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House Watch: Updates From Ohio and N.M.

Although the 2006 battle for control of the House of Representatives doesn't have the sexiness of the struggle for the Senate, every day there are key developments in congressional districts that bear noting.  Here are two:

OHIO's 13th

The leading name to replace Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) in the solidly Democratic 13th District is former representative Tom Sawyer (D). Sawyer held the neighboring 14th District from 1986 until 2002, when the Republican-led redistricting divided his base of support; he lost a Democratic primary to Rep. Tim Ryan (D).

"Of course I'm interested," said Sawyer when reached at his home earlier today. "I loved the 16 years I spent in Congress."  Sawyer said he will make no decision on the race until after Nov. 8; his wife, Joyce, is running for clerk of the Akron Municipal Court -- a race the former congressman is heavily involved in. "I am the best campaign manager she could afford," he joked.

Sawyer does not currently live in the 13th District but estimates his house is a "seven iron" from the district line. Prior to coming to Congress, Sawyer served as the mayor of Akron for two years and served in the state House from 1976 to 1982. 

Given the strongly Democratic nature of the district (Sen. John Kerry won there with 56 percent in 2004), Sawyer isn't likely to have the field to himself. But one potential major candidate -- Mayor Don Plusquellic -- may decide not to run if Sawyer gets in, according to informed party sources. Mark Williamson, a spokesman for Plusquellic, said his boss had not made any decision. "Don has not said one way or the other," according to Williamson.

Rep. Brown is giving up his seat to run against Sen. Mike DeWine (R) next year.

Are there other names out there on the Democratic side?  Send an e-mail if you've heard of someone thinking about this race.


State Attorney General Patricia Madrid is moving toward entering the race against Rep. Heather Wilson (R) in New Mexico's 1st District; an announcement of her intentions could come as early as the beginning of next week.

Landing Madrid would be a major recruiting victory for House Democrats who have tried to knock Wilson out of her Albuquerque-based district since she won a 1998 special election to claim it. Madrid, who is Hispanic, was elected the state's top cop in 1998 and reelected in 2002. She has seen her name floated for a variety of offices, from state land commissioner to lieutenant governor.

"With Madrid in, this would become one of the top races in the country and Wilson would be playing catch up," said Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman Sarah Feinberg.

That might overstate it slightly, but Madrid would undoubtedly give Wilson a very tough race. The district is 43 percent Hispanic, according to the 2000 census, and went for Kerry 51 percent to 48 percent in 2004. Wilson, however, is a resilient campaigner and star fundraiser.  At the end of September, she had more than $730,000 sitting in a campaign account to spend on the race.

The National Republican Congressional Committee declined to comment on Madrid's potential candidacy.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 13, 2005; 4:57 PM ET
Categories:  House  
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Next: The Friday Line: Senate Races to Watch


Your site is realy very interesting.

Posted by: Dublin Flats | March 22, 2006 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Heather Wilson also takes money from Exxon/Mobil's oil-money PAC - more than any other New Mexico politician, in fact. After Exxon announced the other day that their net profit for the 4th quarter of 2005 - no, not revenue, PROFIT, was $10.7 billion (that's "billion" with a B), a lot of consumers who've had trouble paying their gas and heating bills while the oil companies were price-gouging are pretty angry, and might resent it that Exxon's already given Heather Wilson $5,000 toward the 2006 race.

Posted by: Christopher Walker | February 1, 2006 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Heather Wilson is a rubber stamp for the Bush Administration, if she isn't stoped now she will run for the U.S Seanate after Domminichi is through. Madrid has all talent it takes to beat such a lackluster congresswomen.

Posted by: Luis | October 16, 2005 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Chris, you're right that Patsy Madrid's decision to run in NM district 1 is big news. The Democrats have fielded one lightweight candidate after another against Heather Wilson for the past four races. Madrid, on the other hand, is articulate, well respected, and has proven herself to be an exceedingly competent attorney general. If I were in the Wilson camp (I'm decidedly not, and never have been), I'd be shaking in my boots right now.

Posted by: RedChile | October 15, 2005 5:21 PM | Report abuse


I think you should be commended for the hard work that you are doing on this blog. I have read some of the comments and I think they unfairly reresent the work and time that you put in for there to be a blog. Keep it up and I'll keep checking it out every day as I have done for the past two weeks or so.

Posted by: Marve | October 14, 2005 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I doubt there is a Republican house hopeful that didn't get some of "Tom's" money. After all, he had enough to spread around to cover even the also rans.

Posted by: CIDR | October 14, 2005 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"Mr. Fix," I'm not sure that any of the facts presented here are correct. Do they pay you for this tripe? Do your job better, you "reporter."

Posted by: Bort | October 14, 2005 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Isn't Heather Wilson one of the top recipients of Tom DeLay's PAC's money? Wouldn't/Couldn't that become a campaign issue?

Posted by: fixer | October 13, 2005 5:26 PM | Report abuse

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