobama on Tue Apr 13, 2010 at 04:28 PM PDT.

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