Politics & Policy

Ohio Tuesday Morning Roundup

Gubernatorial Race

The Wall Street Journal speculates that even protectionism is failing to make a difference in Ohio’s two top-ticket races:

Right now, both Republican contenders in those races—Rob Portman for the Senate and John Kasich for governor—are coming under fire for their past support of free trade. The fact that both enjoy big poll leads right now suggests the attacks have had limited effect so far.

A key question in the campaign stretch run, both for Ohio and for policy making in Washington after the election, is whether that remains the case.

Both Messrs. Portman and Kasich are establishment figures who have managed to surge ahead in this season of anti-establishment fervor. Both have long been prominent figures in the state’s GOP, and both are former House members. Mr. Portman also served in two cabinet-level jobs for a Republican administration in Washington, as trade representative and budget director for President George W. Bush.

Those are the kinds of insider resumes that could prove fatal in this year of the outside insurgent, and Democrats are certainly trying to drive home that thought.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden suggests people are happy with his party:

Biden said voters elected President Barack Obama to reverse the bad economy, but “in their gut they know it was impossible to do that in the first two years.” Those hurt most by the recession knew fundamental policy changes were required of the president, “and they know he’s doing that,” he said.

The result, Biden said, will be Democrats keeping control of the House and Senate.

But the Veep is at odds with reality, especially when it comes to Ohio. I document Ted Strickland’s economic development strategy–or lack thereof–on the front page.

But don’t let reality stand in the way of a good pork project! Ted Strickland still goes in for an absurdly slow and impractical passenger rail system.

Senatorial Race

Fred Barnes signals caution:

Conditions might look good for Republicans this election, but the successes they are anticipating are far from a sure thing, political commentator Fred Barnes said.

The executive editor of The Weekly Standard and a Fox News Channel contributor, Barnes joined GOP Senate candidate Rob Portman beginning Sunday on a tour that brought the campaign Monday morning to Altronic LLC.

Portman’s not going to be deterred either way, as he’s out talking about policy issues like the stimulus and trade again.

Not to mention staying as positive as John Kasich on the stump.

House Races

The Hill wonders at the fact that so much of the House’s fate comes down to grudge matches between former opponents (including some names familiar to B’10 readers):

Freshman Rep. Steve Driehaus rode the Democratic wave in 2008, defeating seven-term Rep. Steve Chabot (R) by five points.

The 57-year-old Chabot opted against taking early retirement. He recently told The Hill that 2010 is going to be his party’s wave year, in part because Cincinnati native Rob Portman is running for Senate and could help drive turnout in the 1st district.

Moreover, Chabot has sought to capitalize on the anger over Driehaus’s vote for healthcare reform, which has stirred up anti-abortion activists in the conservative-leaning district.[…]

Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D) knows about close races. In 2006, she lost to Rep. Deborah Pryce (R) by about 1,000 votes. In the open-seat race following Pryce’s retirement in 2008, she bested former banking lobbyist Steve Stivers (R) by a 1 percent margin.

Stivers, like Kilroy, thought to try his luck again — despite the less-than-ideal environment for anyone with “bank” and “lobbyist” associated with his or her name. “I don’t think we need another bank lobbyist in Washington,” Kilroy recently told The Hill.

Still, polls show this race is heading to another nail-biter finish.

Democracy for America has starting pouring money into Mary Jo Kilroy’s campaign — a distinction the freshman from OH-15 shares with none other than Nancy Pelosi.

Jim Renacci and John Boccieri sparred last night in an official debate. Canton Rep has the story:

“Mr. Boccieri has lied to you twice,” said Renacci, former Wadsworth mayor and a businessman. “You can’t believe what he’s going to say to you in the future.”

The comment drew a smattering of jeers and cheers. Boccieri, meanwhile, motioned that audience members should calm down.[…]

Renacci picked at Boccieri’s support for the current Democratic administration, including his vote that helped get the health care bill passed and support for the energy bill, which Republicans often refer to as cap and trade.“

We have a government that believes we can spend ourselves to prosperity. That just isn’t going to happen,” Renacci said.

Boccieri, who is completing his first term in Congress, didn’t shy away from the issues that Renacci attacked. Several times, Boccieri singled out debate attendees who he believes were helped by the health care bill. A new national energy policy can help create jobs, he said.

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