Yet the 2006 election year turned out to be unusually trying for Regula. Matt Miller, an upstart Republican opponent, held Regula to 58 percent of the vote in the May primary. Regula went on to win an 18th term in November, but again with 58 percent over Democrat Thomas Shaw — his career low in a re-election contest and 8 percentage points off his 2004 vote share.
As a coup de grace, Regula’s party lost 30 seats and its House majority, costing him his chairmanship and demoting him to ranking Republican on the Appropriations Financial Services subcommittee.
Now, with Regula approaching his 83rd birthday Dec. 3 — he is the second-oldest member of the House of Representatives — Regula is seen by some observers as a possible target for a Democratic Party takeover bid in 2008, or as a possible congressional retiree. And while Regula has not yet announced his plans for next year, candidates in both parties already are trying to get ahead of the curve in the 2008 campaign cycle.
Democratic hopeful John Boccieri, a state senator, formally kicked off his campaign Monday after saying a few weeks ago that he would run in the 16th regardless of what Regula does.
This isn't a solidly Republican seat, just three points more Republican than the national average (Bush got 54-46 against Kerry in 2004). And Ohio has gotten a lot more Democratic as of late, given the utter collapse of the state's GOP. And Regula lucked out in 2006, with an unknown candidate who spent a mere $91K while he spent over $1 million.
A solid, well-funded candidate can flip this seat. Given our relatively poor House performance in Ohio in 2006 (while Democrats romped at the state level and in the Senate race), there's a bunch of seats we can snag. The 16th will be added to that pile.
Boccieri, a Fighting Dem, is definitely someone to watch. Local blogger Daily Left gives us the introduction:
Boccieri became the latest veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to run for United States Congress Monday when he made his long awaited announcement in in front of the Hoover Company in N Canton, Ohio, which recently announced it like many other NE companies will be closing. Alongside of Boccieri was Ohio Governor Ted Strickland and Treasurer Richard Corday (for whom he once worked as a legislative aide). What makes Major John Boccieri different from others veterans to run is that he did his four tours in the Air Force while he was serving in the Ohio House of Representatives and now in the Senate. He is no rookie when it comes to winning elections. Last year his Republican opponent for an open Senate seat dropped out late in the game after finding himself miles behind Boccieri. Rumors were all over the Buckeye state that he was on the shortlist to be named Ted Strickland’s running mate in 2006. What I’m saying is, John is not only a brave veteran of two wars, but also a veteran of Ohio politics. And, by the way, he’s only 37 years old.
Also today, VoteVets gave their endorsement.
John Boccieri, is in his first term as a member of the Ohio State Senate. Boccieri served our country by enlisting in the U.S. Air Force. He is an Air Force Reserve Major and aircraft commander aboard the C-130 aircraft, and was stationed at Youngstown Joint Air Reserve Station. He recently deployed in 4 rotations to support our troops in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Boccieri has served our nation in over 40 countries and has eleven years of service in the U.S. Military.