Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Race to Replace Sherrod

With U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Elyria) having formally announced his candidacy for US Senate (see below), the race to replace Brown in the House has already begun.

Analysis: Brown currently holds the 13th Ohio Congressional district, which is essentially a seat gerrymandered to be overwhelmingly Democratic. The district streteches from the shores of Lake Erie in Lorain south to Medina and finally east into the heart of Akron. The two largest metropolitan areas of the district are Lorain and Akron, with Akron having the edge in population. There are Republican portions to the district, especially the I-71 corridor. Strongsville, Medina, Brecksville, and Brunswick are quickly becoming upper-middle class Cleveland suburbs that are definitely trending GOP more and more. Brown is a Lorain native (now living in the suburb of Elyria) and has avoided a contentious primary with courting the Akron labor union crowd and voting much in line with the blue collar tilt of the district.

Akron and Lorain are nearly an hour away from one another but their blue collar Democratic politics are nearly identical. But in a Democratic primary where candidates largely agree on the issues, name recoginition will be the key. Former Akron Mayor and US Rep. Tom Sawyer has already thrown his hat in the ring and announced his intent to run for the seat. Another Akron Democratic bigwig, Former St. Rep. and current Chairman of the Summit County Board of Elections Wayne Jones is also considering the race. If both these candidates run, the Akron vote will effectively be split and open the way for a Lorain-based candidate to win a three-way primary fight. For now, the Lorain standard bearer appears to be Lorain County Commissioner Ted Kalo. Rep. Steve LaTourette's (R-Madison-on-the-Lake) 2004 challenger, Capri Cafaro, is also considering a run but her effect would be marginal at best. She is not from the district, being a Youngstown resident and would not have the name reciginition to equal Akron and Lorain pols. With the current field of candidates, the edge should be with Kalo.

Capri Cafaro Tom Sawyer Ted Kalo


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