Ohio plays key role in battle for Congress

Published: Saturday, September 15, 2012 @ 10:27 PM
Updated: Saturday, September 15, 2012 @ 10:27 PM

Local congressional races

District 10

District profile: All of Montgomery and Greene counties, northern Fayette County

Candidates: U.S. Rep. Mike Turner is running for his sixth term. His challenger is Democrat Sharen Neuhardt, a Greene County attorney. Libertarian David A. Harlow is also on the ballot.

Debate: WHIO-TV Channel 7, the Dayton Daily News and Newstalkradio WHIO are teaming up to host a debate in this race on Oct. 21. More details to come.

District 1

District profile: All of Warren County, part of Hamilton County. Warren was previously represented by Turner and Jean Schmidt. After the 2010 redistricting, all of Warren County was put in one district.

Candidates: U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Cincinnati, is running for his eighth non-consecutive term. His Democratic opponent is Jeff Sinnard. The Green Party candidate is Rich Stevenson and the Libertarian candidate is Jim Berns.

District 4

District profile: One of the largest districts in the state. Includes all or parts of 13 counties including Champaign, Shelby, Auglaize and Logan.

Candidates: U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, chair of the Republican Study Committee, is running for his fourth term. His Democratic opponent is Jim Slone of Elyria. Libertarian Chris Kalla of Lima is also on the ballot.

District 8

District profile: All of Butler, Preble, Darke, Miami and Clark counties and part of Mercer County. Clark was previously represented by U.S. Rep. Steve Austria who decided not to run again after redistricting.

Candidates: Speaker of the House John Boehner is running unopposed in November.

Two years after Republicans swept away four Ohio Democratic incumbents and seized control of the U.S. House, Democrats are hoping to win back at least three seats this November, which would give the party control of seven of 16 congressional districts.

The party is also hoping Democrat Sharen Neuhardt somehow manages to defeat incumbent Rep. Mike Turner, R-Centerville, in the new 10th district which represents all of Montgomery and Greene counties and part of Fayette.

Just as Ohio figures into the presidential race, it has a key role in the battle over which party controls Congress. Although it may be difficult for the Democrats nationally to win the 25 seats necessary to topple House Speaker John Boehner, R-West Chester Twp., they are poised to spend millions of dollars in an effort to oust Republican incumbents Jim Renacci of Wadsworth and Bill Johnson of Marietta.

They also believe they have a chance to defeat Republican Bob Gibbs of Lakeville, particularly if President Barack Obama rolls up a strong victory in Ohio over Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Boehner is unopposed and Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, and Steve Chabot, R-Cincinnati, are expected to win easily. Turner, too, is a heavy favorite, but Neuhardt has launched a spirited challenge, unveiling her first television commercial last week.

Former Democratic congressman Zack Space of Dover said three of the races “are competitive and the Neuhardt-Turner race could be competitive. If the Montgomery County vote comes in, Sharon Neuhardt has a shot,’’ Space said.

To Republicans, the Democrats are engaging in wishful thinking. Barry Bennett, a Republican consultant in Washington, said Democrats are “still smoking the funny stuff from Charlotte. If they spend a dime in Ohio, it’s wasted money. So spend all you want.’’

It will be the first time candidates have run in the new districts drawn up last year by the Republican-controlled legislature. Because Ohio’s population has not grown as fast as many southern states, the legislature had to eliminate two seats, giving the state just 16.

Based on voting patterns in past elections, Republicans hold the edge in 12 of those districts, including in the 10th.

Turner, elected to the House in 2002, rolled up comfortable re-election victories in his old district, which included parts of Montgomery and Warren counties and all of Highland and Clinton counties. During the last round of redistricting, Ohio Republicans folded Turner into the same district as Rep. Steve Austria, R-Beavercreek. When Austria chose not to seek re-election, Turner’s GOP nomination was assured.

“Southwest Ohio knows my record of fighting for Wright-Patt, growing new and innovative jobs in the region and as being a leader,” Turner said in a released statement. “When I travel throughout the community I hear directly from voters that they believe our government needs to focus on reining in spending and on job creation. My work and experience are focused on the issues important to our community.”

Neuhardt, an attorney from Yellow Springs, hopes to mount a stern challenge. She lost to Austria by 16 percentage points in 2008, but Austria’s old district was much more Republican than the new Dayton-area district.

She has about $200,000 in campaign money to finance her race and is airing a biographical commercial on Dayton TV stations. Michael McGovern, a Neuhardt spokesman, said that “we’re excited to be up and introducing Sharen to voters in the Miami Valley. We’ve had the resources to run this campaign.’’

Unless the Turner-Neuhardt race gets close, Ohio’s most spirited battle will probably be in northeast Ohio between two incumbents — Renacci and Democrat Betty Sutton of Copley Twp. When Ohio Republicans eliminated Sutton’s district, she opted to challenge Renacci, a first-term Republican elected in the 2010 sweep.

They are deeply divided on the same issues that have created such a furor in the presidential race. Sutton voted for the $787 billion economic stimulus package in 2009 that Renacci said “drove up our debt.’’

Federal appeals court keeps Trump travel and refugee order on hold

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 2:37 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 2:37 PM

In another legal setback for President Donald Trump, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals refused on Thursday to lift an injunction against his revised travel and refugee order, preventing the White House from suspending new visas for people from six Muslim-majority countries, as this decision took another step on the way to a likely showdown on the matter at the U.S. Supreme Court.

As in earlier rulings, the judges cited the President’s own words calling for a “Muslim ban,” ruling that the order was basically an effort to target “Muslims for exclusion from the United States.”

“These statements, taken together, provide direct specific evidence” of what spurred the executive orders, the court’s majority wrote in a 202 page decision.

“President Trump’s desire to exclude Muslims from the United States,” the opinion read.

Not only did the ruling quote Mr. Trump, but also some of his top aides and advisers, like White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, and others.

The judges rejected an argument by the Trump Administration that the order was done in the name of national security, saying the record shows Mr. Trump belatedly consulted agencies that deal with that matter, and only after his first travel order had been derailed in the courts.

The President’s order would impact people coming into the United States from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – Iraq had been on the original order, but was taken off when that first plan was revised.

The ruling was the first of two from federal appellate courts – the Ninth Circuit also must pass judgment on the plan.

“The Muslim ban continues to be 100% blocked from going into effect nationwide, by an overwhelming vote,” said lawyer Neal Katyal, who argued this same issue before the Ninth Circuit for the state of Hawaii.

Kasich wants ‘voice’ in 2020; tunes it up now with book, West Palm talk

Published: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 @ 2:15 PM


            Ohio Gov. John Kasich in Orlando for the Republican Party of Florida’s Sunshine Summit in November 2015. (George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who was the last Republican standing against Donald Trump in 2016 and refused to endorse him in the general election, says in a new book that it’s time for “thinking, feeling Americans to come together in support of the Trump administration.”

But Kasich — who will appear in West Palm Beach at a Forum Club of the Palm Beaches lunch on Friday to promote the book — also writes that Trump won’t get a “free pass.”

The book is titled Two Paths: America Divided or United, and Kasich spoke to The Palm Beach Post this week about it and his upcoming speech, as well as his 2016 presidential run and 2020 plans, such as they are.

“I have no clue what I’m doing in 2020,” said Kasich, who faces term limits as Ohio governor in January 2019. “I’m wondering what I’m going to be doing in the next 20 minutes. I don’t know. I really don’t. I’d like to have a voice, whether it’s through public office or whether it’s not. I think that’s going to be left to a higher power than me.”

Trump orders investigation of leaks related to Manchester terror attack

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 10:59 AM
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 11:00 AM

After an outcry from the British government, President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered an internal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, to find out who leaked information about the probe into this week’s terrorist attack in England, saying those responsible for the leaks should be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

“The alleged leaks coming out of government agencies are deeply troubling,” the President said in a statement issued in Belgium, his latest stop on a nine day overseas trip.

“These leaks have been going on for a long time and my Administration will get to the bottom of this. The leaks of sensitive information pose a grave threat to our national security,” Mr. Trump added.

Mr. Trump, who has voiced his frustration with intelligence leaks throughout his first four months in office, made clear he wants to find the source of the leak, as photos of evidence from the scene made their way on to the front page of the New York Times, angering British investigators.

“I am asking the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to launch a complete review of this matter, and if appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” the President said.

“There is no relationship we cherish more than the Special Relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom,” Mr. Trump added in his statement.

Earlier in the day, the President did not answer questions from reporters about the leak, which involved forensic evidence from the bombing scene.

After CBO, what’s next on GOP health care plan in Congress

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 4:15 AM
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 4:15 AM

Now that the Congressional Budget Office has weighed in on a House-passed GOP health care bill, Republicans must still do a lot of work to not only forge a plan in the Senate, but also figure out how to get it to the President’s desk for his signature.

The CBO report found the revised GOP plan, which was approved earlier this month, would save $119 billion over ten years, and would result in 23 million fewer people having health insurance by 2026, than under Obamacare.

The report also raised questions about coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, and found that low income Americans between ages 50 to 64 would be hit with large price hikes.

Here’s where we stand on GOP efforts to overhaul the Obama health law:

1. Senate Republicans still searching for a deal. The CBO score didn’t change anything for Republicans, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday that he’s still looking for fifty votes to advance a health care plan in the Senate. GOP Senators have been talking regularly behind closed doors, floating a variety of plans, but they don’t seem to be near an agreement. Complicating matters is that Republicans can only lose two votes and keep things on track.

2. For now, it’s only Republicans at the table. While there have been some bipartisan meetings, the official GOP effort is not reaching across the aisle on health care. Senate Majority Leader McConnell has made that clear that he is not interested in bringing Democrats aboard to cut a health care deal, arguing that they won’t even acknowledge the problems that exist in Obamacare right now. Again, with such a small margin for error, not having any Democratic votes make life difficult for the GOP.

3. There still is the option of not passing anything. Senate GOP leaders have indicated to reporters that a vote will occur in coming months, even if that plan gets rejected by the Senate. That could result in something that President Trump had floated months ago, just letting troubles mount in the Obamacare system until it creates enough blowback from the public to force action in the Congress. Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) yesterday raised that as a possibility.

4. It’s easier to be against than for something on health care. Democrats have been much more organized in recent weeks in terms of arguing against GOP plans, while Republicans have struggled to forge a unified public message for their health care overhaul effort. It is the exact opposite of where we were for the last seven years, when Republicans were the ones taking pot shots at the Obama health law, and Democrats were acting skittish. And even the poll numbers have flipped as well – this is a Fox News poll:

5. $1,000 a month for maternity coverage? In its report, the Congressional Budget Office said if states decide to allow for lower cost plans that have less coverage, then people should expect extras, like maternity coverage, would not be cheap. “Insurers would expect most purchasers to use the benefits and would therefore price that rider at close to the average cost of maternity coverage, which could be more than $1,000 per month,” the CBO wrote. Let’s just say that example didn’t play too well with female Democrats in the Congress

6. Who are the 23 million more who won’t have coverage?This is an interesting figure from the CBO, because it is immediately challenged by opponents of Obamacare, who argue that people should have the right to *not* buy health insurance, and that most of those going without insurance will fall into that category. But that’s not what the CBO found. The report says 14 million people who are currently covered by Medicaid would go uninsured – presumably because they couldn’t afford insurance. Another six million would stop having coverage with changes in the state and federal exchanges.

7. Will health care derail a GOP seat in Montana? A few hours after the CBO report was issued on the House-passed health plan, the story turned into a WWE event, as a reporter claimed a Montana Republican candidate for Congress body slammed him after being asked about the CBO numbers. We’ll see if the dispute causes any aftershocks at the polls in the Big Sky State tonight.

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