Politics Extra
Enquirer reporters give the scoop on what your politicians are doing

Jessica Brown,
Hamilton County reporter

Jon Craig,
Enquirer statehouse bureau

Jane Prendergast,
Cincinnati City Hall reporter

Malia Rulon,
Enquirer Washington bureau

Carl Weiser,
Blog editor

Howard Wilkinson,
politics reporter

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Chabot hits the streets

Facing his most difficult re-election challenge in years, Republican Rep. Steve Chabot did something not many six-term congressmen do: He grabbed a sign and, with the wooden sign post sticking out of his passenger side window, he set off in his faded blue 1993 Buick for the intersection of Galbraith Rd. and Colerain Ave.

“You can meet a lot of folks in a short amount of time out here,” the congressman explained, as he stood in the cold air holding his “Chabot for Congress” sign in one hand while waiving at passing motorists with the other.

As the light changed, Chabot hurried down the sidewalk to catch the new stream of oncoming cars. “You’ve got to time the light,” he said, as a man in a Raiders jacket pulled up and shouted, “You’ve got my vote.”

To be fair, some motorists also gave Chabot a thumbs-down sign or shook their head at him. But others pulled into the CVS Pharmacy parking lot near his section of sidewalk to shake his hand and thank him for things he’s done.

“You don’t know me, but you’ve helped me in so many ways,” Debbie Shell said nervously, as she held her hand out to Chabot.

Chabot’s challenger, Democrat John Cranley, has accused Chabot of changing his ways and forsaking his roots because of the time he’s spent in Washington.

Chabot’s response: “The heck with all those negative ads, this is me out here.”

Portman headlines GOP rally

Just about every area Republican – from GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell to state Sen. Bob Schuler – showed up at the Deer Park Community Center on Saturday morning for a rally with White House budget director Rob Portman.

Portman, a former 2nd District congressman, took the stage after a rousing recording of “Hail to the Chief,” the song traditionally played for presidents at major events, blared through the hall.

“I feel like I am the only non-elective official here, so I’ll be brief,” Portman said as a woman shouted: “Only until ’08, Rob!”

Wearing four campaign stickers down the front of his blue collared shirt, Portman told the crowd not to pay attention to polls – they show Blackwell and Republican Sen. Mike DeWine running behind their Democratic opponents – because Republicans have a “better ground game.”

He also defended his boss, President Bush, who lately has faced record low public approval ratings, saying that, “He’s doing just fine” and “he knows he’s doing the right thing” regarding Iraq and the economy.

Other candidates also took turns speaking to the crowd, including Blackwell, Secretary of state candidate Gregg Hartmann, Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich, Rep. Jean Schmidt, who replaced Portman in the 2nd District last year, Schuler, state Rep. Jim Raussen, and Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney Joe Deters.

Even former Congressman Bob McEwen, who lost two attempts at a comeback in the 2nd District, showed up.

“I’m doing what I can to help,” he said.

Schmidt's "24 hours to victory" tour

If you're looking for Jean Schmidt on Monday...

Will post schedules as they come in.

From the Schmidt campaign:


Cincinnati, OH – Jean Schmidt will travel across the Second Congressional District on Monday, November 6, 2006 to rally with her volunteers, supporters and friends. The “24 Hours to Victory Bus Tour” will make a stop in each of the seven counties she represents, which include Adams, Brown, Clermont, Hamilton, Pike, Scioto and Warren counties.

“With just 24 hours to go until Election day, this is a wonderful opportunity to reach out to my supporters and friends across Southern Ohio to thank them for their unwavering support, “said Schmidt. “Thanks to their hard work, we’re looking forward to celebrating a victory on Tuesday night.” Press interested in covering the events should contact Matt Perin at 513-686-0430.

Schmidt for Congress – 24 Hours to Victory Bus Tour
8:00 am: Tour Bus departs from Clermont County Republican Headquarters (Batavia, Ohio)
197 E. Main St. Batavia, OH

9:30 am: Tour Bus arrives at Scioto County Republican Headquarters (Portsmouth, Ohio)
915 7th St. Portsmouth, OH

11:00am: Tour Bus arrives at Diner 23 for Rally in Waverly, Ohio.
300 W. Emmitt Ave Waverly, OH

12:30 pm: Tour Bus arrives at Adams County Courthouse Square for Rally.
110 W Main St. West Union, OH

2:00 pm: Tour Bus arrives at Brown County Administration Building for meet and greet
800 Mount Orab Pike Georgetown, OH

3:15 pm: Tour Bus arrives in Mt. Orab – for quick stop at local businesses along
32 and 68 interchange.

5:00 pm: Arrive at Warren County Republican Headquarters
30 W. Main Street Lebanon, OH

5:45 pm: Depart for Kenwood, Ohio.

6:30 pm: Arrive at Campaign Headquarters in Kenwood for rally with volunteers
8280 Montgomery Rd. Suite 204 Cincinnati, OH

8: 00 pm: Arrive at Clermont County Republican Headquarters for Rally.
197 E. Main St. Batavia, OH

Democrats trample Portune's front yard

Hamilton County commisisoner Todd Portune may have to call the lawn care guys next spring, after the pounding his front yard took Saturday afternoon.

Portune issued a call to all Hamilton County Democrats, particularly those on the west side, to show up in front of his home in a Green Township subdivision Saturday to rally for Democratic candidates and sign up for get-out-the vote phone banks and canvassing.

About 100 materialized, and heard campaign stump speeches from county commission candidate David Pepper and 1st Congressional District candidate John Cranley.

Volunteer sign-up sheets were set up on tables on one side of the front yard; hot dogs and soft drinks sat on tables on the other side.

As most of those who attended had already booked their volunteer time for the stretch run of the campaign, the hot dog table had more customers.

Gen. Clark to President Bush: Ten-hut!

Wesley Clark, the retired four-star general and former presidential candidate, campaigned for Democratic congressional candidate Victoria Wulsin in Pleasant Ridge Saturday morning, with a message for the commander-in-chief.

"President Bush has been out there saying Democrats don't have a plan in Iraq,'' Clark told about 60 Wulsin supporters squeezed into a small meeting room at the VFW on Montomgery road.

"Hey, Mr. President,'' Clark said. "Right here. I'll tell you what the plan is."

The U.S. policy in Iraq is "failing," the former NATO commander said, but there is a course of action that would work:

"Sesnd a team in and talk to every country in the region, even those who don't agree with us and listen to what they have to say. Really listen.

"Do the same thing in Iraq. Give them some carrots and give them sticks. Make it clear to them that they must run their own country. And make it clear to them that there will be no permanent American bases in Iraq.''

When a member of the crowd, wearing a "Clark for President '04" button, asked if the retired general planned to run for the Democratic presidential nomination two years from now, Clark was noncommittal.

"I haven't said I won,'t,'' Clark said. "But this is not about '08. We have win back this Congress right now. This is the most important election."

"Big Time Red to Blue"

That's the AP's description, actually, of what's happening in the Ohio election.

See the Ohio paragraph.

A look at top races in the 50 states
By The Associated Press

On Nov. 7, voters will choose a new Congress, governors in 36 states and decide whether to approve various ballot initiatives. Here is a state-by-state look:
–Alabama: Republican Gov. Bob Riley sailing toward re-election.
–Alaska: Republican Sarah Palin ousted Gov. Frank Murkowski in a primary, now hoping to spoil comeback bid by former Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles.
–Arizona: Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano coasting to a second term. Republican Sen. Jon Kyl seeking third term with Democrats hoping Jim Pederson can spring an upset. Republicans expect to lose House seat vacated by retiring Rep. Jim Kolbe, but hope Rep. J.D. Hayworth can weather a tough challenge. Voters decide whether to ban same-sex marriages.
–Arkansas: Democratic Attorney General Mike Beebe favored over Republican Asa Hutchinson in gubernatorial race, but GOP strategists pin their hopes on a last-minute visit by President Bush.
–California: Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger coasting to a new term, and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein winning with ease. Democrats mount strong challenges to Reps. John Doolittle and Richard Pombo. Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco poised to become first woman speaker of the House in history if Democrats gain control.
–Colorado: Democrat Bill Ritter favored to defeat Rep. Bob Beauprez for governor as Bill Owens steps down after two Republican terms. Democrats heavily favored to pick up Beauprez’ House seat and challenging Reps. Marilyn Musgrave in a tighter-than-expected race in nearby district. Voters decide on a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would ban same-sex marriage and a measure to raise the minimum wage.
–Connecticut: Republican Gov. Jodi Rell running strongly for a full term after gaining office when scandal-scarred John Rowland resigned. Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman, who lost a primary, now running strongly as an independent against anti-war Democrat Ned Lamont. Republican Reps. Chris Shays, Nancy Johnson and Rob Simmons all face strong Democratic challengers.
–Delaware: First-term Democratic Sen. Tom Carper coasting to a new term, as is Republican Rep. Mike Castle.
–Florida: Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson winning re-election with ease over Republican Rep. Katherine Harris. Republican Charlie Crist in a tough race with Democratic Rep. Jim Davis to succeed outgoing Gov. Jeb Bush. Republican Rep. E. Clay Shaw struggling to fend off a challenge from Ron Klein, a state lawmaker. Republicans spending millions to hold Harris’ House seat in the Sarasota area, as well as the district that former Rep. Mark Foley vacated in an Internet sex scandal.
–Georgia: Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue on way to easy re-election. Democratic Reps. Jim Marshall and John Barrow struggling for new terms in districts that were redrawn to make them more Republican.
–Hawaii: Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka’s re-election assured. Ditto GOP Gov. Linda Lingle.
–Idaho: Rep. C.L. "Butch" Otter is favored to keep the governor’s office in Republican hands. A fierce fight has broken out for his House seat between Bill Sali, a state lawmaker, and Democratic businessman Larry Grant. A proposed amendment to the state constitution would ban same-sex marriage.
–Illinois: Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s lead has been shrinking in the pre-election polls against GOP state Treasurer Jody Baar Topinka. Democrat Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who lost both legs, faces Republican state Sen. Peter Roskam for the seat long held by retiring GOP Rep. Henry Hyde. Republican hopes of ousting first-term Rep. Melissa Bean fading.
–Indiana: Seven-term Republican Sen. Richard Lugar has no Democratic opponent. Republican Rep. John Hostettler appears headed for defeat, and fellow Republican Reps. Chris Chocola and Mike Sodrel are in tough races.
–Iowa: Chet Culver, Democratic secretary of state, vs. Republican Rep. Jim Nussle in close race for governor. Democrat Bruce Braley favored to win Nussle’s House seat. Democratic Rep. Leonard Boswell likely weathering a tough challenge.
–Kansas: Democrat Gov. Kathleen Sebelius cruising to a second term. Republican Rep. Jim Ryun hopes late visit by President Bush will help him survive an unexpectedly tough challenge from Nancy Boyda.
–Kentucky: Democrats take aim at three House Republicans, Reps. Geoff Davis, Ron Lewis and – as the campaign nears an end – Anne Northup. Ironically, Lewis’ first election in the summer of 1994 was a harbinger of the wave that swept Republicans into power six months later.
–Louisiana: Eight-term Rep. William Jefferson, under investigation for bribery, appears headed for December runoff with fellow Democrat Karen Carter.
–Maine: Democratic Gov. John Baldacci likely winner for third term despite early campaign jitters. Third term assured for Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.
–Maryland: Gov. Robert Ehrlich, first Republican elected in three decades, struggling to fend off re-election challenge from Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley. Rep. Ben Cardin favored for an open Senate seat against Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, hoping to become the Senate’s only black Republican. Cardin’s House seat going to John Sarbanes, the son of retiring Democratic Sen. Paul Sarbanes. Rep. Steny Hoyer cruising to re-election and running for House Majority leader if Democrats take power.
–Massachusetts: Deval Patrick favored to become the state’s first black governor and end 16 years of Republican control of the statehouse corner office. After 44 years in Senate, liberal Sen. Edward M. Kennedy will win six more.
–Michigan: Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm hampered by poor state economy in bid for second term against millionaire Republican Dick DeVos. Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow leading for new term despite late push by Republican Party for Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard.
–Minnesota: Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty in tight race for re-election, challenged by Democratic Attorney General Mike Hatch. Third-party candidate Peter Hutchinson a complicating factor. Democrat Amy Klobuchar cruising to victory over Rep. Mark Kennedy for Senate seat vacated by Democrat Mark Dayton. Competitive battle for Kennedy’s House seat between Republican Michele Bachmann and Democrat Patty Wetterling. Tim Walz hopes Democratic tide carries him past GOP Rep. Gil Gutknecht in state’s southern tier.
–Mississippi: Sen. Trent Lott cruising to a fourth term and likely bid for a return to Senate leadership.
–Missouri: Republican Sen. Jim Talent vs. Claire McCaskill, state auditor, in one of country’s tightest Senate races. Voters decide whether to raise the state minimum wage and allow expanded embryonic stem-cell research, which Talent opposes and McCaskill favors.
–Montana: Third-term Republican Sen. Conrad Burns trying to shed taint from Jack Abramoff scandal and come from behind to defeat Democratic challenger Jon Tester.
–Nebraska: Republican Gov. Dave Heineman cruising to re-election. Same for Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson. Republicans fear loss of House seat held by retiring Rep. Tom Osborne, a district that last went Democratic nearly 50 years ago.
–Nevada: Republican Rep. Jim Gibbons appeared headed for easy win over state Sen. Dina Titus in governor’s race until cocktail waitress accused him of assaulting her after a night of drinking. He denies any wrongdoing. Republican Sen. John Ensign favored for new term over Jack Carter, son of the former president. Race to replace Gibbons surprisingly competitive between Republican Dean Heller and Democrat Jill Derby. GOP Rep. Jon Porter in unexpectedly close race for new term against Tessa Hafen.
–New Hampshire: Democratic Gov. Jim Lynch rolling toward a new term. Not so Republican Rep. Charles Bass, in big trouble in race with Democrat Paul Hodes.
–New Jersey: Republicans pour millions into attempt to elect state Sen. Tom Kean Jr., son of former governor. Appointed Sen. Bob Menendez slight favorite despite multiple attacks on his ethics.
–New Mexico: Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson coasting to re-election in advance of possible 2008 presidential bid. Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman winning with ease. Republican Rep. Heather Wilson in very tight race for new term against Patricia Madrid, the Democratic state attorney general.
–New York: Landslide likely won’t begin to describe Democrat Eliot Spitzer’s margin in governor’s race. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton coasting to re-election in advance of possible presidential bid. Democrats favored to pick up seat of retiring Republican Rep. Sherwood Boelhert; also targeting Republican Reps. Tom Reynolds, Jim Walsh, Randy Kuhl and John Sweeney.
–North Carolina: Former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler gunning for Rep. Charles Taylor in western part of the state. Despite substantial party spending, Shuler refuses to say he’d support Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi for House speaker.
–North Dakota: Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad winning handily after conspicuous 2005 Republican recruiting failure.
–Ohio: Big time red to blue – Democratic Rep. Ted Strickland romping to gubernatorial win and Rep. Sherrod Brown strongly favored to topple Sen. Mike DeWine. Democrats will win seat vacated by convicted former Rep. Bob Ney; also running strong challenges against Reps. Deborah Pryce, Steve Chabot and Jean Schmidt.
–Oklahoma: Democratic Gov. Brad Henry favored to defeat Republican Rep. Ernest Istook for new term.
–Oregon: Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski struggling to hold off Republican Ron Saxton and win new term.
–Pennsylvania: Big Democratic night – Gov. Ed Rendell winning new term with ease; Democrat Bob Casey strongly favored to defeat Sen. Rick Santorum, third-ranking member of the leadership. Republican Rep. Curt Weldon likely to lose after involvement in corruption investigation. GOP Rep. Don Sherwood struggling after admitting an extramarital affair with a young woman who says he choked her. Republican Reps. Jim Gerlach, Mike Fitzpatrick and Melissa Hart all scandal-free, but in tough races anyway.
–Rhode Island: GOP Gov. Donald Carcieri faces a strong challenge from Democratic Lt. Gov. Charles Fogarty. Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee facing likely defeat from Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, former attorney general.
–South Carolina: Republican Gov. Mark Sanford coasting to new term. Voters decide on proposed state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.
–South Dakota: Republican Gov. Mike Rounds winning re-election with ease. Voters decide whether to impose strictest abortion ban in the country.
–Tennessee: Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen easing toward second term. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s retirement set up national marquee race. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., hoping to become the first southern black senator in more than a century, vs. former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker.
–Texas: GOP Gov. Rick Perry will win new term. Likewise Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. National Republicans mount costly campaign to retain once-safe seat vacated by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
–Utah: Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch one of country’s safest re-election bets.
–Vermont: Gov. James Douglas, a Republican, favored for third term. Rep. Bernard Sanders, an independent, winning open Senate seat. Democrat Peter Welch favored to defeat Republican Martha Rainville for Sanders’ spot in the House.
–Virginia: Republican Sen. George Allen hopes to stave off monumental collapse and secure second term in race with Democrat Jim Webb. GOP Rep. Thelma Drake in trouble, challenged by Democrat Phil Kellam. State constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on the ballot.
–Washington: Sen. Maria Cantwell, first-term Democrat, strong favorite for new term. Republican Rep. Dave Reichert faces tough challenge from Democrat Darcy Burner in bid for second term.
–West Virginia: Just like clockwork: every six years Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd wins a new term.
–Wisconsin: Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle in a tight race with Republican challenger, Rep. Mark Green, a Republican. Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl coasting to re-election. Competitive race to replace Green in the House between Democrat Steven Kagen and Republican John Gard.
–Wyoming: Democratic Gov. Dave Freudenthal on track for a second term. Republican Sen. Craig Thomas marching to a third. Rep. Barbara Cubin hoping to survive fallout from her abrasive confrontation with wheelchair-bound third-party challenger.
AP-CS-11-04-06 0949EST!

Friday, November 03, 2006

DeWine downs a three-way at Camp Washington

Food and politics. The two go together like… Well, nevermind.

But you sure can’t have the latter without the former. And in Cincinnati, the former better include spaghetti and chili, and maybe an extra helping of onions and cheese.

That’s what a white plastic bib-wearing Sen. Mike DeWine and his similarly-attired wife, Fran, were eating for lunch today at Camp Washington Chili on Colerain Ave. today.

The DeWine clan, including son Pat DeWine, a Hamilton County commissioner, and a small army of campaign workers, photographers, TV cameras and Washington-based reporters – including writers from The Plain Dealer and Columbus Dispatch – swooped into the small establishment at 11 a.m.

DeWine immediately started going table to table, introducing himself and asking patrons: “So what are you having today, a two-way? Three-way? Four-way?” Meanwhile, his wife handed out booklets of favorite family recipes, such as “Anna’s Crunchy Chicken Fingers,” under which Anna, DeWine’s daughter, had scrawled “Vote 4 Dad” on a drawing of a yard sign.

“This is the fun part of the campaign. I love it. I’ve got my family with me and we’re on a big bus. You go in and find the best places to eat,” the senator enthused, explaining that he chose this particular stop because it’s one of his son’s favorite places.

Owner John Johnson had no complaints. He watched all the commotion with a huge smile on his face.

“This is great,” he said, explaining that when the campaign asked if they could visit his restaurant, he was all for it. “He’s a nice family man, so why not?”

He added: “They didn’t give me much time. They just called us yesterday.”

Brenda Jones of Cincinnati, who shook the senator’s hand as she sipped her cup of coffee, said she had planned to vote for DeWine anyway, but it was nice to meet the senator. “I feel like I got a sense of who he is,” she said.

Others, like Smokey Walton of Hartwell, weren’t impressed. Walton said he’ll vote for DeWine, but only because DeWine is a Republican. “He’s the lesser of two evils,” Walton said.

Bob Harris agreed, but said he’s still not voting for DeWine. “He hasn’t followed the party line enough. I think he’s too much like (Sen. George) Voinovich, too much a maverick. I hate to say it … but I think he ought to be taught a lesson, the same lesson they taught his son.”

Pat DeWine placed fourth in the Republican primary for the 2nd Congressional District seat last year.

DeWine, a two-term senator from Cedarville, said he’s heard that threat before.

“Most of the people who tell you that will end up voting for me,” he said. “They don’t want to end up with a U.S. senator who is left of Ted Kennedy and that’s what my opponent is.”

DeWine faces Democratic Rep. Sherrod Brown on Nov. 7.

Tomorrow's political notebook today

The ages-old governor’s office in the northwest corner of Ohio Statehouse have stood virtually empty for nearly 10 years, more or less abandoned by the last three governors for more modern offices across the street in the state’s high-rise office tower.

Whoever is elected Ohio’s new governor next week, the old office is likely to see more action over the next four years.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland says that if he is elected, he will pack up the office on the 30th floor of the Riffe Center move into the Statehouse, where Strickland says it belongs.

“Ted doesn’t want to be closed off on the 30th floor of a high-rise,’’ said Strickland spokesman Keith Dailey. “He thinks the governor ought to be working in the people’s house.”

For most of the past 20 years, the old governor’s office has only been used for ceremonial occasions, or when the governor wanted to get away from the bustle of the Riffe Center.
Republican candidate Ken Blackwell said Friday that while he would probably not move the entire governor’s office operation back into the Statehouse, he would like to use the offices there more than they are used now.

“I told both Gov. Voinovich and Gov. Taft that I thought the old governor’s office should be used more than just symbolically,’’ Blackwell said.

Working out of the Statehouse office more, Blackwell said, “would close the physical gap between the governor and the legislature, and perhaps the institutional gap, too.”
Howard Wilkinson

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell – trailing in the polls but insisting he will prove them wrong – had a homecoming Friday in College Hill.

Surrounding him at a storefront campaign office on Hamilton Avenue were about 50 friends, most of whom have helped Blackwell on every step his long climb from Cincinnati City Hall to, possibly, the Ohio governor’s office.

“You people have been with me always and I’m proud to have you with me now,’’ said Blackwell, surrounded by about a dozen pastors of African-American churches, campaign volunteers who go back to his Cincinnati City Council days, people who worked for him and with him at City Hall.

At the rally, organized by former Cincinnati councilman Charles Winburn, were family members – his mother, his wife Rosa, his son and brother – and long-time political allies, like Rep. Steve Chabot, Blackwell’s former city council colleagues, who said that in the 1980s, Blackwell was the one “who showed me the ropes.”

Among the supporters present was former East Price Hill neighborhood activist Gloria Morgan, a long-time Blackwell supporter who moved to Iowa last year. Morgan said she came back last week and will stay through the election to volunteer at Blackwell’s Hamilton County campaign headquarters.

Blackwell said that he has been accused during his contest with Democrat Ted Strickland of “wearing my religion on my sleeve. I tell you, I don’t wear my religion on my sleeve. Every morning, when I get up, I put on the full armor of God.”

The Republican candidate gave his own twist the Biblical story of David and Goliath to make a point about the polls that suggest he is about to lose to Strickland.

“The Israelites were surrounded by the Philistines; and when they saw the size of the Philistine warrior Goliath, they said, ‘how can we win against someone that size?,’’’ Blackwell said. “But David said, ‘With somebody that size, how can I miss?’”

After Blackwell spoke and the campaign volunteers began digging into a buffet of barbeque chicken wings and potato salad, the African-American pastors who were present were called into a backroom meeting with Winburn to discuss get-out-the-vote efforts.
Howard Wilkinson

Nearly two-dozen small business owners held a Friday rally in favor of Issue 3, saying passage of the slots amendment would boost the local economy.

The proposed constitutional amendment would legalize 31,500 slot machines at the state’s seven horseracing tracks plus allow two slots-only casinos in downtown Cleveland. In addition to funneling 45 percent of slot proceeds to education and local government, the business owners said spur development and create jobs.

Jack Hanessian, general manager at River Downs in Anderson Township, said his racetrack would likely attract a restaurant and retail shops if it could add slots. He said his track has land for a possible hotel development but that was part of a longer-term plan. He said slots were needed to prop up the horseracing business in Ohio because surrounding states’ tracks are already supported by slots and use fatter purses to attract the best horses.

“We’re asking for a level playing field,” he said.

The owners of Lebanon Raceway in Warren County are considering moving to a site near Interstate 75 and adding a hotel and other amenities if the amendment passes.

Rusty Woods, sales manager at decorative concrete seller RKC Increte Systems in Columbia Tusculum, said he hoped expansion of local racetracks would spur additional retail and entertainment development in Greater Cincinnati.

“Hopefully it will lead to more construction,” he said.

Opponents have contested proponents’ rosy revenue projections as well as the potential costs of increased compulsive gamblers.
Alexander Coolidge

O'Reilly dinged for $5,000

Sharon Coolidge reports:

A three-member panel of the Ohio Supreme Court’s Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline recommended Friday that 1st District Court of Appeals judicial candidate Jim O’Reilly be ordered to stop running misleading television advertisements about his opponent and be fined $5,000.

In a 12-page written report, the panel said, “It is unseemly for a judicial candidate to simply quote or feature cleverly selected news reports, while ignoring actual court records that belie the accuracy of the news reports as the basis for conclusions about judicial ‘errors’ and ‘mistakes.’

“(O’Reilly’s) explanation that ‘reasonable voters’ would rely on newspaper articles is no excuse for his failure to look beyond the few news clippings he selected that contained sensational sound bites. As a candidate for judicial office, he has the obligation not to mislead or misinform the public about the actual facts of court proceedings.”

Chief Justice Thomas Moyer will choose a five-judge panel, possibly as early as Monday, which will review the recommendations and decide whether they should be imposed.
Recommendations that ads be pulled and a candidate be fined are rare, in fact this is the only case this year in which the board has made such recommendations, according to Ohio Supreme Court spokesman Chris Davey.

There have been about 15 to 20 cease and desist orders in races across the state since the rules were created in 1995, he said.

"I’ve worked my whole life to do the right thing, it’s been upsetting to me and my family to see my record distorted in this way," Dinkelacker said. "I hope this helps the voters to do the right thing."

O’Reilly expressed disappointment in the decision. “We continue to believe mistakes were made, we had enough information on which an ordinary advertisement would be substantiated. The standard being set here in addition to that research one should read the trial transcript.”

O’Reilly said he will no longer run the offending ad, which has been on the air almost three weeks and attacks his opponent Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Dinkelacker.
The recommendations come from a complaint, filed by Cincinnati attorney Steve Goodin on behalf of Dinkelacker, which alleged misconduct by O’Reilly. The complaint says O’Reilly’s television advertisement is false.

O’Reilly’s ad says Dinkelacker jailed an alleged rape victim, made an error that allowed Larry Flynt to go free and continue to sell pornography in Hamilton County and prosecuted the only death penalty case commuted by Gov. Bob Taft.

Goodin argued that all three claims are false and misleading, a violation of judicial canons that forbid a judicial candidate from running a television ad that is false, or if true, that would be deceiving or misleading.

“We have said all along this ad was false and the court agreed,” he said. “They flat out say these ads would mislead a reasonable person.

“We expect this sort of thing in other races but a judicial race should be held to a higher standard,” Goodin said.

Read the complaint here

Council supports jail levy

A majority of Cincinnati council members will appear with Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis at a 10:30 a.m. press conference Monday on the steps of City Hall to support of Issue 12, the Jail and Public Safety Levy.

Vice Mayor Jim Tarbell, along with Cecil Thomas, Leslie Ghiz, Chris Bortz, Laketa Cole, David Crowley and Jeff Berding will attend to throw their support behind the jail tax.

Issue 12 is a proposed 10-year, quarter-cent sales tax increase that would pay for a new jail and roll back property taxes for three years.

Officials say a campus-style, 1,800-bed prison will be built somewhere in the county, though it's not clear where yet. The county operates four jails with a capacity of about 2,270 inmates. Three of those facilities would continue to be used along with the new jail, uping the total number of jail beds to 3,057.

Small biz rallies for slots

Alexander Coolidge reports:

Nearly two-dozen small business owners held a Friday rally in favor of Issue 3, saying passage of the slots amendment would boost the local economy.

The proposed constitutional amendment would legalize 31,500 slot machines at the state’s seven horseracing tracks plus allow two slots-only casinos in downtown Cleveland. In addition to funneling 45 percent of slot proceeds to education and local government, the business owners said spur development and create jobs.

Jack Hanessian, general manager at River Downs in Anderson Township, said his racetrack would likely attract a restaurant and retail shops if it could add slots. He said his track has land for a possible hotel development but that was part of a longer-term plan. He said slots were needed to prop up the horseracing business in Ohio because surrounding states’ tracks are already supported by slots and use fatter purses to attract the best horses.
“We’re asking for a level playing field,” he said.

The owners of Lebanon Raceway in Warren County are considering moving to a site near Interstate 75 and adding a hotel and other amenities if the amendment passes.

Rusty Woods, sales manager at decorative concrete seller RKC Increte Systems in Columbia Tusculum, said he hoped expansion of local racetracks would spur additional retail and entertainment development in Greater Cincinnati.

“Hopefully it will lead to more construction,” he said.

Opponents have contested proponents’ rosy revenue projections as well as the potential costs of increased compulsive gamblers.

Cheviot leader: Add no Pepper

At Wednesday night's televised debate, David Pepper belittled the help Hamilton County is providing Cheviot's redevelopment efforts.

The move earned Pepper -- the Democrat challenging incumbent Republican Commissioner Phil Heimlich -- a rebuke today from some Cheviot leaders who insist Hamilton County, under Heimlich, has done much to assist Cheviot.

They are holding a 1 p.m. press conference today at Cheviot City Hall, 3814 Harrison Ave.

Here is the press release issued minutes ago from those leaders.

Countdown: 4 days to go! UPDATED

In the final stretch of campaigning before Tuesday's general election, here's an updated schedule of what Ohio's U.S. Senate candidates are doing:


Republican Sen. Mike DeWine and his wife, Fran, will be visiting with customers at Camp Washington Chili in Cincinnati at 11 a.m. They'll then visit with GOP volunteers at Butler County Headquarters in Hamilton at 12:45 p.m. Then it's off to the Warren County Victory in Lebanon at 2 p.m. and the Clermont County Victory Center in Batavia at 3:15 p.m. The senator will then visit with customers at Generations Pizza & Sandwiches in Wilmington at 4:45 p.m. He and his wife then are hitting a football game at Clinton Massie High School (they're playing Cincinnati Wyoming High School) in Clarksville at 6 p.m.

Democratic Rep. Sherrod Brown meets with striking workers at USW Local 2 in Akron at 9 a.m., then visits with local residents at The Diner in Cleveland at 11:15 a.m.


DeWine and his wife have a jam-packed day planned. They'll start out walking door-to-door in Kettering to encourage voters to go to the polls and vote at 9 a.m. They'll then visit the Miami County Victory Center in Troy at 10:15 a.m. to greet volunteers and thank them for their support and hard work. Next stop is the main gate of the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima where at noon DeWine will discuss the importance of the Lima Tank Plant to our nation's defense and security. DeWine and his wife will then visit with at Wilson's Sandwich Shop in Findlay at 1:30 p.m. Then it's off to the Lucas County Victory Center in Maumee to greet volunteers at 3:15 p.m. They'll be at the Wood County Victory Center in Bowling Green to greet volunteers at 4:15 p.m.

Brown is also planning a busy day. First, he'll join Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland and other Democratic candidates and prosecutors for a rally at the AFL-CIO Hall in Dayton at 11:45 a.m. He'll then hold a rally at the Auglaize County HQ in Wapakoneta at 2:05 p.m. Brown will head north that night to be a keynote speaker at the Toledo area AFL-CIO Central Labor Council's 37th Annual Dinner at 6:15 p.m. Finally, he'll be joined by Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and other Democratic candidates for a rally in Cleveland Heights from 8-10 p.m.


No announced plans for DeWine.

Brown plans to hit four rallies, starting with one at the Democratic HQ in Boardman at 11:45 a.m. He'll then head to Stubenville for another rally at 1:20 p.m. Next, he's off to a rally in Zanesville at 3:45 p.m. Finally, he'll join all statewide Democratic candidates for a "Turn Around Ohio Rally" at the Living Faith Apostolic Church in Columbus at 5:45 p.m.

Details on Gen. Clark visit tomorrow

From Ohio 2nd District Democrat Victoria Wulsin's campaign:
Cincinnati, OH – Victoria Wulsin will be joined by retired General Wesley Clark on Saturday morning for a rally and press conference at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall in Pleasant Ridge. Clark, the former presidential candidate and Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, will talk about the war in Iraq and the importance of electing a Democratic Congress that will conduct real oversight of the war.

Clark and Wulsin will be joined by Tim Goodrich, executive director of the Iraqi Veterans for Progress, a political organization that advocates a new course for the war in Iraq. Iraqi Veterans for Progress has hired an veteran of the Iraq war as a full time field coordinator for the Wulsin for Congress campaign.

Wesley Clark rally and press conference


9:30 AM: Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall

6112 Montgomery Rd

Pleasant Ridge

Portman headlines GOP meeting

Rob Portman, (pictured) the White House Director of the Office of Management and Budget and former Congressman from the 2nd District, will make an appearance at Saturday's Northeast Hamilton County Republican Club.

The meeting is from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Deer Park Community Center in Chamberlain Park, 7640 Plainfield Road.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Schmidt: I'm not for a nuclear waste DUMP!

Rep. Jean Schmidt had a few choice words about her Democratic opponent's recent claims that Schmidt supports a nuclear waste dump at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion plant in Piketon, as Victoria Wulsin is claiming in her new radio ad.

"I just want to get it clear with you that I am not in favor of a dump," Schmidt said in an interview today. "I don’t know how much more clear I can be that I am only advocating a study because the folks in that region want a study."

CLICK HERE to read The Enquirer's Sunday story about the plan, if you aren't already up to speed on this issue.

Next, CLICK HERE to listen to Wulsin's new radio ad.

Schmidt said, as was explained in the Enquirer story, that she neither supports nor opposes the plant, she just thinks it would be a good idea to study the possibility.

"The folks came to me in that town and asked for that study. It should not be my decision," Schmidt said, adding that Wulsin supports the same thing, according to a letter Wulsin wrote to union members at the plant.

"What she said in that letter is exactly what I am in favor of," Schmidt said.

Cranley to be in "High Spirits"

Jane Prendergast reports:

If the name of the party location has any impact on the outcome of an election, the John Cranley camp will be in high spirits on Election Night - the High Spirits lounge on the 31st floor of the Millenium Hotel downtown.

Cranley, now a Cincinnati city councilman, is trying to unseat U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot.

Counterattack! Vets, Dems call for Boehner apology

A day after House Majority Leader John Boehner of West Chester demanded that Sen. John Kerry apologize for saying that students should study hard or they’ll “get stuck in Iraq,” the Senate’s top Democrat and veterans are calling on Boehner to apologize for blaming the military on the lack of success in Iraq.

Before we go any further, here is what Boehner said on CNN’s “Situation Room” last night about Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld:
BOEHNER: Wolf, I understand that, but let's not blame what's happening in Iraq on Rumsfeld.

WOLF BLITZER: But he's in charge of the military.

BOEHNER: But the fact is, the generals on the ground are in charge, and he works closely with them and the president.
Read the full transcript of the show HERE. Watch the video HERE.

Now, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is calling on Boehner to apologize:

"John Boehner ought to be ashamed. He's blaming our troops for failures in Iraq. If he wants to cast blame, he can start by looking in the mirror because he and his congressional Republican colleagues have rubber stamped the Bush Administration's failed policy for nearly four years. Our troops in Iraq have performed bravely. It's political leaders like Congressman Boehner and Donald Rumsfeld, who have failed. I expect President Bush and Congressional Republicans, who demanded John Kerry apologize, hold their own party's majority leader to a much higher standard. There's no spinning his disparaging comments. He made them. He needs to apologize."

So are veterans, such as Lt. Gen. Don Kerrick, a former deputy National Security Advisor.

"Generals win battles, they d0n’t win or lose wars. They are won by our national political leaders," Kerrick told reporters on a conference all today. "I’m concerned that these kind of comments that we are seeing now are finger pointing and trying to blame the military for what was really a strategic failure."

The comments came after President Bush reaffirmed his support for Rumsfeld yesterday, saying he plans to keep Rumsfeld on as his defense secretary for the remainder of his term. Rumsfeld has come under fire for his handling of the Iraq war, causing many Democrats and a few Republicans to call for his resignation.

Schmidt and the nuclear waste proposal

FYI, Rep. Jean Schmidt's pre-primary campaign finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission lists a recent contribution from the president of USEC, the energy company that is building a centrifuge uranium enrichment plant in Piketon, the same site where another group is seeking a DOE permit to build a nuclear waste recycling plant.

John Welch, president of USEC Inc.

To see the report for yourself, CLICK HERE.

To read The Enquirer's story last Sunday about the proposed nuclear waste recycling facility in Piketon, CLICK HERE.

To read what Democrats John Cranley and Victoria Wulsin had to say about it yesterday, CLICK HERE.

Chabot calls on Cranley to denounce Kerry comment - UPDATED


Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., apologized yesterday for the comment he made Monday.

But Republican Rep. Steve Chabot's campaign still wants Democrat John Cranley to "stand up for the military and condemn Kerry's rather unfunny 'botched joke.'" They sent out a news release today quoting military veterans from the 1st District who are upset about the remark.

If you just woke up from a coma, here is what Kerry said at a rally: "You know education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Chabot spokeswoman Jessica Towhey: "John Cranley has taken many pledges throughout this campaign but he seems to have missed the one on standing up for our military and for our veterans. John Cranley's refusal to repudiate Sen. Kerry's comments show to all members of the military, their families and to veterans that he is more concerned with furthering his political career with the liberal wing of his party than he is with standing up for them."


Oops! Cranley already denounced Kerry's comments YESTERDAY:

"What Senator Kerry said was inappropriate," Cranley said.

Wulsin denounces Kerry comment

... After Kerry apologized yesterday for the bad joke he made Monday. CLICK HERE to read the comment and yesterday's blog about the remark. CLICK HERE to read Kerry's apology.

Apparently Democrat Victoria Wulsin, who's running to unseat Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt in Ohio's 2nd District, wants to make it clear that she's offended by the remark.

"Kerry's statement, like Jean Schmidt's attack on Congressman Murtha, was disrespectful, offensive and completely inappropriate. The men and women and their families who sacrifice so greatly to protect the freedoms of our country deserve respect, not derision."

More Wulsin: "I believe our military is made up of our country's best and brightest. That's why I am proud to have an Iraq War veteran, Army Specialist Thomas Cassidy, on my staff."

Chabot upset over latest Cranley radio ad - UPDATED


Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory stumps for Democrat John Cranley in Cranley's latest radio ad, attacking Republican Rep. Steve Chabot for not joining him in signing a pledge to uphold the Voting Rights Act.

There's only one problem: Chabot held 12 hearings this year over the re-authorization of VRA, sheperded the bill through the House, and joined nationl civil rights leaders at the White House when the bill was signed into law earlier this year, so it can hardly be said that he doesn't support it.

His campaign is furious. Here's what they had to say in a news release e-mailed to reporters this morning: "John Cranley has broken his word and is again making false, misleading attacks about Congressman Chabot's work to renew the landmark Voting Rights Act. ... This is the second time that Cranley has lied about Congressman Chabot's support for the Voting Rights Act."

CLICK HERE to read a Cincinnati Post story about the first mistake where Cranley's spokesman Elliott Ruther acknowledged that the campaign goofed: "We'll make sure it doesn't happen again,'' he said at the time.

Chabot spokeswoman Jessica Towhey: "John Cranley should take a pledge to stop lying about the Voting Rights Act."


Mallory: "… this is a choice between the failed policies of George Bush and Steve Chabot. For a new direction for Ohio and America, I'm supporting my friend John Cranley because I know he can provide the kind of change we so desperately need. John took a pledge to protect the Voting Rights Act and to stand up for our civil rights. John invited Steve Chabot to join him in signing that pledge and you know what? We're still waiting. In fact, Mr. Chabot has run campaign ads attacking our city and attempting to (unintelligible) and that is just wrong. John is a unifying voice and he will work to create new jobs. He'll vote to raise the minimum wage. And he'll work the end the war in Iraq. This election is too important not to vote. Please join me, Mayor Mark Mallory, in helping elect John Cranley to Congress."

Cranley: "I'm John Cranley and I'm running for Congress. I approve this message because a time for change is now."

UPDATE: Cranley's campaign spokesman Elliott Ruther responds via e-mail:

"This is ridiculous. Steve Chabot has spent millions of dollars on tv, radio, billboards, mailers, direct mail and flyers attacking John Cranley with lies on social security, illegal immigration, Section 8, taxes, spending, pension, crime, population loss and more.

"However, it is true that Steve Chabot has refused to sign the John Cranley Voting Rights Pledge. Like the ad says, the Cranley pledge is to protect the Voting Rights Act and to stand up for civil rights by making it easier for all Americans to vote AND to fight against voter suppression schemes like the one Steve Chabot voted for repeatedly in 2005 that blocks nonprofits from using their own funding for nonpartisan voter registration if they wish to receive federal funding.

"Despite outreach, Chabot has refused to reverse his position on gagging non-profits who get federal help from non-partisan voting activities and sign the Voting Rights pledge. "

UPDATE UPDATE: Cranley responds via phone call to The Enquirer:

"He's trying to make it seem like we are saying something that we're not. Our pledge is much broader than he is making it out to be," Cranley said, adding that Chabot's vote against allowing non-profits to engage in get-out-the-vote activities, in his opinion, supresses the vote.

"Chabot is part of this overall nationwide effort, in my opinion, that is taking a step backward in terms of encouraging people to vote. You can't be for voting rights and vote supression at the same time," he said.

"I still encourage him to sign the pledge," he added.

Busy, busy Boehner

House Majority Leader John Boehner of West Chester is really hustling to keep his job...

Here's his schedule for TODAY:

8 a.m. - Appearance on “Fox & Friends.”
10:06 a.m. - G. Gordon Liddy’s nationally syndicated radio program.
10:34 a.m. - Greg Garrison’s radio program in Indianapolis.
3 p.m. - Michael Medved’s nationally syndicated radio program.
3:40 p.m. - Terry Meiners & Company radio program in Louisville.

(Click on the above links to listen to these radio shows live.)

DeWine gets mention in Mother Jones

Apparently he wasn't the only Republican making excuses for missing events with President Bush, who's been plagued this year by low public approval ratings.

CLICK HERE to see a pdf of the article in the November/December edition of the magazine.

Your Politics Extra Weather Report

Politics Extra has no five doppler radars sweeping the Tristate, but we do have the National Weather Service website, so we can tell you the long-range Election Day forecast for Ohio's major cities.

It matters, too, because nothing makes a bigger impact on voter turnout than how the weather is on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

Basically, it boils down to this: Dry and partly cloud south of Interstate 70, chance of rain north, but not an all-day washout.

Here's the latest skinny:

Cincinnati: Partly cloudy, high near 56. Slight chance of showers in the evening, but probably after the polls close.

Columbus: Same as Cincinnati

Cleveland (Democrats take note!): Mostly cloudy, 40 percent chance of showers, but no all-day rain. High near 54, which is downright balmy for Cleveland this time of the year.

We'll update closer to election day....

DeWine still harping on Brown re Kerry

What Sen. John Kerry said:

"Education -- if you make the most of it and you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

What Rep. Sherrod Brown, the Democratic candidate for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat, said:

"The people who should apologize are George Bush and Mike DeWine for sending our troops into battle without body armor and without examining the cooked intelligence."

Kerry has apologized already:

"As a combat veteran, I want to make it clear to anyone in uniform and to their loved ones: my poorly stated joke at a rally was not about, and never intended to refer to any troop.

"I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member, or American who was offended.

"It is clear the Republican Party would rather talk about anything but their failed security policy. I don’t want my verbal slip to be a diversion from the real issues. I will continue to fight for a change of course to provide real security for our country, and a winning strategy for our troops."

But Republican Sen. Mike DeWine, who faces a difficult re-election challenge from Brown, is still beating this horse (from a 5:07 a.m. campaign release):

"Congressman Brown has yet to denounce John Kerry's shameful comments about our troops. Senator Kerry and Congressman Brown both voted against bills that would have helped protect our troops and Congressman Brown went one step farther and actually voted to cut intelligence funding at least 10 times over the last 14 years.

"Does Brown's silence mean that he agrees with John Kerry's demeaning and disgusting remarks about our brave men and women in uniform, proudly volunteering to serve their country in the War on Terror? Congressman Brown should immediately renounce John Kerry and his insulting comment about our troops.

"With hundreds of Ohio's best serving in Iraq and around the world, where is Sherrod Brown's outrage and embarrassment at Kerry's remarks?"

Not done yet. More from DeWine campaign spokesman Brian Seitchik (from an 11:32 a.m. campaign release):

"Hours after John Kerry apologized for his disparaging remarks aimed at our men and women in the armed forces, Sherrod Brown stood nearly alone in refusing to condemn Kerry's offensive comments.

"The Associated Press reported that Congressman Brown refused to call for an apology from his good friend John Kerry and instead said that George Bush and Mike Dewine ought to apologize. Sure John Kerry raised large sums of money for Brown's campaign, but true leaders have the courage to stand up to party bosses when their 'jokes' are so clearly offensive.

"This is the same Congressman Brown who voted against body armor for our troops... When he bothered to show up to vote. And the same Congressman Brown who drew a public rebuke from Colin Powell in 2004 for his inappropriate remarks.

"If Brown won't stand up to party leaders and defend our troops, what makes anyone think he will stand up for Ohio's values?"

Gen. Wesley Clark headed here

That's according to a blurb in Democrat Victoria Wulsin's latest e-mail to supporters. No details yet, but here's what we know:
General Wesley Clark to Visit this Saturday
Saturday morning, General Wesley Clark will be in Cincinnati to show his support for Dr. Wulsin – please watch http://www.wulsinforcongress.com/ for details.

Wulsin is running to unseat Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt in Ohio's 2nd District.

DeWine appeals to romantics

Sen. Mike DeWine's new campaign ad shows him and his wife, Fran, who he says in the ad he's been married to for 39 years and has known since first grade. He calls her his best friend. The black-and-white ad shows them holding hands, working together and with their eight children and nine grandchildren.

The message: DeWine is a family man who cares about children.

The strategy: After weeks of negative campaign ads, DeWine's campaign, which is trailing in polls to Democratic challenger Sherrod Brown, is trying to flood the airwaves in the last few days before the Nov. 7 election with positive imags. Warm and fuzzy images, to be specific.

Will it work? You tell us.

Watch the ad HERE.

Countdown: 5 days to go! UPDATED

In the final stretch of campaigning before Tuesday's general election, here are what Ohio's U.S. Senate candidates are doing:


Republican Sen. Mike DeWine had a 9 a.m. press availability with Sens. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, and Norm Coleman, R-Minn., at Landerhaven in Cleveland. At 11:45 a.m., he and his wife, Fran, who are "longtime supporters of Ohio agriculture," will visit the Ohio Farmland Preservation Summit in Reynoldsburg.

Democratic Rep. Sherrod Brown has no public events. According to his campaign, he's doing a series of sudio interviews. Is this a sign that more campaign ads are coming up?


DeWine is planning to be here in Cincinnati for some public events, more on that TBA.

Brown meets with striking workers at USW Local 2 in Akron at 9 a.m., then visits with local residents at The Diner in Cleveland at 11:15 a.m.


No announced plans for DeWine.

Brown is planning a busy day. First, he'll join Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland and other Democratic candidates and prosecutors for a rally at the AFL-CIO Hall in Dayton at 11:45 a.m. He'll then hold a rally at the Auglaize County HQ in Wapakoneta at 2:05 p.m. Brown will head north that night to be a keynote speaker at the Toledo area AFL-CIO Central Labor Council's 37th Annual Dinner at 6:15 p.m. Finally, he'll be joined by Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and other Democratic candidates for a rally in Cleveland Heights from 8-10 p.m.


No announced plans for DeWine.

Brown plans to hit four rallies, starting with one at the Democratic HQ in Boardman at 11:45 a.m. He'll then head to Stubenville for another rally at 1:20 p.m. Next, he's off to a rally in Zanesville at 3:45 p.m. Finally, he'll join all statewide Democratic candidates for a "Turn Around Ohio Rally" at the Living Faith Apostolic Church in Columbus at 5:45 p.m.

New poll shows Wulsin leading Schmidt

Schmidt's leading. No, Wulsin's leading. No, Schmidt's leading. No, Wulsin... That's right, as more and more polls come out on this race, the direction of the voters gets murkier and murkier.

Earlier this week, a computer-generated poll from RT Strategies and Constituent Dynamics showed Rep. Jean Schmidt leading Democrat Victoria Wulsin 51%to 46%.

Today, a new poll from WCPO and Survey USA shows Wulsin leading Schmidt 48% to 45 %. This poll of 618 likely voters was conducted Oct. 29-31. It has a margin of error of +/- 3%.

CLICK HERE to read more about it.

And when you look closer, also check out how different groups of voters are splitting in this race: Wulsin is leading Schmidt 55% to 35% among independent voters with 10% undecided. Among Republicans, Schmidt leads 78% to 15% while Wulsin leads 90% to 6% among Democrats.

Are Republicans flocking to Wulsin or are they just not that excited about Schmidt?

Portune pushes for Pepper, Cranley

Hoping to win a Democrat majority on the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners for the first time since 1962. Commissioner Todd Portune (pictured) is hosting a Saturday rally at his home for two Democrats who want your vote.

Portune, the lone Democrat on the three-member Board of commissioners, is having the rally at his Green Township home -- 4689 Summit Oak Lane -- from 1-3 p.m.

The rally is to support David Pepper, trying to unseat Commissioner Phil Heimlich, and John Cranley, trying to take the 1st Congressional seat from Republican incumbent Steve Chabot.

The event isn't a fundraiser, Portune stressed, but a way for those in that area to meet the Democrat challengers.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Laura Bush calls DeWine "terrific"

First Lady Laura Bush was in Hilliard near Columbus today. As expected, she gushed about Ohio's slate of Republican candidates.

CLICK HERE to read what she said.

Cranley, Wulsin pledge to fight nuclear waste

The two Democrats running for Cincinnati’s two congressional seats got together Wednesday to send a message to voters: Keep nuclear waste out of southern Ohio.

“I am pledging to fight this. I don’t think nuclear waste is good for southern Ohio period,” said John Cranley, who’s running to unseat Republican Rep. Steve Chabot in Ohio's 1st District.

Victoria Wulsin, who is challenging Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt in the 2nd District, said: “We should never import nuclear waste into our backyard.”

Their statements came after Schmidt said she supports a study looking at whether the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion plant in Piketon should be used to temporarily store and recycle spent nuclear fuel rods.

Read The Enquirer's Sun., Oct. 29, story about it HERE.

The proposal has come under fire by environmentalists and neighbors of the plant who are worried that once the waste gets to the plant, it will be stuck there forever.

Schmidt has made it clear that she’s not advocating for or against the plan, but she thinks it should be considered, especially since it could bring thousands of jobs to the economically distressed region.

Check out The Enquirer's Tues., Oct. 31, editorial cartoon by Jim Borgman HERE.

Says Wulsin: “A nuclear waste dump is not the solution to our jobs problem.”

Meanwhile, Cranley called on Chabot to join him in opposing the plan.

“It’s pretty awful that we have a member of Congress in our area trying to bring nuclear waste to the area,” Cranley said. “Chabot should have already criticized his colleague for having recommended the idea.”

The news from City Hall

Cincinnati city council narrowly supported Issue 2, which would raise Ohio’s minimum wage and allow for yearly cost-of-living increases, with a mostly meaningless vote Wednesday afternoon.

With a 5-4 vote, council threw its political support behind the issue. Council has no say over the minimum wage, but often voices its support, or lack thereof, for certain issues through such votes.

Council members Leslie Ghiz, Chris Monzel, Jeff Berding and Chris Bortz voted against supporting the measure.

If approved by voters Tuesday, Issue 2 will raise the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $6.85 – the first increase since 1997.

There were only five action items on the agenda today, but there still managed to be a few interesting moments:

Joint meeting: Cincinnati city council will hold a joint meeting with the Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education Nov. 14.

The joint meetings have been tried twice before, in 2002 and 2004, but were largely ceremonial. This meeting will be different, and will be the first of more to come, said council member Chris Monzel.

“One of the goals of council and the mayor is to develop a real, true working relationship with Cincinnati public schools,” Monzel said. “This is the kickoff to how we will define the relationship, the times we’ll meet, how often we’ll meet and the issues we’ll be attacking.”

Those issues include how the two legislative bodies can work together to reduce truancy and increase school safety. They’ll also be talking about Metro busing patterns, which often leave kids dropped off at Government Square downtown, rather than close to their homes.

This will be the first time the two bodies meet at City Hall. The meeting starts at 4 p.m.

Boundaries, what boundaries?: Council member Laketa Cole, who asked the city administration to report on the defined boundaries of the city’s 52 neighborhoods, didn’t like the answer she was given and sent it back to the administration for more work.

The city reported to council that it has no say over neighborhood boundaries.

“Historically, Community Councils have been adamant about defining their own boundaries and unwilling to compromise,” the report says. “For this reason, the city has historically played a supportive role and identified any boundary overlaps as `contested areas.’”

The report goes on to say that because community councils are independently incorporated entities governed by the state, the city can’t define those boundaries.

Cole said the administration missed the point.

“It doesn’t make sense that the city can’t define its neighborhoods,” Cole said. “Community councils can define their boundaries anyway they want. I’m not talking about community councils. What community councils do independently is separate.”

Night Owls: A proposal to hold one of council’s weekly meeting every month at night passed out of the Rules Committee Monday, but was not placed on Wednesday’s agenda by Mayor Mark Mallory.

Mallory said he wanted to give council members a week to think about it, and to consider expanding the idea to include night time committee meetings.

“The meat is cooked in the committees, it’s served here,” Mallory said. “If we want to give the public the best chance to have an effect on policy, if we’re trying to give them more opportunity for input, then we ought to hold committee meetings at night.

“It doesn’t make any difference to me. I don’t have another job.”

Trash Talkin’: Most people around City Hall know council member Leslie Ghiz is a huge West Virginia University sports fan and that City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. is an equally large fan of the University of Louisville.

Ghiz issued a public bet to Dohoney Wednesday. The two football teams, both nationally ranked, play Thursday night.

“When the Mountaineers win I was thinking you could fly a Mountaineers flag on your office door for about a week, and I’ll do the same.”

After a comment out of range of the microphone, Ghiz laughed and said: “Yeah, if Louisville wins I’ll fly a Mountaineer flag on my door.”

Dohoney was game, and threw some smack back in Ghiz’s direction: “The manager humbly accepts, and in addition to the flag I’ll give you a box of Kleenex to dry your tears as you come to grips with how has the real team.”

Probable cause found against Pepper

About two hours after it ruled against Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich, a 4-0 panel of the Ohio Elections Commission found probable cause today that his Democratic challenger, David Pepper, made false statements in radio and television ads.

A full commission hearing is set for Monday to consider evidence in the dual complaints.

Heimlich's campaign manager, Robert Seddon, complained that Pepper's campaign, knowingly and with reckless disregard of the truth, lied to voters about how many county prisoners have been released early and how $224 million was spent regarding children's services. The ads accused Heimlich of failing to act or misspending money taxpayer money.

The elections commission dismissed a third claim against Pepper involving a statement about tax benefits to East Side homeowners.

Donald Brey, a Columbus attorney representing Heimlich, said the state completed its audit of Job & Family Service spending in late September, and the Pepper ads should have reflected the fact that the county was not blamed for misspent money. "They found no fraud. They found no shell game," Brey said.

Letting people out of jail early and saying Heimlich did it is a false statement, Brey said.

But Daniel McCarthy, a Cincinnati attorney representing Pepper, said the audit of children's services spending is ongoing so no final determination has been made about who is fully to blame. Overcrowding at the county jail and spending problems at children's services both happened on Heimlich's watch, according to McCarthy, so the ads are accurate.

"The Hamilton County commissioners control the purse strings" at the jail, McCarthy said. "They could have prevented this."

Kerry: Apologize? UPDATED

The Comment:

"Education -- if you make the most of it and you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq," said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., at a rally at Pasadena City College in California on Monday.


The Reaction:

"If Kerry doesn't apologize, we're going to beat him to death until he does," said House majority leader John Boehner, a West Chester Republican, on Fox News.
(Source: Boston Globe, 11/1/06)

"The people who should apologize are George Bush and Mike DeWine for sending our troops into battle without body armor and without examining the cooked intelligence," said Rep. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat trying to unseat Republican Sen. DeWine of Cedarville.
(Source: AP story, 11/1/06)

"What Senator Kerry said was inappropriate. Disrespect for our troops is when Steve Chabot votes against a $1,500 bonus for our men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Democrat John Cranley, a Cincinnati city councilman who is running against Chabot, a Westwood Republican, in Ohio's 1st District.
(Source: Cranley interview by Enquirer reporter Howard Wilkinson, 11/1/06)

"John Cranley continues to refuse to stand up for the brave men and women serving in our military, choosing instead to stand with Sen. John Kerry who will not apologize for insulting our troops," said Chabot for Congress spokeswoman Jessica Towhey. "It is outrageous that someone who claims to support our troops, their families and our veterans would not stand up for them and demand an apology. Our troops deserve better."
(Source: Chabot for Congress news release, 11/1/06)


Boehner plans to keep talking about Kerry today in the following TV and radio appearances:
4:25 PM EST – CNN’s Situation Room w/ Wolf Blitzer.
5:30 PM EST – Sean Hannity’s nationally syndicated radio show.
9:00 PM EST – Fox News’s Hannity & Colmes


"As a veteran I am personally offended by the demeaning comments made by John Kerry about our brave men and women in uniform. Our soldiers are not serving our country because they had no other choice. They are serving because they made the greatest choice of all-defending our freedom and keeping us safe. The fact that Sherrod Brown has received so much support from John Kerry and has remained silent on these comments is unacceptable. Unless Sherrod Brown immediately repudiates these despicable comments and returns Kerry’s money, Ohio voters will know exactly where he stands when it comes to defending Ohio men and women in uniform," said Ohio state Sen. Steve Stivers, who is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Ohio Army National Guard and has served in Iraq.
(Source: Ohio Republican Party news release, 11/1/06)


The Republican National Committee just sent out the following link, attacking Brown for being disrespectful to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a former Army general:

Probable cause found against Heimlich

A unanimous panel of the Ohio Elections Commission found probable cause today that Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich made a false statement about Democrat David Pepper in a campaign ad.

After the 4-0 vote, the state commission asked lawyers for both campaigns to appear at a full hearing Monday to hear evidence.

Cincinnati attorney Daniel McCarthy, said Heimlich, a Republican incumbent, mischaracterized a 2005 Elections Commission finding against Pepper in a television ad.

The ad says, "The same kind of distortion of Mark Mallory led to David Pepper being rejected by voters and convicted by the Elections Commission."

McCarthy argued that a probable cause finding against Pepper during that primary campaign for mayor did not constitute a "conviction." Also, "the idea that this was a distortion of Mark Mallory is completely erroneous. . ." While the commission found Pepper's campaign made a false statement at the time, commissioners did not issue a public reprimand or recommend prosecution or fines.

Heimlich's Columbus attorney, Donald Brey, said the ad is clear that the conviction was by the state Elections Commission, so is not a false statement. "There was a finding by the commission that Mr. Pepper broke the law," Brey said.

The Elections Commission is expected to hear a separate complaint, filed Monday by Heimlich campaign manager Robert Seddon of Cincinnati against Pepper and his campaign, later this afternoon.

The complaint alleges false statements in separate TV ads about the early release of 8,000 prisoners and misspending of $224 million in state Job & Family Services money on Heimlich's watch.

Hamilton County absentee problems

Some Hamilton Countians who voted early using an absentee ballot are in danger of not having their votes counted because of confusion over which driver’s license number to place on the ballot.

John Williams, head of the Hamilton County Board of Elections, said “probably 60” absentee ballots have come in with the wrong number, used for identification purposes.

When returned to the Board of Elections, absentee ballots also must have on them identification in the form of either a driver’s license number or the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security Number.

But because an Ohio driver’s license has two numbers on it – one under the line entitled “License No.” and one atop the license photo, some voters were confused and placed the wrong number on their absentee ballot.

The correct driver’s license number to be placed as ID on an absentee ballot, Williams said, is the number under the heading “License No.”Because of a federal court trail now underway about counting absentee ballots, Williams said the Hamilton County Board of Elections is receiving – but not currently – scanning or counting absentee ballots.

X-rated political ads?

This season’s spate of false, misleading and attacking political ads has pushed Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune to such frustration that he is calling for television ads to get ratings like those placed on movies.

Portune wants to create a rating system to apply to all televised political ads and wants local television stations to voluntarily adopt and adhere to it.

Calling the tone and content of this year’s ads “an all-time low,” Portune – who is not up for re-election -- is sending letters to national and local political leaders and area television stations seeking to have ads rated.

Like the movie rating system, Portune wants political ads to carry the ratings G, PG, PG-13, R and X – and NR, or not rated, for any candidate or issue television ads that don’t voluntary participate in the rating system.

The rating would be done by entities beginning with the Hamilton County Board of Elections and including others like the League of Women Voters of Greater Cincinnati and local cable and broadcast television stations.

In addition to the politicians, Portune blames election laws for the proliferation of sleazy ads, noting they “are poorly worded and fail to safeguard against the kinds of abuses we are witnessing in present day political advertising.”

“Obviously,” Portune noted, “there are a lot of details that would have to be worked out under such a voluntary system. But those are detail questions, not arguments against moving forward with a rating system.”

Candidates, political parties, the public and television stations need to make themselves accountable, Portune said, “to clean up our act.”

After the Nov. 7 election, Portune wants a meeting on the issue and is asking groups like the League of Women Voters, the television station managers and others to attend and discuss the idea.

What ratings would mean

Here’s what the ratings would mean
G – for positive and completely truthful ads;
PG – truthful but carries some attack or negativity;
PG-13 – truthful but primarily negative and offend despite ads’ truthfulness;
R – ad truthfulness is questioned;
X – only negative and false.

Here is Portune's letter.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

New polls a mixed bag

The latest polls out from Majority Watch show Democrats in three of Greater Cincinnati's four targeted races ahead of their Republican opponents. The only exception is Ohio's 2nd District, although results from that race and others are still within the margin of error.

Majority Watch is a product of RT Strategies and Constituent Dynamics, which use computer-automated phone calls to generate these polls.

Nevertheless, Rep. Jean Schmidt's campaign was thrilled: “While we have numbers showing us with a larger lead, this poll is further evidence that the more people know about our opponent, the more they decide to support Congresswoman Schmidt,” Schmidt Campaign Manager Matt Perin said in a release touting the poll.

Here are all the results, based on calls made Oct. 24-26:

Ohio 1st District
- Rep. Steve Chabot (R): 46%
- John Cranley (D): 48%
(999 respondents; +/- 3.09% margin of error.)

Ohio 2nd District
- Rep. Jean Schmidt (R): 51%
- Victoria Wulsin (D): 46%
(972 respondents; +/- 3.14% margin of error.)

Kentucky 4th District
- Rep. Geoff Davis (R): 46%
- Ken Lucas (D): 50%
(996 respondents; +/- 3.10% margin of error.)

Indiana 9th District
- Rep. Mike Sodrel (R): 43%
- Baron Hill (D): 51%
(1,023 respondents; +/- 3.06% margin of error)

One last debate

The candidates for Hamilton County commissioner have their final debate Wednesday night.

Incumbent Republican Phil Heimlich and Democrat challenger David Pepper will debate live from 7-8 p.m. on CET, channel 48. The debate will take place at the station's 1223 Central parkway studio.

The debate will be televised live. Streaming video is available at www.cetconnect.org.

That is the last scheduled debate between the opponents but they also will appear on television on "Newsmakers," a Channel 12 show that airs 11 a.m. Sunday. That show is taped Friday.

Cook Report ranks Schmidt-Wulsin race as "Toss-Up"

The Cook Report just upgraded the 2nd District race between freshman Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt and Democrat Victoria Wulsin as one of 44 House races across the country that are considered a "Toss-Up," which is a term used for the most competitive races.

Considering that Schmidt wasn't even listed by the Cook Report before July 19, that's quite a change. Check out this progression...

July 19 - "Likely Republican"

Oct. 18 - "Likely Republican"

Likely: These seats are not considered competitive at this point but have the potential to become engaged.

Oct. 20 - "Lean Republican"

Lean: These are considered competitive races but one party has an advantage.

Oct. 30 - "Toss-Up"

Toss-Up: These are the most competitive; either party has a good chance of winning.

FYI, the 1st District race between Republican Rep. Steve Chabot and Democrat John Cranley has been ranked as a "Toss-Up" since Sept. 7.

Slots backers in town

A broad-based group of supporters – led by State Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Green Township – was in town today to push for Issue 3, the ballot issue that would bring 31,500 slot machines to Ohio to help pay for college tuitions.

Seitz insisted Issue 3 was a good idea because Ohioans already are going to Indiana and West Virginia to gamble. That has resulted in an estimated $925 million per year leaving Ohio in the form of gambling, said Ellen van der Horst, head of the USA Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Issue 3, also called Earn to Learn, will allow slot machines in Cleveland and six Ohio horse racing tracks, including River Downs in Anderson Township and Lebanon Raceway in Warren County.

That, Seitz said, would bring $852 million per year in college scholarship money to Ohio students -- $64 million per year in Hamilton County and about $190 million per year in southwest Ohio.

Issue 3 would bring about $23 million annually to be split between Hamilton County and the city of Cincinnati. That is in addition to the approximately $100 million over 10 years from casino operators to provide Cincinnati and Hamilton County money for economic development and neighborhood development.

CNN: Big leads for Ohio Democrats

The two Democrats at the top of the ticket in Ohio – Senate candidate Sherrod Brown and gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland – hold double-digit leads over their opponents with a week to go, according to a CNN state poll released this morning.

Brown, the Lorain congressman who is challenged incumbent Republican Mike DeWine, has an 11 percentage point lead among likely voters, the poll said.

Strickland’s lead is even greater – 23 percentage points, with 59 percent of likely voters saying they will vote for him, compared to 36 percent for Republican Ken Blackwell.

The telephone poll, conducted for CNN by Opinion Research Corp., was conducted between last Thursday and Sunday. A random sample of 1,026 Ohioans were interviewed and filtered down to 542 likely voters. The margin of error in the poll is plus or minus four percent.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The intern who saved Cincinnati

Dan Klepal reports

The guy who made Cincinnati’s challenge to the U.S. Census Bureau population estimate possible couldn’t stick around very long after a Monday morning press conference, announcing the city has gained population over the past five years instead of losing more than 22,000 residents.

He had to go to class.

Mark Manning, a 20-year-old intern in Mayor Mark Mallory’s office and a junior at Xavier University, is the person who discovered that the U.S. Census Bureau allows challenges to their annual population estimates, and researched how often and how successful other cities have been in their challenges.

That research led to Mallory ordering up a challenge of Cincinnati’s 2005 population estimate that had the Queen City losing 6.8 percent of its population since 2000 – which, had it been correct, would have been the most of any major U.S. city. The Census Bureau’s new population estimate for Cincinnati is 331,310, or a gain of 22,582 people since the 2000 Census.

Manning started researching the Census estimates because he knew his boss – Mallory – wasn’t happy with the number and because of a little encouragement by Xavier professor Gene Beaupre.

“Dr. Beaupre sent me an e-mail saying maybe I should look into this,” Manning said. “I spent about an hour a day on it over the summer. I talked to other cities that challenged the estimates, and I found out most of the cities that challenged them ended up ahead. Since I’m an intern, I really didn’t know what would happen. But I typed up some memos saying it looks like something we should try.”

Mallory said he ordered the challenge because the numbers didn’t match what he saw happening around the city – energy, and new building, everywhere. Not to mention young people who are engaged and excited to live in the city.

“Mark is exactly what I’m talking about,” Mallory said. “The most recently educated, who want to be part of this city.”

First lady returning to Ohio - again

According to Laura Bush's schedule released at noon today, the first lady will be headed back to Ohio again this week. She'll be near Columbus at the Makoy Center in Hilliard for an Ohio Victory 2006 Rally at 2:35 p.m. on WEDNESDAY.

Mrs. Bush was in Ohio Oct. 10 to headline a fundraiser for Rep. Steve Chabot at Union Terminal. She also attended a fundraiser for Sen. Mike DeWine in Kettering on Aug. 16.

RNC chairman coming to Cincinnati

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Ken Mehlman will travel to Cincinnati TOMORROW to rally Republican grassroots supporters with Reps. Steve Chabot of Westwood and Jean Schmidt of Miami Township.

Both incumbents face difficult election challenges this year, Chabot from Democrat John Cranley in the 1st District and Schmidt from Democrat Victoria Wulsin in the 2nd District.

Mehlman will attend a 3 p.m. rally at the Chabot for Congress Headquarters, 3341 Harrison Ave., at 3 p.m., followed by a rally at the Schmidt for Congress Headquarters, 8280 Montgomery Road, Suite 204, at 4:30 p.m.

Chabot chat transcript

Read it here

Pepper: Don't blame me

It took just a few hours for The Enquirer front-page story today -- that notes U.S. Census information noting Cincinnati's population was falling was wrong -- to be used in a political race.

Here is a press release sent at 12:27 p.m. today by the campaign for David Pepper, the Democrat trying to oust incumbent Republican Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich.

GOP: Party hardy or cry in my beer?

The Hamilton County Board of Commission has cancelled its regularly scheduled Nov. 8 meeting.

That is the meeting after election night when Commission President Phil Heimlich will know if he won re-election or if the Democrats have a majority on the commission for the first time in 44 years.

Heimlich, a Republican, is being challenged by David Pepper, a Democrat.

Now, the board consists of (left to right) Democrat Todd Portune and Republicans Pat DeWine and Heimlich.

How bad do the Dems want to take out Chabot?

This much:

Over the past 12 days, in the mailbox of one independent voter in Cincinnati's Ward 12, no less than nine mail pieces from the Ohio Democratic Party and the Democratic Congressional campaign committee have appeared. Each one of them is an attack piece on Rep. Steve Chabot.

Five attack pieces focus gasoline prices, calling Chabot the tool of Big Oil. One shows an oil tanker with "S.S. Steve Chabot" stencilled on the bow. One has Chabot dressed up in a rigger's overalls, wearing a hard hat, in front of oil derricks. Another has two tourists sitting on lawn chairs on the National Mall, looking up at a Washington Monument surrounded by oil derricks.

Mail pieces #6 and #7 hit Chabot for voting with the Bush administration 92 percent of the time.

Number #8 is on Iraq. Number #9 is a "more of the same" or "new direction" appeal.

In the same period of time, in the same mailbox, not one pro-Chabot or anti-John Cranley has appeared.

Dale Mallory drops Invisible Man impersonation

Up until this weekend, Dale Mallory had been the most quiet candidate in the history of Cincinnati politics, without a scintilla of evidence that he had any kind of campaign at all in the 32nd Ohio House District.

Then, on Friday, a mail piece touting Mallory's candidacy popped up in the mail boxes of 32nd District voters - the one and only sign that the Cincinnati mayor's brother is doing anything but counting on a surname that has been money in the bank for the Mallory family for most of the past 40 years.

Meanwhile, his Republican opponent, Kim Hale, has, for weeks, had yard signs and billboards sprouting up in every corner of the district like kudzu in Georgia.

Mallory has had a bad year so far - ousted as president of the West End Community Council and under investigation for his $40,000 consulting contract with the Cincinnati Empowerment Corp.

But Mallorys have had a lock on the district for a long time. His father, William Mallory Sr., held the seat for 28 years, followed by Mark Mallory for four years. The seat was out of the family for the past eight years, with Catherine Barrett holding the seat, while Mark served in the Ohio Senate.

Given the track record, maybe one mail piece is all he thinks he needs.

Cowards cut and run, Cooters never do

From the honest-we're-not-making-this-stuff-up file, which grows larger each day this election season:

The campaign of Victoria Wulsin - Harvard-educated physician, resident of Indian Hill - has to reach out to voters in a massive congressional district that, once you move beyond Eastgate on State Route 32, is made up of small towns, farmland and the hollers of the Appalachian foothills.

Who, then, to speak to those voters in the pick-up trucks with the gun racks and souped-up cars?

How about a guy from Dukes of Hazzard?

Enter Ben "Cooter" Jones.

Jones played Cooter Davenport, the grease monkey who kept the Duke boys' wheels running; and he later went on to serve a couple of terms as a congressman from Georgia. (If you are curious as to what Cooter is up to these days, check out his website - www.cootersplace.com.)

Now, on country music radio stations from here to Portsmouth (and there are plenty of them), Cooter is doing a radio ad touting Wulsin over Republican incumbent Jean Schmidt.

Cooter's advice: Pay no attention to the Schmidt attack ads.

"Victoria ain't about to raise your taxes or take your guns,'' Cooter says, as only Cooter can.

If it works and Wulsin is elected to Congress, she's still be referred to in print as "D-Indian Hill," not "D-Hazzard."

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