HARDBALL IN OHIO & THE LOST BALLOTS
Democrats May Lose Big with Brunner Senate Bid
Ohio election politics now rival the political hardball of Texas, Illinois, and Florida at their best. As a result, the state's Democratic Party may once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the 2010 election cycle. Through a bid for the open United States Senate seat, the self described election reform Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner puts two critical goals of Ohio Democrats at risk.
The first is the Senate seat held since 1999 by Republican George V. Voinovich who announced plans to retire at the end of his term this January. This provided a short-lived advantage for a unified Senate candidacy by Democrats. But the unity ended when the candidacy of Lt. Governor Lee Fisher, the party favorite, was challenged by Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner.
Election 2008 turned the tables on Ohio Republicans. President Obama's 51 - 48% win inverted the questionable 2004 outcome, the Bush 51% to 49% "win" over Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). Obama not only reversed the 2004 results, his 2.9 million vote total is the highest ever in Ohio, a state with static population growth since 2000.
The Brunner candidacy threatens an Ohio Senate win by Democrats in 2010.
The absence of a contested primary is always preferred by either party. Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D) has the solid endorsement of top Ohio Democrat Gov. Ted Strickland. Strickland and Fisher ran as a team to defeat the Republican Governor-Lt. Governor ticket 60% to 35%.
Brunner will divide the party in the primary election. Those costs and efforts will reduce money for the general election.
Ohio currently has 18 members of Congress, with a ten to eight advantage for Democrats. Had Brunner chosen to run for re-election as Secretary of State, Democrats would have been virtually guaranteed an advantage on the state Apportionment Board. With her departure, control of the three member board would be up for grabs should Republicans win the Secretary of State contest.
Brunner offers up a slow pitch for any future opponent by holding onto her office as the chief elections official of Ohio. She'll be running in a primary and general election (if she wins the primary then resigns) that she's preparing for right now as the chief elections official. Former Republican Secretary of State Blackwell was severely criticized for massive conflict of interest when he did the same thing in 2006.
Brunner's Record as Secretary of State and the Lost Ballots
Jennifer Brunner was a local judge before running for Ohio Secretary of State. She ran for and won that office as a Democrat in 2006, part of a sweep of state executive offices for the Democrats. She replaced J. Kenneth Blackwell, the most controversial Secretary of State in any state for decades. The resolutely partisan Blackwell ignored multiple warnings that helped create a catastrophe in the 2004 presidential election. This is well documented as was the pattern of election fraud throughout the country.
Brunner's qualifications for the United States Senate seat depend largely on her record as Secretary of State. How did she do?