If control of the House and/or Senate flips to Republicans narrowly, it will be because of lost seats and lost opportunities in Ohio.
Five of Ohio's ten Democratic Representatives are in serious jeopardy, matched only in the more populous states of Pennsylvania and New York. Together, these three states account for 16 of the 51 Democratic seats ranked by RealClearPolitics as being Likely or Leaning Republican, or Toss-ups. (And Ohio has the only "Likely GOP" seat of the three -- OH-01). In addition one of the only Republican seats that had a high likelihood of flipping Democratic -- Jean Schmidt's seat in OH-02 -- was pissed away by open collusion with Schmidt by "leaders" of the Ohio Democratic Party in the primary.
On the Senate side, Kos had ranked the open seat now held by retiring George Voinovich as "the most likely Democratic pick-up." This would have been true, hypothetically, if the very same ODP "leadership" had not taken extreme measures to ditch, defame, and derail the one Democrat who could have beaten rising GOP star Rob Portman -- that was, of course, Jennifer Brunner.
Moreover, the large numbers of Democratic seats from Ohio on the chopping block are mostly there unnecessarily. To review those seats briefly:
OH-01: Battle of the Steves, incumbent Driehaus vs. former OH-01 congressman Chabot. Chabot leads by 10-12 points in polls and will win handily, no doubt. Driehaus won in 2008 only on the Obama wave.
OH-13: Incumbent Betty Sutton would have this race easily in an overwhelmingly Democratic district, except the district is too close to the flaming Democratic Party corruption scandals in Cuyahoga County. Those scandals give self-financed GOP challenger Tom Ganley an advertising hook. Unless Sutton seperates herself from the Ohio Democratic machine radically, she'll go down.
OH-15: Mary Jo Kilroy defending against Steve Stivers. Kilroy down by 5 points but could pull it out if she can demonstrate independence from the Dem machine.
OH-16: Incumbent John Boccieri would not be in trouble except for the very same dynamic as in OH-13. He's too close to Cuyahoga County, and Cuyahoga is a combination cesspool, tarpit, and blazing inferno for Democrats since the Strickland Administration had four years to clean up the corruption but did nothing.
OH-18: Zack Space defending against nutjob Bob Gibbs. Space would have it in a walk if not for the fact that the ODP establishment has organized an official boycott of Space, allegedly because of his HCR "no" vote but in fact because Space blew the whistle on Ted Strickland's efforts to strong-arm congressional shunning of Jennifer Brunner's primary campaign.
So to summarize: One race was lost from the start and is beyond salvation, that's OH-01. However, in order to save Steve Driehaus, a lackey of the Ohio Democratic machine, the ODP honchos sabotaged independent Democrat David Krikorian in OH-02, next door, for fear that Krikorian would draw serious money and energy away from OH-01. Both districts include parts of Cincinnati. So Dems gave away an almost certain pick-up, in order to help a loyal machine loser save face.
In OH-18, Democratic "leaders" are cutting off their noses to spite their two faces, by sabotaging Zack Space as a whistleblower, even though he can win his election and save a seat in the congressional balance of power.
In OH-13, OH-15, and OH-16, incumbent Democrats are seriously threatened by tacit association with the Ohio machine, and the festering corruption problems in Columbus and Cleveland. Those incumbents need to radically sever ties to Mr. Strickland and prove they are not cronies if they want to keep their seats.
The needed expressions of independence, however, are made more difficult by the disastrous decision of the lame duck governor and his captive party apparatus to run what they call a "coordinat6ed campaign." Under that idea, the entire Ohio Democratic ticket is joined at the hip, or perhaps at the wrists like a chain-gang.
In a year when it's crucial for candidates to show that they are not beholden to special interests and corrupt elements of the Democratic Party, those candidates are being prevented from doing so. And this is being done for a reason -- to stop candidates from criticizing the governor on the campaign trail. Thus, by intentional strategy, the entire Ohio Democratic ship may sink this year.
Here's a summary of recent Ohio polls that Steve Singiser posted yesterday:
OH-01: Steve Chabot (R) 51%, Rep. Steve Driehaus (D) 41% (The Polling Company--GOP)
OH-01: Steve Chabot (R) 51%, Rep. Steve Driehaus (D) 39% (WeAskAmerica)
OH-12: Rep. Pat Tiberi (R) 51%, Paula Brooks (D) 34% (WeAskAmerica)
OH-15: Steve Stivers (R) 46%, Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D) 41% (WeAskAmerica)
OH-18: Rep. Zack Space (D) 43%, Bob Gibbs (R) 43% (On Message for the Gibbs campaign)
OH-Gov: John Kasich (R) 45%, Gov. Ted Strickland (D) 42% (Rasmussen)
OH-Gov: John Kasich (R) 48%, Gov. Ted Strickland (D) 39% (Ipsos)
OH-Sen: Rob Portman (R) 44%, Lee Fisher (D) 40% (Rasmussen)
OH-Sen: Rob Portman (R) 43%, Lee Fisher (D) 36% (Ipsos)
Yes, Kasich is leading Stricland by 9 points, and Strickland is sinking. Strickland will lose; Strickland SHOULD lose. He's disgraced his state and his party. He should have had the integrity to withdraw from the race after being caught cooking the state books in June of 2009.
Instead, Mr. Strickland has sabotaged the entire Democratic 2010 ticket in Ohio. And that has national repercussions. Someone ought to do something, and that means reigning in the power-mad Strickland campaign before the damage becomes irreparable.
If action is taken, four of Ohio's Democratic congressional seats can yet be saved, and that may turn out to affect the House balance of power.