Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Is Mayor O'Grady a Plant?

One of the dirtiest (and most brilliant) tricks often employed by the Richard Daley machine in Chicago was to plant candidates in primaries where a rising challenger was threatening the political career of an incumbent officeholder who was allied with Daley.

Could this dirty tactic be finding its way into Cleveland politics?

Cue North Olmsted Mayor Thomas O'Grady.

O'Grady is a Democratic primary candidate for the Congressional seat currently held by Dennis Kucinich.

Kucinich had to drop his (second) wild-eyed Presidential campaign and come back to Cleveland to beat back the credible challenge currently being waged by Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman.

There are 5 candidates in the race to the Democratic nominee for Oh-10: Kucinich, Cimperman, Barbara Anne Ferris, Rosemary Palmer, and O'Grady.

Palmer was the first to announce her candidacy, partially inspired to run after the tragic death of her son in Iraq.

Ferris is a perennial candidate who has made a recent career of running for Congress in this district.

Cimperman is the credible challenger to the longtime incumbent who is relatively young and ambitious--and smelled blood in the water while Kucinich was criss-crossing the USA in hopes of becoming President (gag me).

And O'Grady is a little-known suburban mayor who was late to the game.

So why is O'Grady running? He and everyone else knows he has no chance of winning the primary. No one outside his hometown of North Olmsted even knows who he is. And he has no money to spend to close that gap. Through the last quarter of 2007, he's only collected funds from 22 people!

And in the recent candidates' debate, O'Grady took very few jabs at Kucinich. Nearly all of his time was spent talking up his international experience and military career, ad naseum. Admirable, certainly, but not the things winning campaigns are made of.

O'Grady's campaign web site is a very simple endeavor that is noticeably thin on details--especially for a man who seemed to like talking at the debate. The issues on his web site are jobs, health care, education, being a military career officer (?), and restoring the American dream (what a courageous platform!). Each of these issues is given a small paragraph of explanation without details such as policy ideas or--say--possible legislation he would introduce as a member of Congress.

Not that Cimperman or even Kucinich lay out the intricacies of rising health care plans in a detailed presentation or anything. But O'Grady's campaign web site could be whipped up in a matter of minutes.

O'Grady smells like a plant but no one can ever be sure.

One thing is for certain, O'Grady will definitely help split up the anti-incumbent (Kucinich) vote.

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