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Apparently tomorrow morning there will be a bombshell coming out of the Painesville, Ohio office of nine-term Congressman Steve “Family Values for You But Not for Me” LaTourette (Oh-14). The fake “moderate” is supposedly going to announce that he is retiring from Congress, allegedly because he isn’t happy with his committee assignments but probably in reality because Ohio is beneath him now that he dumped his wife and kids for a young lobbyist (He seldom comes back to the district).

With the Ohio primaries already long receded into history, this leaves the Republican leadership in the northeastern Ohio counties east of Cleveland that comprise the district to replace him on the ballot.

Because of the Republican gerrymander that has inflamed Ohio voters to the point where 750,000 signatures were turned in this morning to place Voters First Ohio — which would overturn the redistricting process and replace it with a nonpartisan citizens commission  — on the ballot, this is possibly the last real swing district in the state. So this is great for us, right? A real pickup opportunity, since the only thing standing in the way of electing a Democrat here was LaTourette’s inexplicable popularity and his coasting on his reputation as prosecutor in the infamous Kirtland mass murder of 1989.

Nope. Because this year the Democratic candidate is once again Solon accountant and perennial candidate Dale Blanchard, a man with an amazing losing record. How does he lose? Let me count the ways!

He’s run in this district in every election back to 2002, and before that, in LaTourette’s previous district in 2000.  But he’s only run against LaTourette twice before, in 2000 and 2002 — because from 2004-2010, he failed to get out of the Democratic primary.

In  2002, he had no primary opponent. He went straight to the general election where he got crushed by LaTourette by a nearly 3-1 margin — the worst beating LaTourette has ever given an opponent.

Unfortunately for Blanchard, in 2004 five Democrats stepped up to vie for the chance to take on LaTourette. Capri Cafaro won that primary. Wanna guess where Blanchard finished? Right — dead last, with six percent of the vote.

That didn't stop him from trying again in 2006, this time in a three-way field. He didn't do quite as badly. Case law professor and political novice Lew Katz got 42.49% of the vote, with Blanchard second with 31.21%. As inexperienced as he was, Katz way outperformed Blanchard against LaTourette.

But in 2008 and 2010, he returned to his familiar last place, both times finishing behind eventual candidate Bill O'Neill and runner-up John Greene.

I'll bet you can guess why he's the candidate this year. He had no primary opponent. LaTourette's undentable popularity apparently scared everyone off but Blanchard.
It’s long been bandied about by Democrats in Ohio that we’ll get this district back when, and only when, LaTourette retires. And if the Ohio GOP puts up a crazy-ass teabagger, we’ll have an excellent shot in 2014.

But I think longingly about what a gift this would have been if it were Bob “Who? Latta (Oh-05) or Mike “Who?” Turner (the new Oh-10) or teabagger Bob Gibbs (the new Oh-07) who decided to bail on Congress.

In each of those districts, we’ve got a dynamic, hard-working, personable candidate who has been out in the field for months with a full-fledged campaign. These are tough districts but the DCCC, the Women’s Campaign Fund, and national progressive groups are taking notice of, respectively, Angela Zimmann, Sharen Neuhardt, and Joyce Healy-Abrams.

Dale Blanchard may be a nice man. His positions seem OK, even if his website looks like one of those things a fringe Constitution Party candidate throws together, lacking only the multiple waving American flags. But he is a loser. Still, there was no way that Democrats could have predicted this entrenched congressman would throw in the towel, and it was in many ways a good call to focus on other districts this time around. But I can’t help thinking what a good shot someone like Cafaro (now in the state senate) or O’Neill (running for state Supreme Court) would have with LaTourette out of the way.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (15+ / 0-)

    Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

    by anastasia p on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 06:17:52 PM PDT

  •  I want to make it clear (5+ / 0-)

    I am not weeping and wailing about what a bunch of losers the Democrats are because they didn't pout energy and resources into a district that was virtually 100% unwinnable with LaTourette in the seat, when they have four or five other decent pickup shots around the state. I think it would have been kind of stupid to direct resources away from Betty Sutton, for instance, to try to challenge LaTourette. No one knew this was coming, obviously.

    Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

    by anastasia p on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 06:53:28 PM PDT

  •  Might Blanchard step aside? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Senor Unoball

    Did he file to run because no one else really want to?

    •  He filed because he always runs, win or lose (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Woody, Senor Unoball

      I have no idea if he could be persuaded. I have never laid eyes on the man, even though I am active in this district which adjoins mine and have been to countless events there.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 07:12:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The 50-state strategy ... (5+ / 0-)

    Once there was an organized effort to recruit and support Democratic candidates in every one of the 435 House districts. Then it became all about re-electing the president, and nevermind contesting every seat. Well, you win some and you lose some.

    •  We are vigorously contesting (0+ / 0-)

      every district that is remotely winnable. This one isn't until LaTourette is gone. Still, in the last four cycles we had a decent candidate who worked hard. This time we don't.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:08:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gov. Dean when he was head of the DNC (5+ / 0-)

    utilized the 50-state strategy, and it did a lot to help get Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.

    Kaine, who is now running for Senate in Virginia, undid Dean's policy when he was head of the DNC and in the 2010 election cycle, we saw support for the likes of Lee Fisher and Martha Coakley.

    Now that Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is the head of the DNC, I hope she goes after the same strategy as Gov. Howard Dean did.

    •  The likes of Lee Fisher (0+ / 0-)

      was supported by some people here who swallowed the propaganda and misinformation whole. Thanks Steve Singiser, Adam B and Laura Clawson. Ugh.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:09:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was just going to write this (0+ / 0-)

      You do need a 50 state strategy but you need good Dems, not blue dogs who do the party and the country no good and will turn their back on a vote and vote with the Republicons because they fear not getting re-elected.  We need Dems with backbones and those who will fight for the middle class and the poor.  Believe me, I'd rather have a Dem in a congressional seat for 2 years that will vote with our Party than one that stays there forever and votes against the Democratic Party and the country.  

      Never be afraid to voice your opinion and fight for it . Corporations aren't people, they're Republicans (Rev Al Sharpton 10/7/2011)

      by Rosalie907 on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:12:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Blue Dogs are necessary for Dem control (0+ / 0-)

        of the House.   However, I think we can balance their need to be electable in their districts with voting on good bills.

        Remember, more Democrats elected means more votes for Pelosi in the House.

      •  Well, that wasn't the issue with Fisher (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pistolSO, Odysseus

        Fisher is a solid progressive. He was just a terrible candidate. He ran a dirty primary, did nothing to reach out to his opponent's supporters, many of whom sat out the election, and then did virtually nothing between the early May primary and Labor Day. His campaign didn't kick up until early September — three weeks before early voting started. He probably lost us the governorship which is hard to forgive. But he's not Blue Dog.

        Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

        by anastasia p on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:47:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Are we sure he's that bad of a candidate? (0+ / 0-)

    The way you talk about him makes it sound like he must be some kind of fringe candidate...but the only specific strike against him that you mention is that he's lost a couple of times to an extremely popular incumbent. A lot of now-entrenched incumbents began their careers with a loss or two, often against weaker incumbents than LaTourette.

    Certaines personnes disent qu'il y a une femme à blâmer, Mais je sais que c'est ma faute sacrément.

    by RamblinDave on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 08:49:16 PM PDT

    •  Yes, he is. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GrumpyOldGeek, Odysseus

      He hasn't just "lost a couple of time to an extremely popular incumbent." He has run every year since 2000 and has had SIX straight losses, four of them in primaries. He was utterly crushed in the two general election campaigns he ran, worse than LaTourette's other opponents. But he also lost in four straight primaries, in one case to a couple of completely unknown opponents. In three of those primaries, he finished last. This isn't a candidate like Sharen Neuhardt, running against Mike "Who?" Turner in Ohio-10, who built experience in her first losing race to Pat Tiberi. Blanchard has lost to some of the weakest PRIMARY opposition imaginable.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:13:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He seems to be a virtual, invisible, name in print (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Odysseus

        Essentially little to no campaign spending, campaigning, platform,  desire to serve the people, etc.

        Based on what little information I've read about him I'm reminded of the curious situation in NH that happens every cycle. Since the NH House is huge, 400 members elected each cycle, a handful of candidates pay the $2 fee to be listed on the primary ballot and then seems to vanish.

        Anyone who signs up and doesn't bother to campaign is someone who you can't afford to get elected to any office.

        So this surprise tantrum-fueled resignation is going to be a challenge, but not an impossibility to get a decent Democrat into that seat.

        Hang in there.

        "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

        by GrumpyOldGeek on Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 12:33:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent thanks anastasia (0+ / 0-)

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Tue Jul 31, 2012 at 02:37:33 PM PDT

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