Ohio Redistricting with Map

I’ve created a current Ohio district map and superimposed it on the county growth (or lack thereof) map given by the census.

Looking at the loss in the northern part of the state, I can’t see how Kaptur, Sutton, Kucinich, and Fudge all keep their positions.  Because Sutton is from the Akron area, I’ll bet she will end up challenging Renacci with Kucinich and Kaptur taking parts of Lorain County.

Then from this map, we unfortunately see losses in the Latta and Jordan districts as well as the district of freshman Bill Johnson.  The Johnson district along the Ohio River from near Youngstown toward Athens, may have been a carve-out for somebody in 2000.  I can’t remember that redistricting fight, but this district once belonged to the future Governor Ted Strickland.

Tim Ryan’s district will likely survive as his support is so strong in Mahoning County that I doubt any Republican can squeeze in there.  If Renacci can defeat Sutton (and I’m afraid that’s a big if), then Ohio will have 4 Democrats out of 16 seats.  Ohio leans conservative, but it’s going to be a big challenge to get fewer than four Democratic seats in this state.

Updated: Finally we’ll need to watch for the redraw around Columbus.  Three districts share parts of Franklin County, and these three have generally been filled by Republicans.  In 2008, however, Mary Jo Kilroy needed a recount to beat Steve Stivers (who won the 2010 rematch), and Pat Tiberi’s district was won by Barack Obama.  A Democrat could easily slip into one of those districts no matter how carefully they are drawn.

The Josh Mandel Push

Trying to maintain the momentum from November 2010, Ohio conservatives have been anxiously awaiting challengers to freshman Senator Sherrod Brown.  Brown is way to the left of most Ohioans, yet he has been active in state politics for all of his adult life (bio).  I was recently reminded that Ohio voters supported Senator Howard Metzenbaum for nearly 20 years, and he was just as liberal as Brown.

The election of 2006 in Ohio was a perfect storm for Ohio conservatives who may have been frustrated by a) 8 years of Gov. Bob Taft, b) 12 years of Sen. Mike DeWine, c) 8 years of Sen. George Voinovich, d) 6 years of Pres. George Bush, or e) any or all of the above.  Ohio also had some problems with some of its congressmen.  Bob Ney needed to withdraw from his 2006 re-election campaign because of his relations with Jack Abramoff, and the newly-appointed Jean Schmidt had to deal with her “cowards never run” comment and then the special election challenge from Paul Hackett, an anti-war Iraqi vet golden boy.  Like much of the country, Ohio dismissed its Republican standard-bearers.

Initial chatter for a 2012 Senate candidate included Reps. Jim Jordan and Steve LaTourette.  If Ken Blackwell still has a residence in Ohio, he would be a strong candidate.  And along with John Kasich, Ohio voted in a new team of young Republicans including Mary Taylor, John Husted, and Josh Mandel.  Jim Jordan is enjoying a new soapbox as a fiscal leader in the House, and he seems dis-inclined to give that up.  LaTourette would frankly remind conservatives too much of DeWine/Voinovich – he earns about 60-70% ratings on conservative issues.  The new team in the statehouse have hardly unpacked to be ready or willing to return to the campaign trail.  And Blackwell may be enjoying his role as policy wonk because I can find no comments from him regarding Ohio politics.

But politics abhors a vacuum, and conservatives in Ohio and the nation are itchy.  It may have started with this Washington Post article – http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/the-rising/the-rising-josh-mandel-could-t.html, but before you could get your second cup of coffee, both Powerline and RedState had responses and I heard on the radio that Mandel has been inundated with calls urging him to run.

Mandel is a fiscal hawk and would fit right in with Jim DeMint’s brand of politics as opposed to John McCain’s.  The Ohio Republican Party has done its best to prevent primary fights by moving people to different slots – see David Yost being moved from the AG campaign after Mike DeWine announced his intention to run, Blackwell being encouraged not to challenge Bob Taft, etc.  If no other Republican announces or is encouraged by the establishment to seek the Senate, this nomination is Josh Mandel’s.  All he has to do is say “yes.”