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Tomorrow is special-election day in Ohio's 5th district, and while the odds certainly favor the Republicans, they sure aren't looking like a party that's passionate about winning.

There's widespread discontent with the lackluster campaign of the GOP's chosen, Bob Latta. From subscription-only Roll Call (via James L. at Swing State Project), we get this:

The [GOP] Members are running around saying, 'What just happened?'" said a Washington Republican with knowledge of the district. "To put it bluntly, they're pissed off. People are angry that Bob Latta hasn't devoted himself better on the campaign trial to connect with northwest Ohio voters and given an opportunity to an opponent who was so far off the radar and actually made it a race." [...]

"It's like the Latta campaign is trying to write a handbook on how to lose a Congressional campaign in 60 days or less," said the Republican.

Indeed.

Perhaps that's why John Boehner, House Minority Leader and proud representative of the neighboring 8th district, is bravely staying away from this race. Boehner, the House's most powerful Republican, has eschewed campaigning here, electing to spend his time campaigning in a different special election, in Virginia's 1st District.

Never mind, of course, that his district is right next door; never mind that Democrats have gone all-in on this district and that there's a legitimate risk that the GOP may lose this seat. Boehner is too busy, it seems, hanging in Virginia (although Democratic counterparts Governor Ted Strickland and Senator Sherrod Brown are only too happy to help out Robin Weirauch).

Well, if Boehner won't help Latta out, perhaps Fred Thompson will? Unfortunately, Thompson shows about the same energy and vigor for campaigning in this web ad as he does in his own campaign (which is to say, none).

The Republicans have done what they can to try and raise money on the Intertubes, but unfortunately, they appear to be having some troubles guiding people to Slatecard, the GOP's pathetic counter to ActBlue. Seems, also, that there's more than a bit of Latta apathy online as well as offline. At last report, Latta had pulled in the lofty total of $1,908 on Slatecard, from all of 21 donors.

Compare that with the $92,616 Weirauch has raised on ActBlue (including $15,604 from Blue Majority; congratulations to you all), and we get a decent idea of Latta's online support vis-a-vis Weirauch's.  

But perhaps of greatest concern for the Republicans facing tomorrow's election is the possibility that turnout may be unusually low. The Republican primary in this district was exceptionally ugly, and Latta only won with 44%, to 40% for his opponent Steve Buehrer. Latta has apparently had a difficult time smoothing over his differences with Buehrer's old supporters, as the Lima News reports:

Following a negative, divisive and close primary in which the Ohio Elections Commission reprimanded Latta and fellow candidate Ohio Sen. Steve Buehrer for lying about each other, Buehrer supporters haven’t gotten behind Latta.

"You had four in 10 Republican voters supporting Buehrer. If they are disgusted by the negativity of that campaign or the outcome, and they stay home, it could really change the outcome of the election," Miller said.

Buckeye State Blog has a piece on the GOP's turnout concerns, which surely will not be alleviated by the weather (it's expected to rain, with temperatures in the 30s).

In the face of the discontent with the Republican candidate in the district, the Republicans, naturally, are doing the only thing they know how to do; they're spending boatloads of money (which, for once, they can't afford to spend), on ads designed to make people afraid of the monsters under the bed (in this case, Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, brown people, and Daily Kos. Wow, didn't see that coming).

This is going to be a very difficult race to win. Simply put, we just don't win districts this red very often. We currently have elected Democrats in exactly six seats with a higher Cook PVI. Latta has outraised Weirauch through the race (although she's done very well for a Democrat in this district), and the Republicans have thrown vats of money into this district: they're in for nearly $430,000, so despite the fact that they're having trouble drumming up excitement for their candidate, they're pulling out the stops to keep this district.

But, at the very least, we have a fighting chance in this district, and we have a candidate we can truly be proud of.

The GOP sees a chance they might lose a safe Republican district, and they've got a candidate who leaves them shaking their heads.

Update: Check out this diary from lpackard for reports from the campaign and information on phonebanking for Robin Weirauch.

On the web:
Robin Weirauch for Congress
Blue Majority ActBlue Page

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 08:02 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Remember the Dean morphing into OBL ad? .. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miss Blue, mcfly, brownsox, Greasy Grant

    well ... that's kinda what they are doing in OH-05 now ...  going from HRC into Weirauch ... it will be interesting to see what happens .. as the NRCC is now going very low class

    •  They've really got to come up with some new stuff (5+ / 0-)

      Whether or not people like Hillary Clinton, Pelosi, or Daily Kos, I seriously doubt the response to an ad like this is going to be as Pavlovian as the NRCC clearly thinks it is.

      Especially since we've heard it all before...so many times.

      Joe Lieberman likes to be called an "Independent Democrat". I like being called a "sexual dynamo".

      by Arjun Jaikumar on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 08:17:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You'd think ... (0+ / 0-)

        that would be the case .. I sure hope so .. then again .. I don't know how many closet Rush Limbaugh/Glenn Beck lovers there are out there

        •  Well, one of the problems with repetition (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          daeros

          of the same talking points, is that it breeds familiarity.

          Voters have heard Republicans call any and all  Democrats "extreme liberals" since time immemorial. That, by itself, just doesn't carry that much weight anymore.

          Same with invoking the Dragon Lady. Maybe it worked once, but it isn't going to work 2,000 times.

          And frankly, I'm not sure the average voter is that responsive to cries of "Nancy Pelosi! Daily Kos!". Tying Democrats to Pelosi didn't seem to help last year, anyway.

          Joe Lieberman likes to be called an "Independent Democrat". I like being called a "sexual dynamo".

          by Arjun Jaikumar on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 08:55:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I hate to ask an impertinent question, but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        brownsox

        how much is the DCCC putting into this race?  Even though it looks like a likely loss, is the chance of a victory motivating anything from them?

        If somebody writes a book and doesn't care for [its] survival, he's an imbecile. U. Eco. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

        by Major Danby on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 11:15:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  How This Will Look (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Henry Pussycat, JoeW

    Latta will be relected, which will surprise no one here despite our hopes that a Republican incumbent would go down in a solidly Republican district. This is an interesting race merely because there's a chance Latta will lose, not because we expect the chance will materialize.

    But the corporate mass media will report this as a reversal for the "Democratic Wave" that started in 2006 and will likely continue in 2008. They'll call it a "defeat for the netroots". They'll try to make it harder for the wave to continue, especially in Ohio.

    So, as usual, tomorrow is just another day that we work to straighten out this whole mess, one Republican at a time - whether a politician or a media shill.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 08:14:06 AM PST

    •  I don't think that frame will work (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      andgarden, brownsox

      ...not until the Republicans upset an incumbent Democrat or grab a Dem-held open seat.

      But of course they'll try. What else do they have?

    •  With the amount the Republicans have spent (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      andgarden

      and with the solid red hue of this district under most normal circumstances, a narrow Latta victory is a Pyrrhic victory for them.

      Joe Lieberman likes to be called an "Independent Democrat". I like being called a "sexual dynamo".

      by Arjun Jaikumar on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 08:20:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Re-elected? Incumbent? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DocGonzo, brownsox

      You don't have special elections involving incumbents. OH-05 is replacing the late Paul Gillmor, which is what makes this a potential Democratic pickup from the Republicans.

      Another article on this race from yesterday's Washington Post: An Ohio Republican's Path to Congress No Longer Looks So Smooth.

      © sardonyx; all rights reserved

      by sardonyx on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 08:54:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  True, But (0+ / 0-)

        OK, I mistakenly overstated the strength of the Republican position. But Latta will probably win anyway. It's a distinction without difference.

        The media coverage reporting that Republicans are in trouble will just lower expectations so that the media coverage reporting the Republicans have won "against the odds" will be that much more powerful.

        I don't like it, but I know what to expect from what we're up against.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 09:05:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  HA! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          brownsox

          If indeed Latta wins, watching the media try to crow will be the very silver lining to go with the loss.

          "Ooooh! Ooooh! We managed to hold on--barely--to a solid Republican district in the most conservative part of Ohio! We blew a huge chunk of our 2008 warchest defending a place where we shouldn't even have to campaign--and we managed not to lose anyway! Fear our wrath!"

          It'll be such a hoot.  If, in fact, they do manage to not lose anyway.

          Remember how the Republicans supposedly kicked ass by holding Nikki Tsongas to a close race in the most conservative district in Massachusetts? Our WORST case scenario Tuesday is that we do the same twice as badly to them.  Best case is we win outright, which would send shockwaves through the GOP and probably induce another half dozen retirements in competitive districts.

          "...And I woulda got away with it, if it hadn't been for that meddling Kos!" ---attributed to Tom DeLay

          by AdmiralNaismith on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 10:09:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Missing the Point (0+ / 0-)

            The media will not be reporting it the way you just "preported" it, though you're right. They will report it the way that I preported it: Democrats already losing again.

            Just because the media reported Tsongas that way is exactly the demonstration that they'll report it the opposite (wrong) way when the opposition (Democrats) is the subject. That's the corporate mass media idea of "balance".

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 10:30:18 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  As much as I hate it I am afraid Latta will win (0+ / 0-)

          I hope I am wrong but basically as long as you don't have a wide stance in the bathroom or "love: children you just have to have the "R" next your name and you can win.

          Northwest Ohio - except Toledo - really hasn't elected Democrats since Woodrow Wilson's time.

          In my hometown of Findlay, they had 2 people running for mayor with no experience in politics. The Republican had no campaign plan while the Dem did and the Republican won.

          Doug
          ...he uses big words like 'particularly' and 'delicatessen.' -- Jack

          by cadfile on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 10:21:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Nomenclatural question: (0+ / 0-)
      But the corporate mass media will report this as a reversal for the "Democratic Wave" that started in 2006 and will likely continue in 2008. They'll call it a "defeat for the netroots".
      Do they actually use "netroots"?
      •  No. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DocGonzo

        They say "angry liberal bloggers".  

        You know, as opposed to the Coulter Right, which wouldn't know an act of unkindness if it shot them in the face.

        "...And I woulda got away with it, if it hadn't been for that meddling Kos!" ---attributed to Tom DeLay

        by AdmiralNaismith on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 10:11:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Who gives a damn (0+ / 0-)

      All of the positive "netroots" coverage we got out of Herseth and Chandler in 2004 did not lead to a good election in November, and the Republicans crowed about Bilbray's win over the hapless Busby in '06 only to get flattened in fall.

    •  Everyone prepare to say the phrase (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brownsox

      "In one of the most Republican districts in the country...."

      If somebody writes a book and doesn't care for [its] survival, he's an imbecile. U. Eco. (P.S.: my opinions are mine, not my employer's.)

      by Major Danby on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 11:13:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Could we win this race based on a lack of GOP (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miss Blue, brownsox, Greasy Grant

    voter turnout alone?

    It would seem as though the GOP has failed to mend the fences following the primary battle, and with 40 percent of the primary vote going to Latta's opponent, we could really see terrible numbers showing up at the polls.

    I'm supporting Chris Dodd, and his plan to create the Rapid Response Reserve Corps.

    by Skulnick on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 08:15:30 AM PST

  •  Have They No Sense of Irony? (3+ / 0-)

    The West Wing theme? Really?

    http://brianfinifter.com

    by HamillianActor on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 08:15:37 AM PST

  •  I saw that slatecard problem the other day (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brownsox

    what a joke.

  •  For the first time in my life I wish that I lived (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brownsox, Greasy Grant

    in Ohio...substitute your favorite Seinfeld catchphrase.

    Pop-gun president lying with impunity, soundbyte policies and photo opportunities

    by Dave the Wave on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 08:17:22 AM PST

  •  Props to lpackard for (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Miss Blue, brownsox

    keeping us up-to-date on all the goings on in Ohio, and for all the hard work she's doing (and not just because she's a Michigander and a personal friend of mine and way cool).

    "People tell the truth for free. It's getting them to lie that costs money."--Matthew Chilelli

    by PerfectStormer on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 08:22:54 AM PST

  •  There's another reason turnout may be low (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brownsox

    We had a nice icestorm this weekend, and some roads are still kind of nasty.  There may be at least a few voters who choose to stay at home.

    I won't be one of them

    Easy is right. ~Chuang Tzu

    by Anjana on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 08:39:18 AM PST

  •  Sounds like what happened (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brownsox

    during the Democratic primary for Governor here in GA in 2006.

    The Republican primary in this district was exceptionally ugly, and Latta only won with 44%, to 40% for his opponent Steve Buehrer. Latta has apparently had a difficult time smoothing over his differences with Buehrer's old supporters

    The eventual candidate, Mark Taylor, slung so much mud at Cathy Cox, that he pissed off her voters to the point they refused to support him.  It may very well have cost him the general election.

    Well, that and there wasn't an ounce of difference between Perdue and Taylor in any substantial way other than their party affiliation that most of us could see.  Perdue sucks, Taylor sucks, and if you're gonna have an asshole sitting in the Gov's chair, I'd just as soon it wasn't my party being displayed as such.  Taylor struck me as Zell Miller, Junior.

    The apocalypse will require substantial revision of all zoning ordinances. - Zashvill Political compass -7.88 -7.03.

    by Heiuan on Mon Dec 10, 2007 at 08:59:41 AM PST

  •  Can we please talk about VA-01?? please? (0+ / 0-)

    We haven't really discussed it much on the FP, and it's tomorrow.  It could use some love too...

  •  Here is the world's smallest violin,... (0+ / 0-)

    ... playing a sad, sympathetic tune for the Ohio Republican Party.  O, the poor oppressed Republicans! You should find one, and pat it on the head.

  •  From the Wood County Board of Elections (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lpackard, brownsox

    Note voting times: 6:30 AM until 7:30 PM

    Wood County BOE

    Winter Weather Arrives in Wood County

    Polls Will Be Open Regardless of Weather

    The Wood County Board of Elections is reminding voters of the Special Congressional General Election that will take place tomorrow, December 11, 2007.    Polling officials will be reporting at 5:30 am and the polls will be open to voters from 6:30 am until 7:30 pm.

    The Election will be held regardless of weather conditions as State and Federal law do not provide for postponement.  Voters will vote at their normal voting location.  Voting will take place at these locations even in the event the location is closed for other business.  The Board of Elections encourages voters to allow extra time for traveling to and from their voting locations.

    All of the schools in this area were either closed today or running on a two hour weather delay. Many of  the polling places are in schools and the Board wants everyone to know that even if the school is closed, the polling place will be open.

    Although the results SHOULD be counted VERY quickly, there could be delays in getting memory cards from the outlying precincts into the sixteen(!) BOE headquarters (Remember how rural this District is.) Also, the Wood County 'net servers may get swamped and bog down from the traffic from around the country (world!).

    With our new SoS, you can find good info at http://www.sos.state.oh.us

    This weather really stinks. I've come down with Bronchitis from Hell.  

  •  Is Latta's home precinct going to be the last to (0+ / 0-)

    report, so that they know exactly how many votes are needed to beat the automatic recount? Like mean Jean did?

  •  Turnout (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    brownsox

    Unfortunately, any turnout effect from the rain and cold will probably favor the Republicans.  A political science paper was put out a few months ago that rain, cold, and snow disproportionately deter poorer voters from turning out to vote.  This almost universally hurts Democrats.  But hey, here's hoping that Democratic enthusiasm and Republican desperation make this one exception to the rule.  Good luck all of you working on the Ohio5 campaigne!

  •  Latta nothing (0+ / 0-)

    Sorry, couldn't resist...probably the stalest of jokes by now.

    Good post, brownsox. It's esp. interesting to see that Republicans are fearing rather than engineering a low turnout.

    There's a good vibe about this race.

  •  this race... (0+ / 0-)

    this race is really going to be a bloodletting. let's hope we win it. Even if we lose the GOP will have trashed so many resources here it will spread them thin.

    -9.12, -6.97 (Yes. It is that black and white.)

    by daeros on Tue Dec 11, 2007 at 04:30:17 AM PST

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