I had no idea how personal this heated primary was:
When [Sen. Shannon] Jones, a former aide to once-and-possibly-future Republican Congressman Steve Chabot, was elected state representative in her Warren County district in November 2006, [Michelle] Schneider, who represented a district that straddled Hamilton and Warren counties, invited Jones to room with her during the legislative sessions in a house Schneider owned in Columbus’ German Village.
The two lived together in Columbus when the legislature was in session for the full term, which was to be Schneider’s last under Ohio’s “eight years and out” term-limits law.
The districts of both Jones and Schneider were in the 7th Ohio Senate District, which includes all of Warren County and all of the northeast and eastern suburbs of Hamilton County.
It was a seat held by Robert Schuler, a Republican from Sycamore Township. Term limits would have prevented Schuler from running for re-election this year, and Schneider had planned to be his successor. It appeared to be inevitable in the heavily Republican district – Schneider had Schuler’s blessing, and encouragement from most of the Republican leadership in Hamilton County.
Then, last June, Schuler died after a long battle with cancer.
The approximately 330,000 people of the 7th District were left temporarily without a voice in the Ohio Senate. The Republican majority caucus had the power to make an appointment to fill out Schuler’s term.
But Schneider said that, before Schuler’s death, Jones called her to say that she planned to run for the 7th District seat in 2010.
“She knew about my plans; everybody did,” Schneider said. “She just didn’t care.”
Later, Schneider said, Jones called her to say that she probably should move out of Schneider’s house in Columbus if the two were to be political opponents.
“Yes, you probably should,” Schneider replied.
Ultimately, the the seat was given to Jones, probably because she raised $170,000 from employees of northwest Ohio Public utility First Energy Corp and its coal supplier.
But, even though the Senate leadership probably didn’t take ideology into consideration, with Shannon Jones they ended up with perhaps the most visible, fire-breathing conservative the Senate has! And Schneider was part of corrupt former Speaker Larry Householder’s “broad squad” and voted for former Gov. Bob Taft’s massive tax increases. The choice between the two should be a no brainer for Republican primary voters.
However, I wish candidates would stop promoting United Conservatives of Ohio group:
“Am I guilty of raising some taxes?” Schneider said. “Yes, I am. Do I wish I could have some of those votes back? Yes.”
She pointed to a Jones mail piece that criticizes her voting record and shows a picture of a “Watchdog of the Treasury” award Jones received from the United Conservatives of Ohio.
“I have that same award,” Schneider said. “I am and always have been a fiscal conservative.”