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    David Krikorian, the leading Democratic candidate in the race to unseat Jean Schmidt in OH-02, today issued a brief statement and longer Op-Ed piece urging passage of the Health Care Reform Bill. The Op-Ed is posted to his website at:

     Krikorian's forthright support of the legislation is notable because Ohio has the largest bloc of "undecided" or wavering Democratic members of Congress. Neighboring Democrat Zack Space in OH-18 is officially undecided, and Steve Driehaus in OH-01 has expressed his intent to vote NO. Other neighboring congressmen include John Boehner and Steve Austria. The Tea Party movement is also based in Cincinnati, which is split between OH-01 and OH-02.

     Krikorian's position was clinched by the CBO report on the bill, proving the measure to be beneficial for the budget deficit.

       Incumbent Republican Jean On-the-Government-Health-Care-Dole Schmidt, has been generally silent throughout the health care debate, but did make a show of presenting a full copy of the Democratic House bill to the the Clermont Public Library, apparently for the purpose of heating assistance via the Schmidt-inspired periodic book-burnings.

      Schmidt is in considerable trouble this year, evidenced by the fact that three high-profile Republicans are challenging her in the primary -- an unusual situation for any incumbent.

       Meanwhile, two candidates who previously vowed to run as Independents have switched to challenge Krikorian in the Democratic primary on May 4. Each, however, has a base limited to one of the district's seven counties, and neither has yet filed an FEC financial report, suggesting minimal resources with only six weeks to go.

       Krikorian has substantial support in all seven counties, has announced county campaign committees with over 200 named supporters, and last week held a gala opening of his campaign headquarters in Clermont County, which over 100 people attended.

       The three Democratic candidates were interviewed together by the Cincinnati Enquirer on Wednesday, at which time each was asked his position on the HCR bill now pending. Jim Parker, a health care administrator, stated he would vote NO on the bill, because he thinks the Medicare eligibility age must be lowered. Surya Yalamanchili, who recently moved back to Cincinnati to run in the race, said he would vote YES on the bill. Yalamanchili has virtually no name recognition outside his adopted home county of Hamilton.

       For more information or to donate to the Krikorian campaign, see the link above.

DISCLOSURE: I have advised the Krikorian campaign on this issue. I am not paid staff.

UPDATE: Ms. Schmidt has commented upon the bill and is quoted in a local newspaper, the News Democrat of Brown County, Ohio, as saying:

"We’re not going to have a chance to challenge it on the floor," Schmidt said. "The self-executing rule will stop all debate. This is the first time it’s ever been done. Congress is forcing the bill through because they promised the President it would pass even though no American wants it."

This is the Bull-schmidt to which we are accustomed. The debate on the bill occurred when the House PASSED the original legislation. Republicans had an additional opportunity through the President's HCR Summit. It's total hogwash that "this is the first time it's ever been done." And the idea that "no American wants it" is, well, full of Schmidt. Perhaps Jean defines an American as an employed person with Cadillac health insurance who donates money to GOP PACs.

Originally posted to Ohiobama on Fri Mar 19, 2010 at 10:27 AM PDT.

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