OH-15: Cook Report “Kilroy does not possess particularly strong candidate skills”
From The Cook Report:
OH-15: Mary Jo Kilroy (D) – Central: western Columbus and suburbs
Toss Up. Kilroy’s very narrow win over GOP state Sen. Steve Stivers last year was anything but impressive. At a time when President Obama was winning 54 percent of the vote here, Kilroy barely crossed the finish line with 46 percent of the vote, besting Stivers and two minor candidates who shared nine percent. Just as in 2006, when Kilroy lost narrowly to GOP Rep. Deb Pryce, this district hosted an extremely contentious campaign in which Kilroy’s ties to unions and stewardship of local taxes and a stadium project as a Franklin County commissioner became major issues.
Democrats sought to capitalize on the economy’s center-stage role in 2008 by tagging Stivers as an out-of-touch bank lobbyist, but Republicans added to Kilroy’s baggage from the 2006 race by pointing to a decades-old French socialist documentary in which Kilroy had appeared. National Democrats outspent their GOP counterparts $2.1 million to $941,000 in blistering ads. It was the Obama campaign’s role in driving up student turnout at Ohio State University, however, that put Kilroy over the top.
Right now, the upcoming rematch between Kilroy and Stivers looks like the most exciting race in the Buckeye State, even if it is once again the nastiest. Stivers will have a Congressional voting record to attack, and Republicans are unlikely to face as much of a cash deficit next year. This is a heavily suburban district where President Obama’s positions on climate change and healthcare aren’t particularly toxic. But, Kilroy does not possess particularly strong candidate skills, and even the slightest change in direction of the political winds could change the 2008 result. This race begins as a Toss Up.