OH-14: Profile of Democrat Bill O'Neill

The Cleveland Free Times has a good profile of challenger Bill O'Neill (D) running for OH-14 (in the northeast corner of Ohio) against incumbent Republican Steven LaTourette. Also, Hillary Clinton will be in the district campaigning for Barack Obama Friday morning in Kirtland.

O'Neill's race has not received much attention outside the district, but with his strong and varied background as a Vietnam vet, journalist, union organizer, lawyer, appeals judge, pediatric nurse, and single father, he has a shot at winning this district with a PVI of just R+2. LaTourette has angered many constituents by voting for the Iraq war, breaking his promise and voting for the CAFTA trade deal, breaking his promise to leave after 12 years in office, and dumping his wife for a Washington lobbyist.

Background on the race here and here, and more on LaTourette here.

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Update: 7 Congressional Races in Ohio in which Democratic Challengers Might Take Republican Seats

Here is an annotated list of the 7 Congressional races in Ohio in which Democrats appear to have a chance at taking seats currently held by Republicans. This update of an earlier (September 7) diary includes total receipts and cash on hand (CoH) figures for the end of the 3rd quarter (September 30) plus independent expenditures on behalf of the candidates.

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7 Congressional Races in Ohio in which Democratic Challengers Might Take Republican Seats

Inspired by this calitics analysis of races in California, here is an annotated list of the 7 Congressional races in Ohio in which Democrats appear to have a chance at taking seats currently held by Republicans.

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Straight Talk on McCain's Anti-Labor Record

The AFL-CIO has put together a well-referenced briefing book on John McCain called McCain Revealed: The Briefing Book that shows he has been consistently hostile to workers.

Some excerpts from the publicity email:

...McCain has said economic issues are something he's "never really understood."

As the Democratic nomation fight continues, it's time working families understand John McCain's poor record on working family issues. Here's a quick look:

McCain--Wrong on Trade: McCain has cast vote after vote for every free trade agreement under the sun, including the most devastating agreement in our history, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). He has gone on to praise NAFTA and its effects and has voted to make it easier for the president to enter into agreements without strong worker protections.

McCain--Wrong on Workers: McCain voted to block the Employee Free Choice Act and supported a national "right to work" for less law. He supported President Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans while voting against raising the minimum wage.

McCain--Wrong on Jobs: McCain has made it a point to tell audiences that some jobs "aren't coming back." What he doesn't often explain is his role in exporting those jobs in the first place. McCain voted against prohibiting the overseas outsourcing of government contracts and voted to privatize federal jobs. He also voted to contract out federal jobs. And McCain has certainly done little to aid those who have lost their jobs, voting against the extension of federal unemployment insurance benefits.

McCain--Wrong on Social Security: McCain voted for Bush's Social Security privatization plan and says the only solution to fixing Social Security is through private accounts.

McCain--Wrong on Health Care: McCain wants to make health care premiums part of taxable income, creating a new tax for working families. His plan would force working families to fend for themselves in the private insurance market and undermine employer-based health care. In addition, McCain has voted to slash funding for Medicare and opposed the reauthorization and new funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

McCain--Wrong on George W. Bush: Since President Bush took office, McCain has supported Bush's positions 89 percent of the time. McCain's support of Bush's policies reached as high as 95 percent in 2007....

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Bellwether Special Election in Ohio

2008 looks like it might be a difficult year for Republicans. Many have already decided that fighting for re-election only to be a minority member of Congress is just not worth it -- and they've decided to retire at the end of this term.

We have a chance to help this process along. In a special election on December 11, voters will decide who will fill late Congressman Paul Gillmore's seat in district OH-05, which covers the rural area surrounding Toledo in northwest Ohio (and includes college town Bowling Green). The Republican primary pitted moderate-conservative state Representative Bob Latta (whose father held this Congressional seat from 1959-89) against the more conservative state Senator Steve Buehrer, who was heavily backed by the Club for Growth. The Republican primary was nasty, and each candidate was caught lying about the other as they tried to paint the other as straying from conservative principles.

Bob Latta won the Republican nomination and will now face Democrat Robin Weirauch (pronounced Y-Rock). Weirauch ran twice before, winning 43% of the vote against Gillmore in 2006 even though she was very underfunded. This time around, she has a much better chance of winning. In a special election, turnout will be crucial and Democrats are much more motivated than Republicans to vote right now. The nasty Republican primary has angered many Republican voters in the district and the Bush administration has soured many more (Democratic Govenor Ted Strickland and Senator Sherrod Brown each carried OH-05 in the 2006 general election). Weirauch is receiving help from Governor Strickland, Senator Brown, and the Ohio party establishment. This is the only race at this time of year, so I imagine many national groups will also devote resources to this race.

More below the fold...

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Reform: Reguire Government to Send Sample Ballots to Voters

A reform that I would really like to see enacted across the country: requiring election boards to mail sample ballots to every registered voter before each election.

When I moved from California to  Ohio, I was shocked by how little non-partisan election information Ohio voters receive compared to what voters easily receive in California.

In California, a few weeks before each election, each county's election board sends out a detailed sample ballot that lists every candidate and proposition in the same format as it will be on the actual ballot. This booklet also lists the voter's polling place and when the polls will be open. In the back, it includes a statement by each of the candidates for local office and information about each of the local ballot measures. The California State elections board also sends out a large booklet with a short description of all the propositions, the complete wording of the propositions, and pro and con arguments about each one, as well as short descriptions of each of the political parties. This information makes it possible for voters to know when and where they should vote, to see what will be on the ballot in advance, to mark their sample ballots in advance (which can greatly speed up the voting process and reduce confusion at the polls), and to learn something about each candidate and proposition from a reasonably non-partisan source.

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