Jean Schmidt just can't win. First, Independent-Democratic opponent David Krikorian accuses her of taking "dirty money" from the Turkish-American lobby. Now, GOP primary-challenger C. Michael Killburn accuses the congresswoman of taking "filthy money" (i.e. stimulus funds, in his opinion -- racial implications of "filthy" intended) from the Obama Administration.
And, according to 3rd quarter financial statements, real dirty money (but not enough) is going to fund Krikorian's primary opponent, Todd Book. That would be money from Ohio's wannabe gambling industry. Book sponsored the statehouse bill that counted uninstalled slot machines as a source of future state revenue. This end run around five voter referendums against state gambling has been shot down by the Ohio Supreme Court, leaving the budget with a $900 million hole. Henceforth, he'll be known as "Todd Cook the Books," not a serious challenge to Krikorian.
Call re-write. Schmidt now has a serious primary challenger. Krikorian does not.
What's more, Krikorian, the only major contender with no "dirty money" allegations against him, now leads any challenger in any party in net available campaign assets by more than 2 to 1.
In the never-dull OH-02 congressional race, about the only thing that Jean Schmidt had going for her in the incipient rematch with Indpendent-Democrat David Krikorian was that Schmidt faced a clear path to her party's nomination, while Krikorian faced a potentially ugly primary fight.
All that has changed suddenly.
On Saturday, Warren County commissioner C. Michael Killburn announced he will challenge Schmidt for the Republican nomination -- from the right. http://www.journal-news.com/... Warren County is Schmidt's strongest base of support of the district's seven counties.
Meanwhile, the possibility of a strong primary challenge to Krikorian has fizzled with the posting of 3rd quarter 2009 financial statements. Potential primary challenger Todd Book was widely touted as the Democratic machine's solution to a potent Krikorian insurgency. The Cook Report even rerated the district based on Book's entry, misunderstanding that Book is a lowly state representative whose district only partially overlaps with the eastern fringe of OH-02 -- not a state senator as reported in error. The BS Blog (some say the BS stands for "Buckeye State" but we know better), has made the Book campaign its cause celebre.
But now the financials are in. Based on the FEC forms filed, Todd Book raised a measely $64,000 in his first reportable quarter. But that's not the worst of it. $5,000 of that came from the Ohio Democratic Party (no comment). Another $2400, the maximum for an individual, came from a Mr. Jeff Jacobs of Cleveland, at the other end of the state. Jacobs owns the Scioto Downs racetrack, where Book's phantom slot machines would have been installed. Another $2,000 of Book money (I will refrain from the too-obvious bookie jokes) came from the International Game Technology PAC. At least another $13,000 came from other PACs. Book has virtually no name recognition among 85% of district voters, and he reports only $45,000 cash on hand.
If you still think that Mr. Book is going to win the primary AND go on to beat Jean Schmidt in the general with that kind of track record, so to speak, you won't be placing any bets for me.
Meanwhile, Krikorian refuses to accept any PAC money, as he always has. He raised $102,000 in the third quarter, none from PACs, and despite concerted attacks on him from both the Schmidt and Book camps. Krikorian reports $115,000 cash on hand, and his name recognition already spans the district, boosted recently by the favorable press coverage resulting from the Schmidt v. Krikorian legal battle before the Ohio Elections Commission (click on the Genocide Denial Trial tag for background). Krikorian reports zero campaign debts.
In 2008, Krikorian ran for the seat as an Independent, garnering 18% of the district-wide vote, the highest percentage of any Independent congressional candidate in the country. OH-02 was made for Independents, if unintentionally; in at least three of the counties, registered Independents outnumber registered Democrats or Republicans. If pollsters really understood this district, they would ask: "If the election were held today, would you vote for a politician, or someone else?"
That someone else is David Krikorian, a businessman who, on principle, refuses to accept PAC money. He's discovered the secret to wresting control from Republican Schmidt by uniting Independents and Democrats here -- something that Victoria Wulsin (whom I supported) could not have done in 2006 or 2008. (As I've often stated, if Krikorian did not run in 2008, Schmidt would have won by an even larger margin.)
Schmidt reports taking in $102,820 in the third quarter, almost exactly the same as Krikorian. She has $235,000 cash on hand, but she also has $277,000 in debts. Neither Democrat Jim Parker nor the new Republican entry Killburn has yet filed financial reports with the FEC. Krikorian therefore is the current leader in finances, accounting for debt.
Find out more and donate at: http://www.krikorian2010.com/
NOTE: Brian Hester, an attorney in John Boehner's hometown, has been on a virtual campaign of tyrrany, claiming that David Krikorian is not "a real Democrat" and that I am "a liar" for saying that Krikorian will trounce Todd Book in the primary. Mr. Hester writes for the BS Blog under the name ModernEsquire, and on DKOS under the name ohdemvoter.
I think it's time for Mr. Hester to elaborate on his secret strategy that will hand this primary to Todd Book, and also to explain how shilling for Cleveland gaming interests makes one a "real Democrat." Most of all, I challenge Mr. Hester to state whom he will support after David Krikorian wins the nomination.