Primaries matter.  They matter a lot.  As Democrats fret about seats we might lose in November, it might be more prudent to concentrate on races where we might instead, pick up a seat.

In Ohio’s 2nd District, two distinctly different Democrats of equally different moral spines are duking it out for the chance to go up against Mean Jean Schmidt: David Krikorian and Surya Yalamanchili, aka “Chili.”  Living in the district, I've come to know the players and thus see yesterday’s findings of Krikorian’s blatant racism to be of tremendous import. The battle for this nomination reminds me of what Massachusetts Democrats neglected when they fielded the wrong candidate for Senator Kennedy’s seat. Had they paid attention, they would have chosen someone who could easily have held onto the seat.

As in Massachusetts, should Ohioans ignore the obvious and choose the flawed candidate on Tuesday, they will forego the right to mourn their loss come November. Over the past few years, this district has watched Mr. Krikorian magically morph from a self-professed “Reagan Conservative” to a Libertarian, then run in ’08 as an Independent, when he played the role of spoiler, sticking the district with another two years of Schmidt. This go-around, he put his finger to the wind and decided to run as a "Howard Dean Democrat." Give me a break. This guy will say anything.  And that is precisely what’s gotten him into his current fiasco. It seems that, for Krikorian, saying anything places him squarely in the camp of genuine race-baiters. http://washingtonindependent.com/... and http://www.politico.com/...

Krikorian has repeatedly mocked Chili’s name, going so far as to say, “Now do you really think that a guy with a name like that has a chance of ever being elected?” at a Veterans of Foreign Wars meet-up in Clermont County, the county notorious for its Rovian role in the 2000 presidential catastrophe. It’s not that Krikorian is stupid; just that he’s overly willing to play to whatever audience he’s in front of. In an earlier post, http://www.dailykos.com/...

I noted that this “Howard Dean Dem” showed up as recently as 2009 at Tea Party events and was photographed in December, beaming away, at the vehemently anti-tax group, COAST’s, holiday party. Some Democrat.

Ironically Jean Schmidt, in a letter written to David on her Congressional letterhead, was the one to first call him out on his unseemly racist blasts. When local and state party elders learned what Krikorian had been saying, they immediately and soundly denounced him. “Your comments on Surya’s name are best insensitive and worse appear racist,” wrote Timothy M. Burke and David Lane, the Democratic chairmen in Hamilton and Clermont counties, respectively. “It is deeply disturbing to us that you would use his name, which is obviously derived from his ethnic heritage, against him in a denigrating manner, especially considering how strongly you value and celebrate your own heritage.”

They added: “We will be voting for Surya next week, just as 18 months ago we were delighted to vote for someone else with an unusual name — Barack Obama.”

Lane added that he has personally heard Krikorian question whether Yalamanchili could be elected because of his Indian name. "When I saw the letter from Jean Schmidt, I realized that is was almost word-for-word what I heard Krikorian say,''  He said Krikorian spoke to a meeting of the Clermont County Democratic executive committee several months ago. Lane said Krikorian walked with Lane to his car after the meeting.
"That's when he asked me if I really thought somebody with the name Yalamanchili could get elected. I had no doubt in mind that he said that at the veterans meeting because he has used the same words with me."

Krikorian denies his birther-lite behavior just as he is also backing away from an on-tape statement where he denounced a core Democratic principle in stating that government workers should not have the right to unionize because “It puts the public at a disadvantage.” http://www.youtube.com/... Again, some Democrat.

Ohioans of the 2nd District, it is up to us not to let Krikorian get within a mile of the nomination. The good news is that we have remarkable candidate in Surya Yalamanchili. Surya is impressive in all the right ways : he is young, self-made, accomplished, intelligent, principled and charismatic. When voters get to know him, he will play so well in November against Mean-Jean, we may just walk away with a victory. David, eh, not so much.

Originally posted to Save Ohio Now on Thu Apr 29, 2010 at 02:18 PM PDT.

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