Voinovich: Yes, I'm running! I'm not kidding.
There has been considerable buzz in Ohio Republican circles for the past few years now that Sen. George Voinovich would hang it up two years from now and retire.
After all, he's been in one elective office or another for over 40 years now - from the Ohio House to Cuyahoga County auditor to Cuyahoga County commissioner to lieutenant governor to Cleveland mayor to Ohio governor and, since 1998, in the U.S. Senate.
That's a whole lot of campaigns; and one could not blame a fellow who turns 72 in July if he wanted to just chuck it all, spend time with the grandkids and go fishing, which he likes to do a lot.
So, Monday, when Voinovich showed up at the Enquirer editorial board to talk politics and policy, we quite naturally asked him if he really intends to run for a third term in 2010.
Voinovich became very animated (he gets that way) and started talking non-stop about all the many reasons he feels he must run for re-election - all the unfinished business in Washington on reining in government spending, fixing entitlement programs, working towards energy independence. Plus, he said, if the Republicans can manage to regain control of the Senate this year, he'll be a senior member with much more clout on the majority side of the aisle.
And, he said, he's already had 2010 fundraising events in every major city in Ohio. (The one in Cincinnati, in December, was hosted by former congressman Rob Portman, the betting favorite to run in his place if Voinovich were to retire.)
The editorial board meeting was over, but Voinovich kept talking about his re-election plans - down the elevator, through the lobby and into the Enquirer building parking garage.
"I'm running,'' Voinovich said. "I don't care what anybody says. I'm running. For real."