Thursday, August 04, 2005

On The Trail - Six Weeks Out

Started on the trail this week in Clermont County, Ohio with Aaron Wozniak, a student at Xavier, realtor, and son of the President of the Board of Lucas County Commissioners. First at the HQ in Batavia where we were greeted by Sky Beckwith, daughter of Lindsay Potts and Dave Beckwith of Toledo. She had been down there for weeks working smart and hard. We then hit the Hamilton County HQ where we were dispatched for door to door canvassing in Anderson Township. I had two guys on the tailgate of my pick-up truck at points to cover ground the faster. We could sense things were hot and close in this heavily Republican neighborhood and congressional district.

Here's what a nonpartisan expert, The Hotline's Charlie Cook, had to say just before Election Day,

"Bottom line: Schmidt, the Republican, is still favored to win the election, but don't rule out the possibility of an upset, given the vagaries of August special election voter turnout and the problems unique to Ohio this year. But even assuming a GOP win tonight, the margin of victory can give us some insight into just how radioactive the governor's troubles and the "time for a change" sentiment in the state will be for other Republicans in the Buckeye State next year. If Schmidt's victory margin is in double digits, this tells us that there is not much of an anti-GOP wind in Ohio right now. If the margin is say six to nine points for Schmidt, then there is a wind, but certainly no hurricane. A Schmidt win of less than five points should be a very serious warning sign for Ohio Republicans that something is very, very wrong, while a Hackett victory would be a devastating blow to the Ohio GOP."

An important exchange between MyDD's Jerome Armstrong and DCCC ED John Lapp.

Also from today's Hotline:

"While many GOPers attributed Schmidt's "weak showing to pre-primary attacks" from the Club for Growth, one GOP strategist said "that Schmidt ran a 'stupid' race." The strategist: "Typically, in low-turnout elections, you concentrate your turnout efforts on Republican precincts. They were concentrating on fairs and festivals. You don't reach voters going to fairs and festivals." The strategist "also complained" Schmidt "ran no TV ads last Thursday and part of Friday because 'no one [with her camp] bothered to go down to the TV station and bring them a check.'"

To "historymike" who posts here and gives the edge to Finkbeiner's window dressing campaign, I repeat: "They were concentrating on fairs and festivals. You don't reach voters going to fairs and festivals." Nor will you reach them with a fundraising effort that began in February 2005 (while still an on-air commentator for 13 ABC WTVG) that raised only $11,525 in a Mayor's race with the incumbent netting another $150k, bringing his total raised in three years to $750k.

Tom Troy, the city reporter for The Blade who has also covered politics the past few months, recently wrote on the front page about Finkbeiner trying the hardest to demonstrate the widest support from across the city. It's a point I respectfully disagree with. Putting a bunch of names/"co-chairs" on a website is one thing, particularly if half of them don't live in the city of Toledo. Mayor Jack Ford has well over 500 individual contributors, hundreds of whom gave him $5, $10, and $25 checks. Sure, many of the PACs and familiar business names are there, but his donor base constitutes much greater depth and reflects rock solid commitment.

I think any politician in the state would take Ford's contributors and contributions over Carty's website. A website, by the way, recently updated with a new, second campaign manager and other shake-ups, including the re-emergence of Paulette Huber's name, and apparent demotion. Originally listed as a Finance Co-Chair alongside Pat Nicholson, then removed completely, she's now "Fundraising Events Coordinator" I know first hand Paulette what being around Carty is like, and I don't envy you.

One night last week, at a garage sale/auction/fund raiser for a Democratic women's group, supporters of Ford, Wilkowski and Finkbeiner uneasily mingled in a backyard off Kenwood Blvd. Mayor Ford himself was in San Diego accepting a national award for CareNet, which has allowed 5000 people in our community to have health care. Wilkowski was there talking people up. I brought an old, framed montage of Carty's Blade clippings from election night 93, "It's Carty Time." A relic I ended up with back in 97 which bounced around the attic. A perfect auction item, I supposed. Well, someone else had brought a book "Women in Congress," signed by the author, Rep. Marcy Kaptur. The Finkbeiner crew arrived after the framed Ode to Carty was auctioned, quickly, and sold for five dollars. I thought for sure it would go for more than that if Carty's peeps had been there. The bidding for the Kaptur book, though, was sharp from the get-go. Unlicensed, (I'd guess) but nonetheless able (we'd all agree) auctioneer Dave Beckwith was working up a sweat handling the Kaptur bids. $25, $50, $100, up and up it went. Finally, the field of bidders drew down to Megan Vahey, Ford's campaign manager, and Keith Wilkowski himself. $250. $300. $350. $400. A silence and soon cheering erupted from the three dozen folks gathered around. $450. $500. Back and forth the Ford and Wilkowski forces went. It slowed a bit. Megan and Keith realized that neither could turn back, that this was real money on real ground. I thought of the lame glass framed Carty montage I brought that sold for $5. $600 yelled Megan! "Not campaign money" yelled back Keith (they were on opposite ends of the backyard) We all looked at each other. Alex Hugulet and Dave Mann could scarcely believe their good luck in fundraising. Finally, Wilkowski countered with $650. Megan replied "Sold" again to wild cheers and disbelief. It was like one of those poker games that escalates out of control. Keith was handed the Kaptur book and said he had to go out to his car to get his checkbook. He hugged Megan. I assume she was no doubt relieved not to have to shell out $600. Carty and his peeps showed a half hour later. They immediately spied the recently purchased montage. After 15 minutes of ogling it, Carty asked someone, "What are you going to do with that, throw it in the the river?" "No, someone here just bought it during the auction." "Who, how much, we'll buy it from them." "$5" The Carty crew proceeded to negotiate with the reseller, who obliged them even without a mark-up, and one of Carty's volunteers pulled out his wallet, paid her $5, and took away the montage happy as a clam.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interested in what you think of other races in Toledo and around Lucas County. School Board, City Council races, Trustee and Judicial races. Any insight or observations?

7:35 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

I'll get a list of races from the BoE and take a look. I know some about Oregon, where my brother is running for re-election. The Dems are Szollosi, Sheehy, Seaman, Rudess, and a new guy, Paul Lambrecht (I was at his fundraiser last night - nice crowd, smart people helping him, and a from a good family that everyone on Oregon knows. Great candidate.) Incumbent Jeff Keller running for Oregon Municipal Court Judge, with another Dem in race, Lou Kovacs, and an independent(?) Cherrefe Kadri. Keller has an edge with his name ID, Kadri & Kovacs will make it interesting.

There also is a hotshot candidate for School Board there, Jeff Ziviski - a young gun who along with his wife are expecting their first child and has served as leader of the Oregon Democratic Club.

Maumee and Sylvania seem like their are having their traditional kind of muni races, heavy on the incumbents, no real scandals.

Why not cruise over to Lucas County - newly revamped website - to check out our slate of endorsed candidates for Toledo School Board and Municipal Court. More on them later...

8:00 AM  
Anonymous Earl from Ohio said...

I know it's outside Lucas County but there is a wild race for mayor in Perrysburg.

The GOP mayor committed serious financial fraud, quietly sold his residence and split to Florida (where the bankruptcy laws tend to protect crooks from legal claims judgments.)

Hmmmnn... who does that sound like?

Hopefully attorney and council member Tom Mackin can clean things up and restore order.

I don't get it- since when is crime a "conservative value"?

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That does sound like an interesting race.

5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frank, you really spend an awful lot of time trying to convince us that Jack's campaign is so strong and that he can win this race. his money's strong, you say, and everything Carty does is wrong.

Newsflash: the polls don't lie. Jack cannot win. He's running 4th in a 4 man race because the people in this city are tired of the malaise. When things go wrong here, he blames national political figures. When they go right, he tries to take credit.

Question for you, Frank: Are you trying to convince US? Or yourself?

Don't bother answering. We already know.

11:31 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

Mr. Newsflash, I'd love to have you sitting at a poker with me.

9:05 PM  

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