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Ohio Primary Results: Good News For Dems?

As expected, Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell defeated state Attorney General Jim Petro in the Republican gubernatorial primary, winning the right to take on Rep. Ted Strickland in the fall.

With more than 60 percent reporting, Blackwell led Petro 56 percent to 43 percent, enough to prompt the Associated Press to call the race for the secretary of state. Strickland faced a nuisance primary of his own; he won easily.

Blackwell's victory marks the second governor's race where Republicans have nominated an African American, joining former football great Lynn Swann, who is challenging Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) this fall. Expect a series of national stories about Blackwell's groundbreaking victory, but make no mistake -- this is an extremely difficult race for Republicans to win. Outgoing Gov. Bob Taft (R) remains extremely unpopular and Democrats have already signaled that they will tie Blackwell to Taft.

In House races, the news is good for Democrats:

* State Sen. Charlie Wilson won his write-in campaign for the 6th District nomination despite a massive spending onslaught by the National Republican Congressional Committee to keep him off the ballot in the fall. State Rep. Chuck Blasdel will win the Republican primary. Wilson should start as the favorite, but his gaffe in not securing enough signatures to qualify for the primary ballot lingers. Even so, his convincing write-in victory shows that his organization has bounced back. This will still be a heavily targeted race on both sides.

* Rep. Bob Ney ran far ahead of his little-known primary challenger, making him a virtual lock for the Republican nomination in the 18th District. On the Democratic side, attorney Zack Space has defeated Chillicothe Mayor Joe Sulzer -- the early favorite of the national party. While neither Space nor Sulzer is regarded as a top-tier candidate, it may not matter given Ney's problems in regards the federal investigation of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Political observers are already speculating that Ney will follow the path taken by Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) -- resigning his seat after winning the nomination to allow the state and national party to select a less controversial replacement. Ney has given no indication that he is considering such a route. In a statement released tonight by his campaign, Space made clear his strategy for the general election: "The circle of deceit between corrupt politicians, lobbyists and special interests must be broken if this country is to address the concerns of working families."

* The victory by attorney Betty Sutton in the Akron-area 13th District, which is being vacated by Rep. Sherrod Brown as he runs for Senate, is a win for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and EMILY's List. Republicans had made no secret that if 2004 14th district nominee Capri Cafaro won the nomination, this seat -- despite its Democratic tilt -- would be a major target for them. Sutton had 30 percent to Cafaro's 25 percent with 459 out of 569 precincts reporting as of this blog's posting. Republicans also got their preferred candidate in the 13th, as Lorain Mayor Craig Foltin led a crowded field with 38 percent.

* Rep. Jean Schmidt narrowly defeated former Rep. Bob McEwen in the 2nd District Republican primary. Democrats will not seriously contend in this Cincinnati-area seat in the fall.

* State Sen. Jim Jordan (R) withstood the free-spending Frank Guglielmi (R) in the 4th District, the seat being vacated by Rep. Mike Oxley (R). Jordan's victory virtually guarantees he will be the next congressman in this solidly Republican district.

Go to the Ohio Secretary of State's Web site for race-by-race results. Here's the Associated Press election night round-up story.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 2, 2006; 11:44 PM ET
Categories:  Governors , House  
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Next: Parsing the Polls on the Ohio Senate Race


Re: Rep. Capito in today's blog, her district is Charles Town not Charleston, but hey, we're grateful even to be noticed! And yeah we do love Senator Byrd. We wouldn't *have* any durn roads or bridges out here if it weren't for him.

Posted by: Susan in W.Va. | May 9, 2006 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I don't see how you can disqualify two-time Taft voters given that they are in the majority; he did win gubernatorial election in 1998 and 2002. If you were talking about people who support Taft now that would be another story.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | May 9, 2006 5:15 AM | Report abuse

"Well, Chris, the Dems can TRY to tie Blackwell to Taft, but it won't be easy; "

Wow, you certainly don't live in or know anything about Ohio poltics, do ya there chuckles?

Posted by: Foopy | May 4, 2006 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Tom Noe, the coingate dealer, contributed to both Taft and Blackwell. End of story. The Ohio GOP is the party of corruption.

DOMA isn't on the ballot this time around, so no help for Blackwell there. To be honest, it's hard to see how he gets past his base. Strickland really looks good at this point. Sherrod Brown will have a much tougher race against Mike DeWine.

Steverino, very little money went to Sulzer, so don't be too worried there. Both the Dem establishment and the netroots are going to make the Space campaign very, very competitive in $$ with Ney, should Ney stay in the race rather than copping a guilty plea for bribery by Jack Abramoff, which looks about equally likely. He may just be pulling a DeLay, squeezing the last bit of juice out of his donors (a rich family of coal mine owners, for one) to pay off his legal bills before resigning for the good of his party.

Posted by: bob | May 4, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

1 million dollars is not "A LOT" of money in a state the size of Ohio. The Rs should have plenty of real cash to throw around to keep the Treasurer in their camp.

Posted by: Jim Adams | May 4, 2006 1:07 AM | Report abuse

As I was saying, Zack Space was simply the better candidate.

Why the DCCC sided with Joe Sulzer, I have no idea. He didn't win and didn't even place. What he did was waste some precious dollars needed to recapture the House.

Posted by: steverino9 | May 3, 2006 7:06 PM | Report abuse

How predictable - the people who crowed that Charlie Wilson wouldn't make it on the ballot just won't admit that they were wrong. The same kind of stubborness is why we are still stuck in Iraq today - those responsible won't admit they were wrong.

Proud Donkey-

I would like to know who these conservative democrats are who won't vote for Strickland. If you knew anything about his district, you would know that he not only has strong support from conservatives dems but moderate repubs and independents as well. His district voted for Bush 51% -49% yet Strickalnd is so popular with his constituents that he was unopposed in 2002 and would have been this year had he sought reelection to Congress. Seems conservative dems have already voted for him in large numbers many times before.

Liberal voting record? Let's see...

Strickalnd has an "A" rating form the NRA and only a 33% from NARAL. He also voted AGAINST the Iraq War, which is a huge plus for Ohio voters unless you are part of the fringe minority of neocon whack-jobs who support the war.

This voting record could almost be described as conservative but calling it liberal b/c of one vote on gay adoption is downright moronic.

Helen -

neither of thoses "scandals" you mentioned have anything to do with an Ohio deomcrat. How telling that Ohio republicans have to go all the way to Rhode Island to find a corrupt dem. Here in Ohio there are more corrupt, incompetent Republicans (Taft, Noe, Ney, Petro, Blackwell) than you can shake a stick at.

Maybe The Fix should make a rule that if you voted for Bob Taft twice that you are forbidden from saying anything about Ohio politics altogether. Anyone who voted for the worst governor in Ohio history twice obviously dosen't have a very good idea of which candidate would make the best next governor of Ohio.

Posted by: Ohio guy | May 3, 2006 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Well, Chris, the Dems can TRY to tie Blackwell to Taft, but it won't be easy; Blackwell was anti-Taft even before Taft was unpopular, and his fellow Republicans thought he was committing political suicide. He has parted with Taft on Taxes, spending, scandals, appointments, public statements, DOMA and the TEL Amendment.

Blackwell was the driving force behind DOMA, which Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved in 2004, over the opposition of Taft and Petro. He is the one responsible for getting the TEL Amendment (to cap taxing and spending) on the ballot this fall, and polls show it has 70% support.

If Petro had won, the Dems could have easily tied him to Taft, because he has been a down-the-line Taft man, including opposition to DOMA and TEL. Ironically, it is the Democrat nominee, Strickland, who is in line with Taft.

In this election Ohio Republicans repudiated Bob Taft -- 1st, by nominating his nemesis Balckwell over his endorsed candidate, Petro; secondly, by denying renomination to State Treasurer Jennette Bradley, a Taft protege who was twice elected Lt. Governor on Taft's ticket and was appointed by Taft to her current post.

Most of the media spin misses ALL of these observations.

Posted by: Roy Nichols | May 3, 2006 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Re: vivabush04OH 8:46 a.m. post (it pains me even to type "bush")
- Blackwell progressive? He's progressed all right...backwards. From Charterite early in his political life, through all flavors of Democrat, then all shades of Republican to where he currently
finds himself...whoring to religious whack jobs.
- Lower taxes? His TEL proposal...ask Coloradans how the same idea worked for them. Taxes are, after all, a sign of how a society values its common good.
- Efficient government? We all want and deser ve this, but the track record of Blackwell's party...
pay-to-play, endemic corruption, indictments, missing Workers Comp "investments" ad infinitum...makes your point laughable.
- Results-based education? Do you actually buy into
NCLB? Dumbing down and i gnoring critical thinking, omitting arts and humanities (history, literature)
sure does "make fer a braaght buncha kids, don't it?"
- Party of Life Freedom? Waging wars of aggression on FALSE pretenses, torture, medical insurance for only those who can "a ff ord" it?
- Individual rights? Secret surveillance, continuing attacks on inherent freedoms, ID cards?
-Please God, spare us the punishment that Brother Kenny would inflict on us Ohio citizen-voter-taxpayers!


Posted by: willo | May 3, 2006 1:05 PM | Report abuse

vivabush, I'm curious to hear more about how Miller "hustled" for his 42% of the vote. What arguments did he use to push voters to turn out their long-time representative and elect him instead? How is Regular failing the district, according to Miller?

You don't get to 42% as a no-name vs. an institution by staying relentlessly positive.

Posted by: Brittain33 | May 3, 2006 11:35 AM | Report abuse

The only person to blame for Wilson being kept off the ballot is Wilson himself for failing to get the necessary signatures, forcing him to spend more money to make it as a write-in. Brilliant.

Regula ran against a well-known Ashland County Commissioner Matt Miller, a rising star in our party who hustled for his 42% of the vote.

You say we have no-name candidates on our ticket? What about yours?

Mary Taylor is a state rep from Stark County running for auditor running against the notorious, infamous near-felon Barbara Sykes who voted from an address other than the one she was registered for.

Greg HArtman is the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts and cand for Sec'y of State.
Outside of Franklin county, nobody knows your candidates for treasurer or secy of state.

I'm not predicting any wins at this time like you are Subway but I'm not conceeding any losses either.

Posted by: vivabush04OH | May 3, 2006 11:22 AM | Report abuse

The unwritten story is how the Wilson win is an early indicator that Labor's organizational prowess is alive and well. Labor's new generation of field organizers are quietly, but effectively, executing a "Back to the Future" style of hands-on, roll-up-your-sleeves grassroots combat that works just as it always did. Replicate it throughout this cycle, and they will be the story in November.

Posted by: Conway Caine | May 3, 2006 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I'm shocked not only that short-time State Treasurer Jeanette Bradley managed to lose her own primary to an obscure conservative challenger from Ashtabula County, but also that the dean of Ohio's congressional delegation, Ralph Regula, got just 58% in a 2 man race. Unless the Columbus Dispatch simply misreported what happened here. As a Democrat, I'm thrilled that Blackwell got the GOP Gov. nod as Strickland will make mincemeat of him--he has 10+ point leads in the polls so far. In OH-6 it's interesting to note that despite the NRCC's underhanded campaign to keep Charlie Wilson off the ballot, he not only won the nomination as a write-in but got well more of his vote (66%) than Chuck Bladsel got of his (49%). Bladsel failed to win Jefferson, Noble, or Washington Counties. The Rs seem to have noname candidates for auditor, secretary of state, and now treasurer who will be easy to beat for the (R) next to their names. Former Rep. Bob Shamansky (D)'s primary win in OH-12 is interesting--he was the only Dem to unseat an incumbent Republican in 1980, then lose to another Republican in 1982. Given that Tiberi has a new challenger this year, I wonder if Shamansky might have a dark horse chance to make Tiberi spend some money there. I'm thrilled that Ben Espy seems to have won his Supreme Court primary.

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | May 3, 2006 10:17 AM | Report abuse

The Democrats will have to offer more than attacks on Taft to win in Ohio, anger only works if the person who did the unethical thing is on the ballot. The Democrats have a list of bad behavior of their own with Jim McDerrmot just found guilty of the illegal wiretap case of a cellphone and another Democrat found to funneling millions of federal dollars into his own non-profit groups. So the Democrats have a bit of taint on their own hands, not so pure and pious afterall.
The voters want leaders who can solve problems in their state, so Ken Blackwell offers the best hope for the future of Ohio. Jennette Bradley served as Lt Gov as well before becoming state treasurer, and there is a place for her to remain involved in the Republican party of Ohio.

Posted by: Helen | May 3, 2006 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Sorry for all the typos, haven't had coffee yet

Posted by: Greg-G | May 3, 2006 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I agree with Andy R, Blackwell won't draw any higher percentage of the African American vote, just like Steele in MD and Swann in PA aren't (at least according to recent polling). I think they blacks in Ohio will be especially hesitant to vote for Blackwell since a number of them blame him for handing OH and the election to Bush in '04 (and disenfranchising them in the process).

I also think Blackwell is easily linked to Bush (and his unpopularity) given his role in the previous presidential election. His is a milder version of Katherine Harris, and we all know how well she is working out in her 06 race.

The Dems will definitely pick up the governor's mansion. I'm still a little doubtful that they'll get the Senate seat. I agree with Chris that Ney will pull a Delay (although he may be forced to), the Repubs will put any old person on the ballot, and they'll keep the seat.

Posted by: Greg-G | May 3, 2006 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I think the Democrats are very happy about having Blackwell in the race. They will tie him to Taft and hit him hard on his hard right views. Also lets say that Blackwell does garner some of the Black vote in Ohio. Will that make up for the amount of racist white voters he loses? I don't know but I would think since only 11% of ohioans (sp?) are black that he would have to have a wind-fall to conteract the lose of support in the far-right wing white community.
Basically I don't think Blackwell's race will make that big of a difference come November.

Posted by: Andy R | May 3, 2006 9:29 AM | Report abuse

"Blackwell has an unmovable base between 35-38%"

You misspelled "ceiling." HTH.

Posted by: Brittain33 | May 3, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Ditto Quentin and Proud Donkey.

Posted by: vivabush04OH | May 3, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Chris is probably right that the Dems are pleased with most of the results. The one they plainly regret is Blackwell's win in the gubernatorial primary. It is still a tough race, but Blackwell's win makes November difficult to call in both the headline elections. Blackwell will pull out conservative voters who would otherwise have stayed at home, and that may be enough to push Mike DeWine over the top in the Senate race. He also has an appeal to African-American voters, and the Dems usually need 90% of the black vote to win. The gubernatorial election will be close, but if Petro had won, Strickland would be much safer.

Quentin Langley
Editor of

Posted by: Quentin Langley | May 3, 2006 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I don't know where Intepid Liberal is from but he clearly does not know Ohio.

The only progressive candidate is Ken Blackwell who espouses lower taxes, efficient government,results based education and the values that mainstream America holds dear. The Republican Party is the party of Life Freedom and individual rights and resposibilty. It knows that a strong regulation-free business base is the best source for job creation, not government.

Don't forget that 63% passed the Marriage Amendment in 2004 while Bush only garnered 51% of the vote. Last year four left-leaning constiutional amendments were overwhelmingly defeated.

In 2004 liberals and the far-left were trying to tell us that Ohio was the litmus test for America. Well, we know how America graded out. Now again you want to attach some national significance to this state. Maybe if the entire state went Dem you might have a case for your argument but that is not likely to happen.

Blackwell's win showed that the Conservative base is alive and kicking and is energized for November. It is going to be a long 6 months until November. No predictions at this time.

Posted by: vivabush04OH | May 3, 2006 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Before the Dems get too excited in Ohio a few things are worth noting. Blackwell has an unmovable base between 35-38 % and conservative Dems will not support Strickland's liberal voting record (homosexual adoptions etc). On the stump no one excites a crowd like Blackwell, Strickland has never been very good on his feet. Unless Bob Ney is indicted he will survive in November. The 6th district race is all but over. Sen. Wilson getting almost 70% as a write in against 2 others and Blasdel not even breaking 50% against two unknowns in a Dem leaning district put this one out of reach. Oh-13 with Fultin and Sutton could be very interesting and most likely the real race to watch since the Lorain Mayor and been elected twice in a very Democrat district. DeWine will survive against Brown for the US Senate only because Brown has such a liberal record, Paul Hackett would give Republican Dewine fits.

Posted by: The Proud Donkey | May 3, 2006 8:22 AM | Report abuse

check out the results for some huge trend-lines in Indiana - where Joe Donnelly got more votes yesterday than Chris Chocola in a big GOP district. Polling has Donnelly taking the lead and those MoveOn ads apparently are working...Looks like 3 districts in Indiana that could now change hands.

Posted by: anon | May 3, 2006 8:01 AM | Report abuse

I am excited for the Dems in my homestate. We have a lot of good candidates out there. Ted Strickland has a ten point lead over Bob Taft Republican Kenneth Blackwell, and Sherrod Brown has a slight lead over Mike DeWine. Our congressional races are shaping up nicely too. Just too bad that Paul Hackett did not challenge Jean Schmidt, he could of beat that lying and veteran bashing politician into the ground. Again, very excited for Ohio!!!!

Posted by: PopulistDemocrat | May 3, 2006 6:02 AM | Report abuse

THE FIX 2006!!!!

Electronic voting switch threatens mass confusion

Financial Times

The last three election cycles in the US have been marked by controversy not only about candidates, but also about the fairness and accuracy of the voting process. And as voters head to the polls today for primaries in some jurisdictions, the coming cycle promises more of the same.

With about 8,000 separate election authorities managing approximately 175,000 polling places and perhaps as many as 150,000 different ballot forms that include choices for everyone from senator to dogcatcher, American elections are complex even when all goes well. But this cycle sees many states and smaller jurisdictions making last-minute efforts to switch to electronic voting, and early signs of trouble are appearing.

In California, the League of Women Voters has protested against a new, computerised statewide election registry that the group says is improperly rejecting registered voters, while county clerks in several Indiana jurisdictions complained that the electronic ballots programmed by the vendors of their electronic voting machines had been delivered late, were incorrect and poorly proofread.

The clerk for Marion County - the state's most populous - said that, so far, nine rounds of "fixes" had been required; she was unsure whether the primary vote today could be held without problems, according to The Indianapolis Star.

The scramble to convert to electronic voting has spurred disputes with vendors of the new machines. Last month, Oregon filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Election Systems & Software, alleging that the company reneged on a commitment to supply the state with electronic voting machines suitable for handicapped people for its May 16 primary.

In Florida, ground zero for election disasters in 2000, the election supervisor for Leon County allowed anti-electronic voting activists to try breaching security in the county's optical scan voting system, prompting the big three electronic voting systems companies - Diebold, Election Systems & Services, and Sequoia - to refuse to sell the county new machines. The Florida secretary of state has since opened an anti-trust investigation.

After the 2000 presidential election made "hanging chad" a sure laugh line for television comics, Congress passed the "Help America Vote Act", or Hava.

The law promised states funding to replace old voting technology with computerised systems.

The new systems fall into two categories - optical scan systems, in which voters mark paper ballots that are read by computer scanners, and direct recording electronic (DRE) systems in which voters touch computer screens or push buttons to mark their ballots.

But delays in setting standards, insufficient funding for Hava, and lack of technical expertise among the nation's election administrators have election experts predicting the 2006 election will not run smoothly.

Last September, the US Government Accountability Office issued a report with a litany of potential flaws in the reliability and sec-urity of electronic voting and warned that steps needed to ensure voter confidence in the integrity of the vote were unlikely to be in place in time for the 2006 election.

A principal author of the report, analyst David Powner, said in an interview that since last autumn, nothing had happened to change the report's conclusions.

One problem is that many of the new voting machines that will be deployed are arriving from offshore manufacturing sites - mainly China - and are being rushed into service without adequate quality controls, says Kimball Brace, president of Election Data Services, a voting consultancy firm.

In some cases, election officials are "getting equipment three weeks before the election".

"We're all behind the eight ball," says Mr Brace.

"There are going to be enough problem areas that the issue of voting will be front and centre on everybody's plate."

Texans who want to vote early in elections set for May 12 may be voting on paper ballots because Election Systems & Software, one of the big e-voting machine vendors, is late in providing computer coding and electronic ballots for some of the 140 counties that use the company's machines. The company's president went to the state last week to mollify irritated election officials.

Posted by: CHE | May 3, 2006 3:03 AM | Report abuse

Re: Cuyahoga County's lack of numbers will hold up a Sutton confirmation. Could be 24-48 hours on that.

Also, many folks did see Bradley having trouble. When I began to analyze the treasurer's position, before interviewing Democratic candidate and sitting Franklkin County Treasurer Richard Cordray with Meet the Bloggers, I learned all about Bradley's ascendence to that job and the weaknesses perceived in her ability to hang on to it.

Cordray would have an easier time against Bradley, with Blackwell as the Gov. nominee and Strickland predicted to win, but with O'Brien, hard to predict, though possibly even more of an equal footing for Cordray. Major points to Cordray for experience, intelligence and A LOT of money in the bank for this race (reportedly close to or over $1million).

Posted by: Jill Miller Zimon | May 3, 2006 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Wow - didn't see this coming:

(with 62% of vote in)
Treasurer of State (Republican)
O'Brien, Sandra 228,630 51.85%
Bradley, Jennette B. 212,282 48.15%

When was the last time a sitting State Treasurer failed to win the nomination of his/her party for reelection?

Posted by: Ohio guy | May 2, 2006 11:31 PM | Report abuse

OH 2 Schmidt now up by over 2000 votes and looks unlikely that enough precincts are left in Hamilton for McEwen to catch her.

Posted by: RMill | May 2, 2006 11:27 PM | Report abuse

How about OH 2. Much closer than expected. Schmidt and McEwen are battling down to the wire in Hamilton County with about 1800 votes seperating them Schmidt with the edge.

Upset in the making?

The Dean of Ohio's Congressional delegation Rep. Ralph Regula is currently trailing opponent Matt Miller by 900 votes but with the bulk of Regula's base in Stark County still to be counted and no votes from Medina in yet.

Posted by: RMill | May 2, 2006 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Zach Space will be the Dem challenger to Rep. Bob Ney in Ohio 18 and Betty Sutton will challenge Craig Foltin in OH 13 (sorry Viva). She has a good lead and counting what results I have seen from Cuyahoga (about 27% minus absentee) she is leading there too.

Posted by: RMill | May 2, 2006 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately Chris, you will be in for a wait. Go ahead and get some sleep.

Problems in Cuyahoga County kept onme polling location open until 9:30 Pm and delayed release of statewide results.

Results in Cuyahoga will further be delayed because the optical scan system used for the 17,000+ absentee ballots does not work properly and will be counted by hand. That count will not start until midnight tonight.

More in the morning.

Posted by: RMill | May 2, 2006 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Well with 40% of the precincts reporting Charlie Wilson is leading with 60% of the vote in the 6th District. It looks like the RNC's and NRCC's efforts to keep Charlie wilson off of the ballot are going to fail.

Posted by: Ohio guy | May 2, 2006 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Ohio is the state where a progressive reformation must begin. As Ohio turns so will America.

Posted by: Intrepid Liberal Journal | May 2, 2006 9:08 PM | Report abuse

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