3:59 PM, Mar 11, 2015 • By MICHAEL WARREN
With more than a year and a half until Election Day 2016, things are already gearing up for high-profile political contests, and not just on the presidential level. In Ohio, the quintessential presidential battleground state, first-term Republican senator Rob Portman is one of the Democrats’ top targets. Cincinnati city council member P.G. Sittenfeld announced early this year he would be run for the Democratic nomination to challenge Portman. But at the end of February, the 30-year-old rising star was bigfooted by the entry of former governor Ted Strickland. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee quickly jumped in to back Strickland, noting his time as governor and his “long record of fighting for working folks.”
Strickland, 72, was ousted after one term as governor in 2010, the same year Portman was elected to the Senate. Elected by a big margin in 2006 after several terms in Congress, Strickland seemed poised for a bigger stage. There was even some talk early in the 2008 cycle of picking the Ohio governor for the vice presidential slot on the Democratic ticket. But by 2010, the political winds shifted in favor of the GOP, and he lost to Republican John Kasich by just two percentage points.
Strickland’s term in Columbus, which straddled a recession that hit Ohio particularly hard, was mostly a disappointment, according to one columnist at the Akron Beacon Journal. In a 2009 column, the writer described Strickland’s “Turnaround Ohio” campaign promise of 2006 “empty” and “unfulfilled.” He criticized the Democrat’s 2009 school funding proposal as “stealing from the poor and giving to the rich” and called Strickland a “bizarro-world Robin Hood.” The columnist wrote that “poor planning, communication and execution” and a “politically inept” administration had caused Strickland’s agenda to stall. “Need a working title for a book for Gov. Ted Strickland's first, perhaps only, term in office?” wrote the columnist in 2009. “Missed Opportunities would fit.”
What makes things awkward is that the columnist, Dennis Willard, is now working for the man he once said had “thin skin and paranoia.” Willard left the Beacon Journal in 2010 to start his own consulting firm, Precision Media, and to do communications work for the Ohio Democratic Party. Now he appears to be working for Strickland. In a recent story about Strickland's reversal on medical marijuana—he’s now for it after being publicly opposed in 2010—Willard is identified as a “Strickland spokesman.” Willard explains that new studies since 2010 have shown more benefits to using the drug for medical purposes, which accounts for Strickland’s change of mind.
And among Willard’s other clients? A pro-medical marijuana group, Responsible Ohio, which is advocating for a ballot referendum on pot.
4:04 PM, Apr 30, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A new poll shows Florida Republican governor Rick Scott behind his most likely opponent, Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist, by 10 points. The Quinnipiac poll of registered voters found 48 percent support Crist while 38 percent support Scott. Scott's fortunes would improve if he ran against former Democratic state senator Nan Rich, who polls 36 percent to the Republican's 42 percent.
1:18 PM, Feb 17, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
One Colorado Republican running for the U.S. Senate this year has a message for voters: He cares. Ken Buck, who is running to challenge incumbent Democrat Mark Udall, has a new ad in a series touting his record of helping people in his role as district attorney of Weld County, north of the Denver area.
The ad features Stephanie Drobny, a woman with two young children who fled an abusive husband in Montana. Drobny describes how Buck, as DA, helped her feel safe and even worked to change a loophole in the law to keep the ex-husband away from her children. Watch the video below:
12:01 PM, Feb 14, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A new poll of likely voters in Michigan shows GOP candidates for U.S. Senate and the governorship ahead of their Democratic counterparts. According to the Detroit Free Press, the latest EPIC-MRA poll shows incumbent Republican governor Rick Snyder leading his challenger, Democrat Mark Schauer, 47 percent to 39 percent.
12:22 AM, Mar 29, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
Earlier this evening, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty was asked for his opinion of Syria on the Hugh Hewitt radio show. “Bashar al-Assad is a dictator,” said Pawlenty, a prospective Republican presidential candidate for the 2012 election, referencing the Syrian strongman who is brutally murdering his own people. “His father killed thousands – tens of thousands of people. He is also a killer.”
4:00 PM, Dec 30, 2010 • By FRED BARNES
Elections have consequences, and in Alabama the consequences have come quickly and decisively.
1:50 PM, Nov 29, 2010 • By JAY COST
Over the weekend, Texas Republican representative Lamar Smith penned an interesting column for the Washington Post arguing that the GOP's haul among Hispanic voters was "historically robust." Is this conclusion correct? If so, what does it mean, about both 2010 and the future of the Republican party?
12:31 PM, Nov 26, 2010 • By JAY COST
On Election Night a few weeks back, several races remained outstanding. In the weeks that have followed, all but one of the contests has been settled, with the final one (NY-1) now being tended to by a judge. Let's run down the results.
-CA-11. Republican efforts to take back Richard Pombo's old seat have proven unsuccessful. Democrat Jerry McNerney ultimately prevailed, despite the fact that late on election night Republican David Harmer had the lead.
10:30 AM, Nov 22, 2010 • By FRANK CANNON
There is an under-noticed bright spot for the Republican Party after the recent midterm election: Gains with Hispanic voters and Hispanic politicians.
6:30 AM, Nov 15, 2010 • By JAY COST
Today we continue our post-election overview by looking at the West. Historically, the West has been a fairly volatile region. In the 1880s the Republican Party figured that the West would be a GOP bastion, and accordingly the 51st Congress (1889-90) added four western states to the Union (plus North and South Dakota). However, the GOP was in for a surprise, as the West tilted Populist in 1892, then went Democratic in 1896. From that point until about 1960, a victorious Democratic coalition always depended upon an alliance of the South and the West.
4:45 PM, Nov 11, 2010 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Ben Smith has a good piece on John Thune’s vulnerabilities as a 2012 presidential candidate. Smith’s post raises the central question: Is Thune too “establishment” for the current political environment?
12:00 AM, Nov 11, 2010 • By GARY ANDRES
Never mind the talk of tsunamis and tidal waves, last Tuesday’s results revealed some storm clouds ahead for both parties. (Okay, I promise to stop sounding like the political Weather Channel.)
Let’s start with the Democrats. Beyond the obvious, such as losing independents by 16 points and moving backward with nearly every major demographic group compared to the last two elections, Democrats should be wary of five other pitfalls.