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As many have pointed out, we can’t be content just to work on keeping the presidency out of the grasping hands of cinder-hearted Mitt Romney, who thinks half of Americans aren’t worthy to be served by the government and that government should be of, by and for rich people alone. We also have to keep the Senate and work like maniacs to try to reassert control of the House.

We’ve got a batch of races in Ohio that offer a lot of promise on that score, despite the damage that Republican redistricters did, carving out four Democratic districts and 12 Republican ones in a 50/50 state.

But in order to do so, they made moves that made some incumbents less secure. And a group of determined, dynamic women has stepped up to take the fight to these incumbents.

The highest profile race is that of two incumbents: Betty Sutton, whose district was eliminated, and Teabaggin’ Jim Renaccci in Oh-16. Her polling says it’s tied; his says….nothing. In order to shatter Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) into pieces to weaken Democratic unity there, they gave this district a big slab of southwestern Cuyahoga County.

Renacci’s problems start there. This part of the county is heavily auto-industry dependent. Betty wrote Cash for Clunkers. She supported the auto industry bailout; Renacci didn’t. At the opening of an Obama office in Parma in February, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz was introducing Betty and when she mentioned Betty's support for the auto industry, a middle-aged man in a UAW jacket standing behind me yelled out, “She kept me employed!” He was doubtless speaking for many in the district.


Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Introduces Betty Sutton.

Betty is an outstanding progressive, and we really need to keep her in Congress. And if she wins, the Tea Party loses.

Down in the Dayton area, the mapmakers did the opposite of what they did in Toledo, reuniting Montgomery County (Dayton) into one district, removing the blueish part that was in Boehner’s district to dye it even redder. It also includes Greene County and northern Fayette County. The incumbent here is the inexplicably entrenched Mike “Who?” Turner, a faceless GOP rubber stamp. He’s a former mayor of Dayton.

He’s being challenged by attorney Sharen Neuhardt, who lives in Greene County and works for a law firm in Dayton. She ran previously in 2008 in a much redder district against Steve “Who?” Austria. So she’s got some campaign legs already. She’s a smart, savvy candidate, and she is on air with an ad. I don’t know of any polling but I suspect this race is close too.

In the new Oh-07, a district I won’t even attempt to describe, Teabaggin’ Bob Gibbs is technically the incumbent, but he currently only represents 25% of this meandering atrocity which runs from rural central Ohio all the way up to almost the lakefront in the greater Cleveland area. Gibbs is a farmer from rural conservative Holmes County.

His challenger is his polar opposite. Joyce Healy-Abrams is a businesswomen from the devastated urban area of Canton where among other things she served on the board of Canton’s Planned Parenthood (All these woman are openly and unequivocally pro-choice). Joyce is a political novice, unlike Gibbs, who served in the legislature.

I was dubious about the organization of her campaign when I first met her in the spring, when her campaign manager called me and asked if she could stop by a forum I organized on the war on women to speak to the gathering. She was great but the campaign at that point barely even had a website up. She has plunged into campaigning in a big way and taken to it like a duck to water. She has already gone on air with two ads. Just got word this morning, she is now going for the jugular, attacking Gibbs on Medicare with a new web page and ad:

Finally, in the Republican northwestern corner of Ohio, in district 5, minister and college professor Angela Zimmann has taken on the assignment of challenging yet another useless Republican rubber stamp, incumbent Bob “Who?” Latta. (You can see what an army of Stepfords out Republican delegation is. Bet you never heard of any of these guys.)

Zimmann, like Healy Abrams, is a first time candidate who is swimming in these waters like an Olympic contender. She’s such a natural that she asks for money in her sleep now. She even got a donation out of me, and I’m now unemployed. Genius!

Her ace is that, in their move to eliminate Kucinich and hack up some of the urban areas, they split up Toledo and put part of it in this district. Wouldn’t it be sweet if this move backfired? This race is probably the longest shot of the group, but Angela has been an absolutely tireless campaigner. Latta is refusing to debate her, so she and the Libertarian are getting around the district a lot.

From what I hear from people there, Latta is a dumb-as-a-stump do-nothing who has habitually kept his distance from constituents. I don’t know what this means, but driving through rural Williams County is the northwest corner of this district closest to Indiana, I saw one of Angela’s yard signs in front of a farmhouse. This is something that just shouldn’t be, like seeing a Romney sign in a black urban area in the window of a rundown apartment.


Yard signs in Williams County.

Currently, Ohio has four women in Congress. One is wacky Republican Jean “Scrunchie” Schmidt, who got primaried by a slick man even further to the right. We'll have three Democratic women even if — god forbid — Betty loses. They are incumbents Marcy Kaptur and Marcia Fudge and freshman-to-be Joyce Beatty, who’ll be representing a newly created Democratic district in Columbus intended to suck up the increasing number of Democrats there so they don’t threaten surrounding Republican districts. It’s a can’t-win district for a Republican so Joyce will be heading to D.C in January. She’ll increase Ohio’s black representation to two, along with Marcia.

There’s also one other district where we have a shot at flipping a seat: Ohio 6, represented by Teabaggin’ Bill Johnson. Charlie Wilson represented this district from 2008-2010 and he’s vying to take it back. He’s a Blue Dog. I wish him well although I am not making his race a priority on my blog.

Ohio’s four guaranteed seats will be filled by three women and one lone man, the “good” Ryan, Tim, from the Youngstown area. If any of these other challengers win (besides Wilson), Ohio will be sending an army of Democratic women to Congress to proudly help Nancy Pelosi reclaim her gavel.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (21+ / 0-)

    Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

    by anastasia p on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:06:57 AM PDT

  •  Bummer, I Got Dragged 5 Blocks Outside Sutton's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:16:34 AM PDT

    •  Silly Goose — of course you did! (3+ / 0-)

      You don't contribute large sums to the Republican Party and GOP candidates so you don't get to draw your own district lines like Tim Timken of the Timken Corporation — at whose request Boehner's redistricting team (who are not constitutionally empowered to do redistricting anyway) changed some district lines so his company could be in his favored district — which hopefully with soon be represented by Betty Sutton.

      This is why we need Voters First Ohio and why every Ohioans regardless of political leaning should vote YES on Issue 2. The lies against this are utterly staggering because the GOP is so desperate to get their unfair advantage in Congress and the legislature. Any help you can give us would be so wonderful! A donation, phone banking, spreading the word — anything.

      And just wait — if this fails and Democrats take over redistricting in 2020, suddenly this won't be the most unfair, atrocious, evil secretive etc etc thing the Republicans have ever seen. THEY will probably be introducing an identical ballot amendment.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

      by anastasia p on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:27:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's the irony Anastasia (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The republicans who are fighting Issue 2 would be the first ones trying to support independent redistricting if the shoe was on the other foot.  

        Now I'm a huge supporter of clean, compact districts that don't split counties unnecessarily and preserve communities of interest.  So I'd probably be supporting Issue 2 regardless of whom had the majority of seats.  However, if Issue 2 somehow fails and the gerrymander survives the decade...if the Democrats are holding the trifecta in 2020, I want them to draw the ugliest, nastiest, most cold-hearted gerrymander in US history.  It would serve them right.

        •  Sadly, Stephen, that is my thinking too (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          And I am a HUGE proponent of fair districts that don't completely confuse voters. But I am SO angry at the damage they have done to the state in the last couple of decades. This extremist legislature is the product of the last gerrymander, which guaranteed a 2/3rds GOP Senate no matter how voters voted (and in at least two election, the majority statewide voted for Democrats). This new gerrymander makes things even worse, doing damage on three or four levels and basically spitting in voters' faces. Personally, I would like to see the Democrats gerrymander Republicans completely out of power for a decade and see how they like it, even though it's wrong. You can better no groups or newspapers would be picking holes in this amendment if Republicans proposed it. They'd be wagging their fingers at the Democrats, and not just going "Oh well, those are the rules."

          I don't think a single paper has pointed out that John Boehner's office has no constitutional authority to be involved in redistricting.

          Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

          by anastasia p on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 12:16:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  If some democrat had vied for the 14th district (0+ / 0-)

    other than perennial  candidate Blanchard there might have been a chance (after LaTourette dropped out) vs the little known prosecuter picked by the republican powers. But in a district dominated by a republican coalition of older rural whites and white flight voters fleeing the diversifying suburbs of Cleveland there is not much chance for an African American Democrat to win.

    I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box. "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.” - Frank Zappa

    by OHdog on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:24:44 AM PDT

    •  Actually, if we had a candidate in Oh-14 (0+ / 0-)

      other than execrable also-ran Dale Blanchard, who has run every year since at least 2000 (some say back into the 90s) and has lost in the primary every time he has had a primary opponent, which alas he didn't this year, we WUOULD have won. Not merely a "chance" — I have no doubt that Bill O'Neill (2008, 2010), Lewis Katz (2006) or Capri Cafaro (2004) would have taken the seat. This district is NOT a Republican district — it's very swingy with some extremely Democratic parts. In redistricting, the Republicans didn't bother to work that hard to protect Republican domination here because of LaTourette's indomitable, inexplicable popularity. It's probably why the Democrats didn't bother to find a REAL candidate this year; they had other things on their mind.

      And this has nothing to do with Blanchard being an African-American "Democrat." (He's pretty much a Blue Dog, if even that). It has to do with the fact that he's an awful, inept candidate, almost as bad as Mitt Romney only without an wealthy donors. His refusal to step aside after LaTourette resigned was insulting. It's not like he's never had a chance. He came in DEAD LAST in the Democratic primaries in 2004 (with five candidates in the field), 2008 and 2010.

      We will pick up this seat in 2014 when a real candidate runs and Blanchard once again loses in the primary.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

      by anastasia p on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:52:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think he always runs to get free publicity for (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        his business. But as for the racial aspects, I live in this district and I hear the most outrageous, tea partiest, absolutely anti-Black, biogoted statements all the time, except of course when there is a person of color in ear shot.

        I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box. "There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.” - Frank Zappa

        by OHdog on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 11:20:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Kaptur (0+ / 0-)

    would it be possible to have a successor who isn't (so rigidly) anti-abortion (when she leaves NOT primaried!), or is the district too socially conservative for that?

    •  District is overwhelmingly Democratic (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's not conservative in the least. And Marcy is not as anti-choice as you think. Her voting record on this issue has been erratic. Her score from NARAL and Planned Parenthood has ranged from 30% to 100% — generally worse the further back you go, like into the era when Kucinich was anti-choice, before he decided to run for President. Marcy told me flat out, "I think the choice should always be the woman's." She is open to persuasion on women's issues, and I think being surrounded by a delegation of pro-choice women will help.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

      by anastasia p on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 07:54:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Anastasia P, you are an amazing teacher (0+ / 0-)

    You not only inform, persuade and convince, but you inspire passion for your subject.

    Even in one far away in a safe Bluestate.

    Go Ohio Dems.  

    (and is there anyway to rid us of that meddlesome Secretary of State?)

    "Are you bluish? You don't look bluish," attributed to poet Roger Joseph McGough, for the Beatles' Yellow Submarine (1968).

    by BlueStateRedhead on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 08:15:29 AM PDT

    •  Why, thank you! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      SoS Husted has long dreamed of being governor. My next mission, after re-electing President Obama and Senator Sherrod Brown, and hopefully some (or ALL! I can dream) of these fine ladies, is to crush his dream.

      I am still contending that Kasich won't run for a second term in 2014. We'll see. The only reason he might change his mind is that he hates Husted too (LOL!) and might also want to throw cold water on Husted's dream. But since he is so likely to lose, I think his ego won't stand for that.

      Luckily, the Democrats here have a very deep bench. One contender who has been very open about wanting it is Cuyahoga County executive Ed FitzGerald. He is not only squeaky clean; he has not just done a good job of steering the county through a complete upheaval of its government (and thwarting GOP plans to take control of the state's biggest Democratic county). He went toe-to-toe with Husted last year over Husted's attempts to limit voting and extracted a major concession — the mailing of absentee ballot applications to ALL voters in Ohio. That means Republicans too, who historically use this method of voting more than Democrats who prefer in-person early voting (what Husted tried to limit).

      Husted doesn't want to be going against Ed on the campaign trail. He'll be exposed as the anti-democratic, vote-suppressing creep he is. I am so ready to go out there and campaign for Ed — or Tim Ryan or Rich Cordray or whoever steps up.

      I'm in a safe blue district (Marcia Fudge's) that Republicans can't do anything about short of bribing a couple of hundred thousand black Democrats to leave the state. So I like to focus on some of our other races, where we could flip some seats — as well as out-of-state races like Wayne Powell's. (What I wouldn't give to see the Romney-esque smirk wiped off Eric Can'tor's face).

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07.

      by anastasia p on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 09:17:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My cousin lives in OH-5 (0+ / 0-)

    He is a union man, and will probably vote Dem!

    Farm boy, 20, who hit the city to go to college, WI-03 (home, voting), WI-02 (college), -6.00, -3.54, I finally get a chance to do something my parents have done for years- vote against Tommy Thompson!!!! Tammy Baldwin for US Senate!!!!!

    by WisJohn on Tue Sep 18, 2012 at 11:14:41 AM PDT

  •  This is a great diary! (0+ / 0-)

    For the record, I have all four of these races as competitive on the House equal area map.  

    OH-16 - Toss Up/Tilt D
    OH-7 - Lean R
    OH-10 - Likely R
    OH-5 - Likely R

    If a democratic wave builds, or if Barack Obama and Sherrod Brown continue to do a uniquely solid job of locking down the Buckeye State, who knows, these are seats that could definitely flip.  Each has a good case for why they can win.

    Sutton - helped save the auto industry, is sitting in a district that is ancestrally Dem even though it has an R+ PVI.

    Healy-Abrams - fairly strong fundraising, has what essentially amounts to an open seat contest as Gibbs only got 27% of his old constituency according to DKE analysis.

    Neuhardt - got drawn into the only Obama district of the four, will get strong minority turnout in Dayton with Obama atop the ticket.

    Zimmann - is up against a very unpopular incumbent in a part of the state that is zooming leftward, to the point where Obama might even carry OH-5 this year.

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