Tim Ryan Passes on Akron

The 17th district has traditionally been centered around Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley, but in 2002 the district was drawn to include eastern Summit County.  Tim Ryan has an office in Cuyahoga Falls, but when Jim Graham and the the local tea parties went to organize a protest this summer, they were surprised to find that the office had been closed for months!

Jim Graham was the only congressional candidate today to appear at a League of Women’s Voters Forum in Tallmage.  It was a short forum as there were other panels of state and local candidates, but he made points that have become commonplace among conservatives yet still confusing to run-of-the-mill Democrats.


  1. Real life experience is critical to being a true representative of the people.  Graham has a thirty year track record in health care as a pharmacist, in business management as a pharmacy owner, and as a member of law enforcement as a deputy sheriff in Mahoning County.  Tim Ryan was in law school and an aide to Jim Traficant before becoming a Congressman at the barely legal age of 27.
  2. Spending is monstrously out of control and the only earmark he would accept would be an “earmark to the Treasury to pay down this debt.”  Wasteful appropriations sacrifice the long-term health of the country for the sake of a congressman’s short-term benefit.  Anybody looking at trillion-dollar deficits should be able to understand that the pace unsustainable and that simply blaming Bush does not make the spending okay.
  3. The health care bill will do more damage than good.  This is the most difficult pill for Democrats to swallow, and some may never believe it until they experience it.  If you point to Canada or point to England, they won’t see it.  We, of course, can’t wait for them to experience it because that will only injure ourselves so the health care program must be stopped.  It is not “health care” but “health control.”


I’ll be voting for Jim Graham.  The Chamber of Commerce has been running ads against Tim Ryan, but that’s really the only advertising I’ve seen in the Cleveland/Akron market.  The real battle will be in Trumball and Mahoning County, but Graham can make serious inroads in Portage and Summit counties because nobody else seems to want to step up.


Bill Johnson: Ohio’s Latest Republican Young Gun

This race for Ohio’s 6th district has been rated as competitive from the start.  The voters along the eastern Ohio River have just barely supported the Republican candidates for president while at the same time sending Democrats to Congress.  Charlie Wilson himself was a “Blue Dog” Democrat when the term actually meant something.  Bill Johnson (http://www.billjohnsonleads.com/) is an attractive candidate and received an early endorsement from Sarah Palin which helped to put this race on the map as a potential gain for Republicans.

Johnson can now add the title of “Young Gun” by the NRCC – http://www.nrcc.org/default.asp?id=274&newsid=2556.  He was able to raise a good amount of money and continues to be an active campaigner.  Now for some reason, there have not been congressional polls taken in northern Ohio.  Kucinich, Kaptur, and Ryan all have Tea Party-type challengers and a poll would at least show their strength or weakness in these Democrat-heavy districts.  The 6th district is a swing district and one would think in this kind of year that the voters will swing in this election to Bill Johnson.

Ohio has other Young Guns as well (http://www.gopyoungguns.com/candidates): Steve Chabot who seems to have raised more money than the incumbent Driehaus, Tom Ganley taking on Betty Sutton, Steve Stivers who’s ready to trounce MaryJo Kilroy, Jim Renaci in the most ad-heavy race against John Boccieri who identifies himself only as a “candidate” for Congress, and Bob Gibbs challenging Blue Dog Zach Space who’s running as far as he can from the Democrats in Washington.  Ohio only has 10 Democrats in Congress, and each of these six have a fairly good shot at winning.

Polls close at 7:30 in Ohio making it one of the earliest states, yet results have not been forthcoming until after 9:00 over the last couple of elections.  Still the Great Lakes states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York could see heavy Republican gains if it’s going to be a good night for the right.

Sherrod Brown and the Divisive Progressive Populism

Senator Sherrod Brown wrote a piece last week in USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/forum/2010-10-04-column04_ST1_N.htm) which states that the Tea Party brand of populism is divisive.  As a “Proud Member in Good Standing” (really – it’s on my card) of my local Tea Party, I agree.  There is a divisive difference between those who have more trust in the citizen with those who trust the government.  There is a divisive difference between those who believe the person is more competent in making decisions that effect their lives than the bureaucrat.   With a growing number of Democrats and Republicans who moving toward the “government solution” mindset, the Tea Party members had to draw a line.

On the other hand, I will take issue with Brown’s contention that his brand of “real populism” fights for all Americans.  Littered among his speeches and writings are attacks on fat cats (i.e. employers), anti-environmentalists (i.e. farmers), and in this particular case the John Birch Society (i.e. Ron Paul supporters).  Sen. Brown’s populism pits the classic proletariat against the bourgeoise.  He is one of the Animal Farm pigs who throws out the farmer that knows how to run his business only to be become an elite himself who only thinks that he knows what to do.

His article extols the virtues of government takeover of major industry, of universal health care, and of the finance system.  Sherrod Brown thankfully says what he believes, and those who trust him more than they trust themselves might continue to vote Democratic.  But I would beg these voters to have more confidence in themselves and reject their own voting patterns that have extended the realm and strength of the government.  Whether you believe it or not, the Tea Party is 100% on your side.

Plain Dealer Turns Red

Cleveland’s Plain Dealer is usually in the business of endorsing Democrats.  Cuyahoga County is a heavily Democratic, and statewide Democrats usually need to win the county by 100,000 votes to balance losses in the more rural areas.  Yet even the traditional base recognizes an incompetence or failure to stop the bleeding – they have endorsed both John Kasich and Rob Portman.

Kasich (http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2010/10/the_plain_dealer_endorses_john_1.html) is running in the closer race, yet in some ways has the more forceful endorsement.  The PD endorsed Governor Strickland in 2006 on promises to moderate government, strengthen the “job-creating” Third Frontier plan, and reform education policies.  (On an historical note, Ohio’s education funding system was declared unconstitutional in 1979 and every governor for the last thirty years has made fixing it a top priority.)  The editorial board is more disappointed in Strickland’s performance and appears to endorse Kasich because, among other things, he’ll shake things up.  Kasich has the record of being House Budget Chairman during the balanced budgets of the Clinton administration which counts for a whole lot.  His Lehman Brothers career afterward is basically all that Strickland can lay on him.  The last four years have been tough on everybody, but Ohio has not kept up with other lower-tax, pro-growth states.

Rob Portman (http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2010/10/the_plain_dealer_endorses_rob.html) turns out to have the easier race.  He’s an attractive, traditional Republican candidate who should be more reliably conservative than either Voinovich or DeWine.  The Democrat Lee Fisher has run in statewide races over the last twenty years, and has given people little reason to vote for him.  He was able to beat the more progressive Jennifer Brunner last May with the money and support from the traditional “inside” Democrats, but it’s doubtful that she would have been able to run a more successful campaign – just a more entertaining one.

The PD has since endorsed Dennis Kucinich instead of Peter Corrigan (http://corriganforcongress.com/) and a slew of county and statewide Democrats, but the top of the ticket this year goes to the Republicans.

Tim Ryan (inc) vs. Jim Graham (tea) vs. James Traficant (ex-con)

Tim Ryan was elected to Congress in 2002 to replace the indicted James Traficant.  Ryan got 51% of the vote, the Republican got 34% and James Traficant, running as an independent, got 15%.  Since that time, Traficant went to jail and no Republican has gotten more than 23% of the vote in the general election.  Next to the East Cleveland district, the 17th district is rated as the most Democratic in the state (+12 from Charlie Cook).  The region runs down I-76 from Youngstown, through Warren, Kent, then Akron and is heavy with union support.  But it is also on the northern end of Appalachia, a demographic that had problems supporting President Obama,

Fastforward to 2010, Traficant is out of jail and he wants his old job back.  He’s been working on local talk radio positioning himself as a tea party candidate.  Unfortunately, his support seems to be akin to that of Ron Paul – they talk like they are 50% of the vote when in fact they are closer to 5%.  Tim Ryan has some bar exam issues and is quite close to Nancy Pelosi (and closer to her daughter if you know what I mean – not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Contrasting these two is Jim Graham – a pharmacist could double as a bouncer.  He’s been active with the tea party as he courted their vote from the very beginning.  He’s worked in the sheriff’s office and had swam with sharks, and he is certainly not somebody who feels any entitlement to the job of Congressman.  A passionate immigrant, he respects this country more than some of our natives who see only our faults and nothing of our exceptionalism.

Check out his website – http://www.jimgrahamforcongress.com/.  This is one of those districts that will be off of everybody’s radar, but Ryan might lose the Traficant vote, the disaffected Appalachia vote, and if Graham can pick up the energized conservatives, then he might be the harbinger of a Republican landslide.