Another challenger for Deb Pryce
by KTinOhio, Wed Oct 19, 2005 at 09:33:49 AM EDT
Saying central Ohio voters are ready to send a message of change to President Bush and congressional Republicans, Franklin County Commissioner Mary Jo Kilroy yesterday said she will run next year against GOP Rep. Deborah Pryce, of Upper Arlington.
The race will pit a proven Democratic vote-winner in Franklin County, home to most of the 15th congressional district's constituents, against a veteran lawmaker who is the fourth-ranking House GOP leader.
Several national political analysts said a serious challenge to Pryce, in a district that essentially was split between Bush and Democrat John Kerry last year, could be seen as a national barometer of overall Republican fortunes in the 2006 midterm elections. Democrats are hoping to make gains in the House and Senate by targeting GOP ethics scandals, the still-struggling economy and Bush's Iraq policy.
Kilroy, who will formally declare her candidacy today, made it clear in an interview with The Dispatch that she intends to use Pryce's place in GOP leadership ranks to tie her to Bush, an increasingly unpopular war, and indicted former House GOP Leader Tom DeLay, of Texas.
The district is not a GOP lock, judging by the past two presidential elections. It stretches from Columbus through western Franklin County, and into Madison and Union counties.
Bush won the district with 52 percent of the vote in 2000, but the race ended in a virtual dead heat last year.
Still, "Pryce will be a substantial favorite," said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. "If somebody asked me today and I had $10 to bet, I would put the $10 on Pryce."
But Sabato has predicted that the Statehouse scandals besieging Ohio Republicans might make a tough year nationally for the GOP an even rougher ride in Ohio in 2006. So while a wellfunded incumbent will be hard to defeat, "next year I couldn't imagine that any Republican seriously opposed would believe he or she is a shoo-in in Ohio," Sabato said.
Amy Walter, House editor of the independent Cook Political Report in Washington, agreed, saying that while there won't be the same presidential passion among Democrats in 2006, the atmosphere right now is "toxic" for Republicans in Ohio. There are three or four other marginally Republican districts in Ohio -- including the seats held by GOP Reps. Pat Tiberi, of Columbus, and Steven C. LaTourette, of Madison, in northeastern Ohio -- in which national Democrats will try to field serious candidates, Walter said.
"These are the sorts of districts, like Deborah Pryce's, that I am keeping a very close eye on and absolutely could fall into the category of competitive races," Walter said.
Kilroy is the second Democrat to throw a hat into the ring in OH-15. Mark Losey declared his candidacy last week.
GWB could have done nothing without his enablers in Congress. It's time for my district to take down one of them.
And, Amy Walter (see final two paragraphs of the block quote) left out perhaps the most corrupt and vulnerable Ohio Republican of all, Bob Ney of OH-18.
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