Ohio’s 7th Senate District: Sen. Jones vs. Michelle Schneider
It looks like a lot of money will be spent on a safe Republican Senate seat:
State Sen. Shannon Jones, R-Springboro, and former state Rep. Michelle Schneider appear headed for a lively Republican primary battle in the 7th Senate District, which includes Warren County and parts of eastern Hamilton County.
Schneider on Wednesday, Jan. 6, took out petitions to put her name on the May 4 ballot against Jones, who was appointed to the seat last August to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Robert Schuler.
“I’m the only candidate who has owned and operated a business for 30 years,” said Schneider, who lives in Indian Hill in Hamilton County and also sought the appointment to fill Schuler’s seat. A former four-term Ohio House member and former mayor and council member in Madeira, Schneider is president and owner of Hillebrand Home Health and owner of Hillebrand Nursing and Rehab Center.
She criticized campaign contributions that Jones took from “interests associated with” Akron-based First Energy. Jones helped to pass major energy legislation when she was in the House in 2008.
“I’m proud of the work I did on the energy bill,” Jones responded. She said that the only “special interests” she represents “are the citizens of Hamilton and Warren counties.”
After the tragic passing of Schuler, I joined many other political observers in incorrectly assuming that Schneider would be appointed to the seat, because of her relationships and her ability to self finance her own campaign. But in the end, the seat was essentially purchased with 15 checks for $10,000 each from First Energy and their leading coal supplier. I suppose there are more polite ways to describe that, but it is still what happened.
Sen. Jones has been a reliable conservative vote, and voted against Ted Strickland’s recent 4.2% retroactive increase in state income taxes. But while Schneider has considerably more business experience, she also voted for a number of large tax increases while Gov. Taft was in office.
BUT, Sen. Jones should not be so quick to brag about the 2008 Strickland-endorsed energy bill. It was sloppy legislation and closed the door to real electricity deregulation and competition, while letting bureaucrats decide what “fair and equitable” rates for electricity are. then-Speaker Husted and others supported the legislation, as not only did local energy interests support it, but so did larger manufactures who are guaranteed below-market electricity prices. And in every end-of-the-year media interview with Gov. Strickland, he bragged about the rereg of electricity as his biggest legislative accomplishment.
No doubt this will be an expensive process- President Harris has already made the rounds to various political consulting firms telling them they will no longer do work for various other candidates if they continue to work for Schneider. Schneider now has already lent her campaign $105,000 and has $204,745 on hand, while Jones reported $250,101 on hand in the last campaign finance report.