Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Political Danger for the GOP in Ohio [link]

According to a report this morning in the Columbus Dispatch, Dems in Ohio are making a major push to match Rep GOTV. And Rep volunteers are finding an electorate that is surly, fatigued, and unhappy.
This year, the Republicans have the same machinery in place that has delivered victory after victory in Ohio. But, privately, GOP officials worry that some of their most loyal voters might stay home.

A Franklin County Republican who has campaigned door-to-door observed, "There is a fatigue among Republicans. It’s going be a real test of our (turnout) ability, let’s put it that way."
This could spell danger for Republican office holders in Columbus and in DC.
Two years ago, a skilled Democratic get-out-the-vote operation enabled Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry to defeat Bush by a staggering 226,000 votes in Cuyahoga County — usually enough to win the state.

But Bush won the state — and the presidency — because Republicans’ "72-hour plan" turned out huge percentages of voters in numerous smaller, more-Republican counties. In some precincts, turnout topped an unheardof 90 percent, and Bush reaped a large majority of those votes.

"We recognize that the Republican machine is very good at this," said Lee Fisher, the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor. But he said his party’s operation is "better than what we did two years ago, although we did very well two years ago. The difference is that we’re not only going to be turning out in urban areas, we’re turning out in every county in the state."

Carlos Todd, a former Butler County GOP chairman who is close to the party’s conservative religious base, acknowledged that many conservatives have been "somewhat complacent and maybe a little disgusted with some of the things that have happened with the (Republican) party." But he predicted religious conservatives will turn out.

"They can’t live with the consequences if they don’t," Todd said.

Libby Cupp of Allen County, whose husband, Robert, is running for the Ohio Supreme Court, also has sensed a change. When she telephoned likely Republican voters in early October from a phone bank in Lima, people either hung up or tersely said, "Well, if it’s short, I’ll answer a question."

During the past two weeks, though, Cupp said she has received a warmer reception and senses a change in GOP attitudes.

Still, Democrats and their allies are almost giddy.
Of course, as always, the Dems have THEIR source of "volunteer" labor (if you can call paid employees of a tax exempt organization "volunteers").
As Pryce walked through Upper Arlington on Sunday, an organized-labor phone bank just a couple of miles away hummed with activity. Tucked in the basement of the Service Employees International Union local on Dublin Road, it can accommodate 48 callers. Volunteers from unions and Democratic campaigns such as that of Pryce’s opponent, Mary Jo Kilroy, can make thousands of calls daily.

Todd Hornyak, a letter carrier and union member from Hilliard who has spent hours in that basement, said about 80 percent of the union members he has telephoned pledged to support union-endorsed candidates — Kilroy, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ted Strickland, Democratic Senate hopeful Sherrod Brown.

"It’s the economy and the war," he said.

During the final four days of the campaign, the AFL-CIO will focus on 500,000 Ohio union members who voted in the 2004 election but not in 2002. The labor organization says it will make 1 million telephone calls and knock on 280,000 doors. The Ohio Democratic Party says it will have its own 20,000 volunteers contacting 1.9 million households.
Where would the Dems be without organized labor to give them money and a source of people to knock on doors and man the phone banks. Paid for by union dues (including MINE...curse curse).

Ohio is a political disaster right now. A few nights ago I got a call from a former office holder asking if I could work door-to-door. I had to say "no" because I am a classified civil servant. We had a long talk anyways. It's nice to know that I still rank high enough to get a call from a former state rep instead of just some ordinary phone bank volunteer.

But it was not a happy call. I was glad to hear from Bill, but he did not have much happy news to give me. He said that there would be little joy for Republicans running statewide in Ohio.

I guess we will find out in less than a week.


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