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Posts in "Ohio"
August 5, 2014
At the beginning of the cycle, Ohio Republican John R. Kasich looked like one of the most vulnerable governors in the country. But with just three months to go before the election, the incumbent’s prospects for re-election are getting better each day.
After some initial stumbles in office, Kasich has appeared to get his footing. And his opponent, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald has had trouble getting off the ground. The Democrat hasn’t raised nearly enough money to knock off the incumbent. Full story
May 5, 2014
Rep. Mike Simpson looks like he’ll survive the epic establishment vs. anti-establishment struggle in the GOP primary in Idaho’s 2nd District. But if last cycle is any indication, the incumbents that lose primaries this year will be in low-profile races rather than high profile battles between outside groups.
In 2012, Ohio Rep. Jean Schmidt was caught off-guard in her March primary. The Republican congresswoman was in Washington, D.C., the night she lost to now-Rep. Brad Wenstrup back home in the 2nd District.
“Her unexpected loss serves as a warning for many members seeking re-election on new turf after redistricting or facing even the smallest political challenge,” wrote Roll Call’s Shira T. Center and Amanda Becker in a post-primary piece. “More importantly, Schmidt’s loss signals a still-unsettled electorate looking for a reason — any reason — to boot an incumbent from office.”
Apparently not every member reads Roll Call. But they should.
Three months later, Oklahoma Republican John Sullivan lost his primary to Jim Bridenstine in the 1st District. Sullivan wasn’t completely shocked on Election Night, but he admitted to the Associated Press that he ignored the race for too long. Even though the race engaged in the final days, it wasn’t a national race by any stretch of the matter.
Then, two more months later, Florida Rep. Cliff Stearns lost the Republican primary to large animal veterinarian Ted Yoho. It was a legitimate surprise to national race watchers and to the congressman, who had $2 million sitting in his campaign account when he lost.
Texas Democrat Silvestre Reyes also lost his primary to Beto O’Rourke. But that race received some national attention because former President Bill Clinton came to west Texas for an event for the congressman. And The Campaign for Primary Accountability, which received a disproportionate amount of national media attention, made Reyes a top target.
Pennsylvania Democrat Tim Holden’s primary loss wasn’t a surprise either, particularly if you read Shira’s piece the week before. Republican mapmakers had redrawn his district, giving him new, heavily Democratic territory in Northeast Pennsylvania, far from his Schuylkill County (Pottsville) base. He was unknown in much of the new district, which no longer resembled the politically competitive district he had represented.
I should note that I did not include a group of eight members who lost in primaries because they lost to fellow incumbents because of redistricting. Each of those races was well-covered and it was inevitable that one incumbent was going to lose.
So before Tuesday’s primaries in North Carolina, Indiana and Ohio, it’s possible that an incumbent such as Republican Rep. Walter B. Jones could succumb to his challenger. [Read Emily Cahn’s Roll Call story and Peter Hamby’s CNN story for a primer.] But it seems more likely that a member will lose in a race that no one is talking about yet.
March 31, 2014
Ohio Republican Bill Johnson is an unassuming House Member who was elected in the GOP wave of 2010. His 53 percent re-election total has Democrats believing that a conservative Democrat would have a fighting chance against Johnson in the Republican-leaning 6th District.
While Jennifer Garrison’s profile as a moderate Democrat might be a good fit for the district, some of her stances on social issues have put her at odds with liberal Democrats across the state, and that could make fundraising more difficult for her. Full story
November 4, 2013
Retired Air Force Col. Martha McSally is personable and engaging, and her 2,454-vote loss to Democratic Rep. Ron Barber in Arizona’s 2nd District in 2012 demonstrates that she has appeal as a congressional candidate.
But none of that exempts the 47-year-old Republican, who is running again this cycle and oozes confidence about her prospects, from answering an important question: How would she have voted on the compromise that ultimately ended the government shutdown in October?
And yet, though I asked that question repeatedly in an Oct. 29 interview, McSally did her best to bob and weave, clearly intent on not giving a “yes” or a “no.” Instead, I heard a lot of baloney about not wanting to look backward and only wanting to look ahead. Full story
October 28, 2013
In this political environment, not having an extensive legislative record can be an asset. Not surprisingly then, three of six Democratic House candidates I interviewed recently have never before sought elective office, and a fourth was elected as a judge, not a legislator. (I will discuss a seventh Democratic hopeful, Martha Robertson, in a separate column.)
Considered as a group, the half-dozen hopefuls deserve to be mentioned in any discussion of Democratic House takeover opportunities in 2014. The only question is how many of them will continue to be in the conversation one year from today. Full story
October 2, 2013
Every four years, Ohio revels in the spotlight of the battle for the presidency. But, after the last round of redistricting, the Buckeye State is slipping further into irrelevance in the fight for the House.
Now, just two Ohio districts rank in the top 50 of most competitive House races across the country. That’s a far cry from 2010, when a half-dozen Ohio districts were competitive.
September 20, 2013
My colleague Kyle Trygstad nearly declared the end to the Senate recruitment season recently, but House strategists on both sides of the aisle still have their work cut out for them.
With a little more than a year before Election Day, Republican and Democratic operatives are searching for quality candidates in more than a handful of districts. Both sides want as many offensive opportunities as possible to keep the other side pinned down in their own territory.
Down 17 seats, Democrats need more GOP takeover opportunities to make up for any losses and so they don’t have to win all of the competitive seats to get back to the majority next November. Full story
September 10, 2013
We will know in a little more than a year whether John R. Kasich has a second act, or even a third one, in politics. But don’t be surprised if he does.
The Republican governor of Ohio looked like a political defeat waiting to happen in November 2011, after a state ballot measure that he pushed limiting union rights went down to a crushing 62 percent to 38 percent defeat.
But Kasich’s poll numbers have been rising ever since, and Buckeye State insiders believe that the former boy wonder of the Ohio GOP has bigger plans for himself if he wins a second term next year. They believe that the governor — and former nine-term House member — will mount another presidential run. Full story
August 6, 2013
Ohio may not be a wasteland for competitive congressional races after all.
Prior to the 2012 elections, Republicans did a masterful job redrawing the Buckeye State’s congressional lines in order to minimize takeover opportunities for either party.
But in Ohio’s 6th District, former state Rep. Jennifer Garrison looks like the likely Democratic nominee after state Sen. Lou Gentile declined to run. Harrison would face Republican Rep. Bill Johnson in the general election. Full story
July 10, 2013
The Midwest has traditionally been the land of the House races. But the open Senate seat in Michigan is unlikely to become very competitive, and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is closer to making his race a laughingstock than Republicans are to defeating him.
But the region is filled with competitive House races, most of which Democrats must win to get to the majority. Here are the top five races in the Midwest next year:
Illinois’ 13th District. Democrats love their likely nominee, former Madison County Circuit Court Chief Judge Ann Callis. And they want to defeat freshman Rep. Rodney Davis to complete their set of districts they redrew before the 2012 elections following the decennial redistricting. Davis also is being challenged by former Miss America Erika Harold, a Harvard graduate and attorney, in the primary. This should be one of the top races anywhere in the country. Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call rating: Toss-Up/Tilt Republican. Read the full Rothenberg Political Report analysis here ($). Full story
July 5, 2013
After a narrow victory in 2010 and a polarizing first year in office, Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich was one of Democrats’ top gubernatorial targets. But now, some Democrats acknowledge an uptick in the Republican’s job approval numbers, and Kasich barely cracks the list of top five vulnerable Republican governors.
Democrats have coalesced behind Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and believe he can run up the margins in Democratic-rich Northeast Ohio.
But the party may have President Barack Obama to blame for their difficulties. The president spent tens of millions of dollars in last year’s presidential contest talking about economic rebound in Ohio. Now Kasich stands to benefit from that optimism. Full story