Ohio’s Updated House Races

A few things have happened since last month’s post about the Ohio Congressional races.  First of all, Isaac Quinones II had withdrawn his challenge to Marcy Kaptur and instead put it in to face Jim Renacci.  Then, Quinones withdrew from that race and is returning to DC to finish college.  Maybe we’ll hear from him at a later date.

It seems Democrats have filed for races against Gibbs and Renacci, and Republicans have filed against Fudge and Beatty, so there will be no uncontested races in 2014.  (In 2012, Boehner and Fudge were both the only candidate on their respective ballots.)  I still see Joyce and Johnson as the most vulnerable Republicans, with Joyce being a bit more vulnerable than Johnson.  Well the Tea Party has smelled Joyce’s blood in this district’s water and they’ve been waiting for this fight!

State Sen. Matt Lynch has been a frequent speaker at Tea Party events and he has filed to challenge Joyce.  Not coincidentally, Steve “ChuckleHead” LaTourette’s daughter had previously filed to challenge Lynch for the State Senate, so Lynch decided to run for Steve’s old seat and beat his hand-picked successor.  Like LaTourette, David Joyce has a weak Heritage Score and will certainly be vulnerable in a primary fight.  If the Tea Parties in Northeast Ohio can GOTV in the primary, then there will be one less non-conservative Republican in Congress.

Also if Lynch wins, nobody has any illusions that he will have an easy race to Washington.  The Democrats already have this district as a potential pickup with the incumbent Joyce running as a Republican.  With Lynch, this district will instantly move to “TossUp” or even “Lean D.”  Nevertheless, I think more conservatives are willing to fight and lose Congressional and Senate races as opposed to not fighting and losing with a weak Republican.

Weak or Vulnerable GOP Congressmen

It’s nice to receive validation, especially from folks at the Madison Project who I believe cross over into RealClearPolitics and RedState.  The Madison Project has scored the last Congress on conservative votes, and then compared that to the conservativeness of their respective district.  In looking at their “Hall of Shame,” we can see which Representatives should be voting more conservatively than they currently are.  Many of the greatest offenders come from weaker Republicans in strong GOP districts in the South, although there are many strong GOP districts across the country.  (“Hall of Fame” kudos to Jim Jordan, and also to Steve Chabot who didn’t make the cut but is fighting the good fight.)

Most of Ohio’s Republican districts would be considered leaning or swing, and they include the four who I’ve previously tagged as weak or vulnerable.  Both Steve Stivers (OH-15) and Pat Tiberi (OH-12) were redistricted away from central Columbus into areas which should be more Republican.  These two are ripe for GOP primaries.  (The Madison Project has Tiberi in a D+1 district, but I think that is the old district and not the new one.)  These two do NOT show up in Cook’s current Race Ratings and any Republican should be a winner, so why not challenge these two and get somebody in Congress more conservative?

The other two might be a little more tricky.  David Joyce (OH-14) (replacing Steve LaTourette, and who seems to have a similar temperament although we’ll wait for more data) and Jim Renacci (OH-16) are in districts that are slightly more Democrat-leaning than the 2002 map.  LaTourette had earned respect from his district and Republican challenges weren’t done and Democrat challenges fell flat.  If Joyce were to lose a primary to a more conservative candidate, the national Democrats will throw everything at this district because it is certainly winnable for them.  Ashtabula County has always leaned Democrat, and this district now includes more parts of Summit County which is certainly more Democrat.

Renacci’s district now includes the southwestern parts of Cuyahoga as well as parts of Medina County which are swing areas.  His district may be a bit more conservative than Joyce’s, but Democrats are pretty active and will likely have a high-profile candidate run on their side.  A primary generally hurts the incumbent, and it would be a struggle for either Renacci or the challenger to follow up with a November win.  It doesn’t mean somebody won’t try, and maybe Cook sees something that I don’t.  Like Stivers and Tiberi, Renacci is NOT listed as a vulnerable seat.

Moving to the Cook Report, there are two other seats that he has as “likely Republican.”  Bob Gibbs has a completely new district and people in the rural north are generally more Democrat than the rural central.  Bill Johnson’s district travels the southeast edge of the state bordering Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  The Appalachian areas are becoming more Republican and I think Gibbs is the more vulnerable of the two.

The big race in 2014 in Ohio will be for Governor.  Active Tea Party members are upset at the Medicaid expansion proposed by Kasich, and may consider a challenge in a primary.  I would be very concerned if they choose to challenge in the general, however, as a third party.  Kasich barely won in the big year of 2010, and if he loses just 5% to a third party then that might get a Democrat back in the statehouse.

Next year’s summer and fall should be all about getting out the conservative vote, but the winter and spring better be about getting a conservative candidate.  I hope conservatives are considering challenges at least to Stivers and Tiberi (and throw in Boehner), and we can push the next House even further to the right.  Gowdy, Amash, Chaffez, Brindenside, Gohmert, and Jim Jordan need all the help they can get.

Finding a Common Premise in the Gun Argument

As much as people say they hate politicizing tragedies like Sandy Hook Elementary, it only took hours before political arguments were being made.  And much too quickly and eagerly, people begin debating their conclusions before deciding whether or not they agree on the premises.

Everybody agrees that what happened in Newtown, CT is a tragedy.  NOT everybody agrees that it could have been prevented.  This, I think, is the root of the argument’s divergence.

Will banning assault weapons and their magazines prevent their use in crimes?  If the answer is yes, then I am all for it.  I certainly have no use for an assault weapon and it is my belief that nobody else in the country has a need for one as well.  From my world in my perspective, nobody needs assault weapons.

But I respect and understand that the world does not exist solely from my perspective, and I do not believe that banning assault weapons will eliminate assault weapons.  And when somebody making the gun-ban argument concedes this point, then we need to move the discussion elsewhere.  If the argument is to continue on gun limits, then it must be with the admission that it will not prevent this type of violent crime.  Neither new laws nor existing laws will stop people intent on breaking the law.

On ABC’s This Week, Mayor Cory Booker went down this fine line, and I want to thank him for the retweet :).  And looking at some of his other mentions on Twitter, I’m not the only Tea Party-type to agree with argument that legally armed people are not the problem with violent crime.   I’ll even link to his article on the Huffington Post where talks about laws regarding second-hand gun shows, mental health, gun trafficking.  But before I stick on my “Booker for Senate” button, we ought to make a clear line between responsibly sacrificing liberty and actively promoting tyranny.

For over a century, we’ve given progressives inch after inch and they have never relented from their goals.  There is a vocal minority that wants to ban all guns.  This minority was vocal decades ago and they are vocal today.  Even if they get temporarily silenced at this time by a responsible majority, they will see any gun ban as one of a long line of victories.

So am I a TeaParty nutjob for putting everything into a Liberty and Tyranny framework?  Progressives think so – Progressives in BOTH parties think so (and I’m talking about you, Steve LaTourette)!  When I hear arguments on talk shows, I hear conservatives speaking from this framework and liberals “just wanting to do something.”  I hope Booker can speak with the language of liberty.  Maybe it will encourage Republicans to do the same.

David Joyce: Latourette TNG

Last month the seven county GOP leaders encompassed in the northeast 14th district, selected Geauga County Prosecutor David Joyce to replace Steve LaTourette.  LaTourette has been critical of the partisanship in the current Congress and decided to retire AFTER winning the Republican nomination in March, thereby preventing the nutty Tea Party voters from competing for his seat.  In selecting Joyce, the county leaders picked somebody much like LaTourette who was the Lake County Prosecutor and is respected by both sides of the aisle.  Here’s more from the Plain Dealer.

David Joyce speaks at a Romney rallyI actually heard both Steve LaTourette and David Joyce during a rainy day in Painesville at a Mitt Romney event in mid-September.  Joyce was good enough and is close to a shoe-in to win the November election.  Joyce’s opponent is not well-known or well-funded.  Democrats may choose this district as one of those to pick off in 2014 as they seek to regain some Congressional seats in (according to the  recent frustrating polls) “Blue” Ohio.

On a day that featured Joyce, Senator Portman, Senate candidate Mandel, and Mitt Romney, the most engaging speaker was Steve LaTourette himself.  It made me feel bad when thinking about my earlier posts criticizing his moderate stances, but he is responsible for the bed he made.  LaTourette spoke passionately about the problems with the policies of Obamacare and the means by which it was achieved.  He also spoke about jobs and the economy, and how the hyper-regulation of the EPA has specifically prevented local businesses from expansion and development.  That argument has unfortunately been missing in the Romney or Mandel campaigns, and they should get LaTourette to open all their events in Ohio and the rest of the swing states.  It was that good.

LaTourette’s “BiPartisan” Retirement

Steve LaTourette’s announcement yesterday that he would not seek another term left Republicans simply shaking their heads.   If he had decided this a year ago, conservative and moderate Republicans would have had a chance to compete for the nomination, then have the party rally behind the winner.  The Democrats nominated Dale Blanchard, a man who has run for this seat a decade earlier and has run for other offices as well.  He was not expected to pose much of a challenge for LaTourette, but the timing of his announcement can only help the Democrats.

LaTourette’s district was narrowly won by John McCain in 2008, although the inclusion of Summit, Portage, and Cuyahoga counties with redistricting made this district more Democratic.  The GOP Chairmen of each of the seven counties will select a candidate which is sure to leave some of the electorate upset.  Without the name recognition of incumbency, this district just went from a solid R to leaning R.

Daniel Horowitz wrote a good piece of red meat for RedState laying out the argument against LaTourette’s moderation.  The theory is that only a moderate (or a liberal) can win a moderate district, and this could be a good test case if the right conservative is chosen.   The Plain Dealer suggested that Democrats are encouraging Blanchard to step down so they can put forward a stronger candidate.  If that happens, then OH-14 could become one of the most hotly contested races in the country.

Steve LaTourette: The Weak Voice of Severe Moderation

Steve LaTourette has been representing northeast Ohio since the Gingrich Revolution in 1994.  He defeated the freshman Eric Fingerhut, a Democrat who has since run unsuccessfully for Senate in 2004 and then for Governor in 2006, in an area where Republican officeholders are few and far between.  For the last ten years, the district extended from east of Cleveland and north of Youngstown and all the way to Erie, Pennsylvania, and this year it will move further into Akron and Cleveland.  Much of this area is modestly Democratic with a big red spot in Geauga County.  LaTourette had never campaigned or presented himself as anything other than a moderate, and he may think that the time has come in Washington for a voice like his.

The problem with moderation is that it starts at your final negotiation position.  If both sides began with their moderate position, then this certainly would be a quicker and more efficient method to reach an agreement.  But there is nothing moderate with the positions in today’s Democrat party.  Federal spending has gone from almost $3 trillion to almost $4 trillion in the Pelosi / Obama era, and we never had the $3 trillion with which to start!  In the LaTourette era, spending has more than doubled.

While the Rand Paul spending bill is the best starting point in my opinion, the Paul Ryan bill should be more palatable for Republicans to begin budget negotiations.  The silence of the Democrats speaks volumes, and the discussion should be the Democrat incompetence with federal spending.  When Steve LaTourette joins the Democrats in condemning the Paul Ryan bill… well it’s what the tea party has come to expect from establishment-types.

His bipartisan proposal was bipartisanly defeated, which at least extends the argument on the Democrat incompetence.  LaTourette has a weak Heritage rating, but he has won his re-elections fairly comfortably and does not appear to have a significant challenge at this time.  The Democrats are throwing wild pitches right now, and I hope that Republican moderates would stop swinging outside the plate.