Welcome to my diary series titled Majority Savers! I will run a new article every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday starting next week. The goal of this series is to highlight races that may make or break our current slender majorities in Congress. That means I will start more with incumbent Senators and House members until some primary elections are settled. If I have time, I will expand it to governors as well in critical swing states.
If you want to find my previous entries in this series, I recommend following me or searching for #MajoritySavers as a tag!
I have six ground rules behind the philosophy of this series. I’d ask you all to respect them as best you can, because these are taking me quite a long time to write. Here are my ground rules.
The first challenger I am highlighting in a House race happens to sit in a district that has been litigated over repeatedly. The district has an incumbent that has been representing Cincinnati since the 1994 Republican Revolution (except for two years in 2008-10). It’s time to put that incumbent out to pasture and support the challenger Greg Landsman for Ohio’s 1st district!
Since Landsman is the challenger, it is very difficult to find information on him. I am relying on his campaign website for information right now. If you have any more insight, please feel free to let me know. That way, I can add on to this section!
- His background is in teaching. Before he became a politician, he was a teacher. He also led a non-profit in the Cincinnati area.
- Landsman has been on the Cincinnati City Council for five years, having been elected to the body in 2018. He has pushed many initiatives while on the council to make Cincinnati a much more attractive city to settle in.
Landsman has yet to create an issues page on his campaign website. This makes it tricky to determine where he sits on the important issues of the day. His social media profile indicates that he will govern as someone in the middle of the caucus — a progressive with a pragmatic streak as well.
Education: As a former teacher, it is natural for Landsman to feel strongly about educational issues. His signature achievement in Cincinnati politics is the Preschool Promise initiative, which provides two years of preschool city wide for 3 and 4 year old children.
Gun Safety: After Buffalo, Uvalde, and Tulsa, Landsman has promised to support background checks and to ban assault weapons if elected to Congress. Cincinnati, like many major cities, has issues with guns on the streets.
Urban Transportation: As a member of City Council, Landsman helped push through the most comprehensive urban transportation plan for Cincinnati in decades. It is likely he will work in Congress to push for better urban transportation as well.
Recent Elections —
2020 President: Joe Biden (D) 53.5%, TFG (R-inc) 45.0%
2020 House: Steve Chabot (R-inc) 51.8%, Kate Schroder (D) 44.7%
2022 Race Rating: Tossup
2022 PVI: D+2
Compared to other big cities, Cincinnati has always been more conservative and less amenable to Democratic candidates. The Republicans in the state legislature aided and abetted this by usually cracking the city and especially the black residents downtown from other potential allies in the city. This usually resulted in Cincinnati being covered by two members of the GOP or one GOP member and one Democratic member of Congress.
The current Representative, Steve Chabot, also started on the Cincinnati City Council in the 1980s. He eventually became a Commissioner before using the 1994 Republican Revolution to ensconce himself in the district. The back to back blue waves at the tail end of the GW Bush era led to a rare political defeat for Chabot in 2008, in which Obama won the 1st district handily and Steve Driehaus rode on the coattails of Obama to give Cincinnati Democratic representation for the first time in over a decade.
That burst of Democratic energy petered out in 2010, with Chabot using the 2010 red wave to mount a comeback bid to oust Driehaus. He was rewarded with a heavily gerrymandered district and a safer seat for the decade of the 2010s. Chabot survived tough challenges in both 2018 and 2020 as the district became more of a swing seat once again. This shows that he could be vulnerable in a fair district even though the down ballot races are still favoring Republicans.
Political Tour of the District
While not quite as egregious as last decade, the Ohio Redistricting Commission (which is skewed towards being represented by rabidly partisan Republicans) still has not made a clean 1st district in the Cincinnati area, because doing so would guarantee a Democratic member of Congress. Their interpretation of the redistricting rules attached the city of Cincinnati to Warren County instead of keeping Hamilton County whole. The Ohio Supreme Court struck down this map several times, but federal courts intervened and allowed the map to stand. Thus, the district is much more GOP friendly, especially down ballot.
Here’s where this race will be won in the 1st district.
- Cincinnati: It is important that Greg Landsman connects with the black community in Cincinnati, as the residents of the city are the #1 source of votes in the district for him. If turn out is not good in the city, then Landsman will have no chance at toppling Chabot this year.
- Cincinnati inner ring suburbs: Redistricting cut out as many of these inner ring suburbs from the district as possible, but there are still some present, especially on the east side of the city. It is important that Landsman remain competitive in these areas and not cede them to Chabot.
Here’s where we need to keep the margins down, or we lose.
- Delhi: Republicans hypocritically attached a couple of blood red suburbs west of Cincinnati to the district in order to give Chabot as much advantage as possible. The hope will be that these areas do not swamp the city of Cincinnati proper, as Landsman will be trounced here.
- Warren County: Although Biden had a good showing (relatively speaking) and even won some precincts in the county, the fact is that this county is a Republican stronghold. Landsman cannot expect many votes from the county, but what is there needs to show up and vote for him because Chabot will likely win 70%+ of the vote from this county.
Activism — Help How You Can!
It seems that Greg Landsman has found a decent list of donors, because he raised $525k for Quarter 1, which is pretty good for a challenger and a first time Congressional candidate. He will need to up that total, even though Rep. Chabot had an abysmal fundraising quarter (he only brought in $197k). It is likely that this race will be flooded with dark money to defend Chabot as this is one of the few vulnerable GOP seats.
Landsman does have a deficit in cash on hand, as most challengers do. He currently has about $418k in the bank, which won’t go far in the Cincinnati media market. The good news is that Chabot doesn’t have much of a head start, only having $582k in the bank himself. Landsman is a candidate that could use a donation or two — so please donate if you can!
DONATE TO GREG LANDSMAN HERE
Landsman will also need a volunteer army, as he doesn’t have one naturally because he is a challenger. If you are in southwestern Ohio or northern Kentucky, this race is definitely the most competitive one in your area. You also get to help two other challengers in gubernatorial candidate Nan Whaley and senatorial candidate Tim Ryan at the same time!
Sign up to volunteer at https://landsmanforcongress.com/
Challengers these days often have a higher social media profile than incumbents. Greg Landsman has around 7k followers on Twitter, which is a good start. Let’s try to boost that number!
Landsman is also active on Facebook at landsmanforcongress and on Instagram at landsmanforcongress. Go ahead and check out his social media profile for more information on this candidate!
Thank you for reading about the first House challenger I have highlighted in Greg Landsman! He has an uphill race against Chabot, but with your help, he has a fighting chance to flip this district around to team blue! We need to win a couple of unexpected races in order to offset the ones we are guaranteed to lose thanks to redistricting, and this is one of our better chances.
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