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Thursday, January 26, 2006

What If? The ramifications of a clusterf**k and new Sutton endorsement

For a while, it appeared the Dem primary, while multi-way, was going to be kept to an orderly 4 or five player game. However, if one judges by the number of people who have pulled petitions (and Ohio's almost unbelievably easy ballot access rules), we could have a ménage à eight, nine or even ten. Oof. While certain to be entertaining, for the same reason that rubbernecking happens when people pass by a train derailment, it makes so much of what has been said, thought, or predicted moot, or at least dangerously obsolete.

As of now, it is safe to stratify the potential candidates into a few categories, based on seriousness, money, resumé, and general ability to be a factor in this race.

At the top, there are the big guns: Cafaro, Sawyer, Sutton. Just slightly below them, based on family name ID, is Gary Kucinich (although we still are not entirely convinced he will file). Next tier brings us Wolfe and Schira, who have had the savvy to get at least some media attention and grassroots support. Then, we have the cast of characters who've filed otherwise, Bowen, Neal and Shaw.

What role will these new faces take, should they file? Well, they make the draw for good ballot position that much more important, as if two of them are at the top of the ballot, and the big names are at or near the bottom, some uninformed or lazy voters won't bother to read down. More significant tho is that the three new faces, should they even draw one or two percent of the vote each, exascerbate the vote splitting problem in Summit County. These three names all at least drew their petitions from Summit, and what little base of support they may have probably resides there. Wolfe, Sutton and Sawyer also draw their base support from Summit.

As odd as it seems, all these new names could have a real impact. A primary does not have super high turnout, and as discussed previously, the breakdown of Summit votes will play a pivotal role in the campaign. The more fragmented it is (without one candidate sweeping it), the more likely the non-Summit candidates are to have success. And seeing the natural antipathy running between Lorain and Summit (in terms of this dirstrict's representation, at least), the candidates who do well in Summit cannot count on doing well in Lorain County. Boy oh boy, this could get fun, in a "When Animals Attack" on FOX sort of way.

In other news, Betty Sutton released news of endorsement by the Lorain and Barberton Firefighters, and this time, it was the Sutton campaign emailing it to us directly. That makes four campaigns who have taken the time and effort to make direct outreach. The rest of you need to get on the ball. As for the endorsement, this is hardly shocking, as the Firefighter's Union were a client of Sutton in her legal practice. But more endorsements never hurt, and they at least prompt bloggers like us to write something up on an otherwise slow news day.

The Ohio 13 Blog editors

we can be reached at ohio13 at gmail dot com

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