Ohio Democratic Party

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about whether Ohio Democrats have a chance this year to end a long drought in statewide elections; and about Kentucky's primary election on Tuesday. 

The Democratic primary for governor in Ohio could well boil down to where the candidates stand and what kind of record they have on gun control.

It's reasonable to believe  the vast majority of Democratic primary voters, in the wake of cold-blooded murder of 17 students and faculty members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, are enraged over the easy access to semi-automatic weapons and are solidly behind the nationwide movement of high school students marching and lobbying for gun control.

Issue 1, the proposed redistricting plan, continues to rack up support ahead of its appearance on the May ballot. Although backers are optimistic it will pass, they’re not putting all of their eggs in this election’s basket.

We've sort of become accustomed to candidates meeting in debates and spending as much time ripping into each other as they do talking about their own ideas.

This was not the case last Tuesday night, when the four Democrats running for Ohio governor met on a high school auditorium stage last Tuesday night in Martins Ferry, an Ohio River town in Belmont County.

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The Ohio Democratic Party is waiting to see if either Richard Cordray or Jerry Springer will enter the race for governor. A study finds the Hamilton County Land Reutilization Corporation has not properly maintained many of the 700 properties it owns.

There is hardly a significant campaign for high office that goes by without a fight over debates.

Will we have them? How many will have? Where will they be? What will the ground rules be?

And, in some cases, those questions never get answered – usually because of the intransigence of one candidate or another – and no debate ever happens.

But the 2018 gubernatorial race in Ohio will most certainly have debates.

In fact, there is one already scheduled.

For a guy who refuses to talk about the subject, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray has nearly everybody in Ohio Democratic Party politics expecting him to jump into the 2018 race for governor.

We've always thought Cordray had some extraordinary politics skills, but to create the kind of buzz we have seen in the past week while steadfastly refusing to talk about it is quite a neat trick.

It's not as if the Democrats don't already have some credible candidates for governor in the 2018.

If you are a baseball hitter and you have a game where you go 0-4 – no base hits in four at-bats – you're not a happy camper.

But you are not totally despondent. In baseball, there is usually a game tomorrow and you have a chance to go 4-4.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the 2018 statewide elections in Ohio; and whether or not Ohio Democrats can stop the Republicans' march toward making Ohio a totally red state. 

"Leans Republican."

That's the category where Ohio's already-churning 2018 gubernatorial race  is placed by Sabato's Crystal Ball, a highly-respected weekly politics newsletter published by director Larry J. Sabato of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the growing number of Democratic candidates for Ohio governor; and how both the Republicans and Democrats are likely to have lively primary battles for governor in 2018 

About a month ago, David Pepper, the Ohio Democratic Party chairman, was more than a bit concerned.

Back then, he had no announced candidates for Ohio governor in 2018, while some rather well-known and well-funded Republicans were gearing up for a fight.

"The time to start organizing campaigns is now,'' Pepper told WVXU in February. "There is no time for exploratory committees and thinking about it. It is time to get on with it."

Well, ask and ye shall receive.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about why, in early 2017, the 2018 Ohio governor's race appears to be ramping up. The main reason: It's an open seat: incumbent John Kasich can't run again. 

The Ohio Republican Party, which has done quite well in statewide elections over the past decade or so, has a nice, neat little bunch of politicians just itching to run for governor next year.

Four of them. Attorney General Mike DeWine. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted. U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth, in Medina County and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who filed paperwork with Husted's office on Thursday so she can start campaigning and, most importantly, raising money.

Red, blue or purple.

Those are the three choices on the political spectrum for a city, a county, or a state.

Ohio voters will pick their favorite color in 2018, the next round of statewide elections, in every office from governor and U.S. senator on down.

And how they choose might determine whether the pendulum swings back from red to blue, or at least, purple, in a state where all the statewide constitutional officeholders are Republican and where Donald Trump stunned Ohio Democrats in November by winning Ohio's 18 electoral votes by a sizeable margin.

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The last three election cycles have been miserable for Democrats in Ohio. Hillary Clinton failed to win the state this year, and, in 2014 and 2010, the Democrats were completely shut of all of Ohio's statewide constitutional offices. Can they make a comeback in 2018's mid-term election? WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with Jay Hanselman about it on Morning Edition Monday. 

There’s an old saw that says the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Some people are applying that to the Ohio Democratic Party executive committee’s decision a week ago to endorse former governor Ted Strickland over Cincinnati city council member P.G. Sittenfeld in the 2016 Democratic primary for Republican incumbent Rob Portman’s U.S. Senate seat.

Jo Ingles / Ohio Public Radio

It wasn’t a surprise.  David Pepper received unanimous backing from executive committee members Tuesday night to become the new chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party.

The party’s executive committee met Tuesday night in Columbus. In the end, it was a sweep for Pepper, after his opponent, former lieutenant governor candidate Sharen Neuhardt of Dayton, dropped out of the race Monday.

Pepper says he thinks the party needs to more clearly define its core message of supporting working Ohioans.

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Cincinnati's David Pepper will be the new Ohio Democratic Party chairman now that his only opponent for the job has dropped out of the race.

Sharen Neuhardt, the Dayton Democrat who was the losing candidate for lieutenant governor this year, sent an e-mail to her supporters today (Monday) saying she was getting out of the race to replace state party chairman Chris Redfern. Redfern resigned after the November election, when the Democrats lost all statewide races.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about the increasing likelihood that Cincinnati's David Pepper will become the new Ohio Democratic Party chairman Tuesday night.

It is looking more and more probable that when the Ohio Democratic Party’s executive committee meets Tuesday night in Columbus, it will pick Cincinnati’s David Pepper as the new state party chairman.

And Pepper – the former city council member and Hamilton County commissioner who ran and lost the race for Ohio Attorney General this year – will then have the unenviable task of picking up the pieces of a political party that was shattered in this year’s election.

Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune had a really bad experience with the Ohio Democratic Party early this year – especially with state party chairman Chris Redfern.

Last December, Portune – the only Democrat on the county commission – started crisscrossing the state in an attempt to build support to run for Ohio governor.

The problem was that Portune started too late – Ed FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive – had been campaigning since early in 2013; and had already wrapped up the party establishment and the endorsement of the state party.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with Maryanne Zeleznik about three Cincinnati Democrats who could play a role in re-building the Ohio Democratic Party.

Yes, the Nov. 4 election was a complete train wreck for the Ohio Democratic Party.

The gubernatorial candidate, Ed FitzGerald, was so abysmally weak that he took only 33 percent of the vote again incumbent Republican John Kasich – the worst drubbing of a Democratic candidate for governor since an unknown state senator named Rob Burch had 25 percent of the vote against popular GOP incumbent George Voinovich in 1994.

Bill Clinton
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The Ohio Democratic Party has landed former President Bill Clinton to be the featured speaker at its annual Legacy Dinner in June, just as the statewide campaigns are going into full swing.

The fundraising event will be on Friday, June 13 in Columbus. Party leaders are hoping the presence of Clinton will fire up the party faithful for a fall campaign where they have the daunting task of trying to win back all the statewide offices, from governor on down.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, the state’s chief election officer, put out a rather cheery press release this week to let Ohio voters know how well off they are when it comes to early voting.

“Voting in Ohio is easy,” the headline read, accompanied by a multi-colored graphic showing Ohio and its multiple ways of voting, alongside mean old states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky, which Husted said don’t afford voters so many opportunities.

In politics, if you have the numbers, you get to make the rules.

In Ohio, the Republicans have the numbers – they control both the Ohio House and Senate, they have one of their own in the governor’s office, John Kasich, and a Republican as the state’s chief elections officer, Secretary of State Jon Husted.

What Kasich, Husted and the legislature have done in recent weeks is to wield that power to make some rather big changes in the early voting system Ohio has used since 2006.

Michael Keating

On Friday night, at the Columbus Athenaeum, the Ohio Democratic Democratic Party will hold its annual "Legacy Dinner," one of the party's largest fundraising events of the year.

"Let's celebrate our 2014 talent,'' says the announcement on the party's website, ohiodems.org.

In other words, it is a "cattle call" for potential statewide candidates.

Ohio Democrats will hunker down in Washington for next month's presidential inauguration at one of the city's most luxurious and historic hotels - the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel on Connecticut Avenue NW.

If you want to go along for the fun, there's a rather hefty price tag.

According to an e-mail sent out by the Ohio Democratic Party, the "Mayflower Package" costs $4,200 per person.

Ohio Democrats were feeling pretty good Wednesday morning, once the votes had been tallied Tuesday night.
 

They managed to edge out a win in the Buckeye State for President Obama – 50.18 percent of the unofficial vote count for Obama, 48.18 percent for Mitt Romney.


And they managed to get Ohio’s Democratic senator, Sherrod Brown, re-elected over Republican challenger Josh Mandel, despite an avalanche of Super PAC money blanketing the state with TV ads trying to tear Brown down.