Suddes: Ohio House Republicans Set to Win Back Majority
Here is the fascinating break down:
The second House leader to beat the map was Budish – in 2008, with help from Barack Obama’s coattails. But Obama’s coattails are frayed. That, plus GOP-drawn districts, plus voters’ anger at incumbents, make November perilous for Democrats. So, after running the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association’s outstanding election stats by a calculator, here’s a prospectus:
“Open” districts – whose incumbents aren’t seeking re-election – are low-hanging fruit. Democrats, for instance, could potentially grab Franklin County’s 21st District (vacated by GOP Rep. Kevin Bacon, to run for the Senate); Obama did better in the 21st than he did statewide.
If Democrats capture the 21st, that would give Budish one more House seat, Batchelder one fewer. But there are three “open” Democratic districts (one held by a mid-term appointee) that John McCain carried in 2008 and George W. Bush carried in 2004: The 89th (Speaker Riffe’s Scioto County district); the 93rd (the Marietta area); and the 96th (Harrison County, plus parts of Belmont and Tuscarawas).
Republicans last held Riffe’s district in 1958; it’s hard to imagine the GOP capturing it now. But if Batchelder’s Republicans won the two other open Democratic districts, that’d prune Budish’s (theoretical) 54 House seats to 52.
Assuming Springfield Republican Ross McGregor holds on (Obama carried McGregor’s district by 2,171 votes, while McGregor won re-election by 533 votes) the Ohio House’s remaining Republicans seem safe. So Batchelder would have to pry at least three seats from Democrats (to be safe, more) to push Budish’s caucus count below 50. Likeliest GOP targets:
• Five districts among those Budish won from Republicans in 2008. They’re held by Democratic Reps. Marian Harris of Columbus (hers was once the seat of Republican then-Speaker Jo Ann Davidson of Reynoldsburg); Mike Moran of Hudson; Connie Pillich of Cincinnati; Raymond Pryor of Chillicothe; and Mark A. Schneider of Mentor.
• One district Democrats narrowly carried in 2008, held by Rep. Matt Patten of Strongsville. He won by 957 votes; Obama’s district margin was 320 votes. House Democrats could countermove, though, against Republican Rep. Nan Baker of nearby Westlake; she won by 1,123 votes.
• Districts McCain won in 2008 but which re-elected Democratic Reps. Stephen Dyer of Green and Dan Dodd of Hebron. Dyer and Dodd won comfortably. But it’s also notable that Republican State Auditor Mary Taylor once represented Dyer’s district, and Republican former House Speaker Larry Householder, of Perry County, once represented Dodd’s.
Seat-counts aside, Republicans need to be careful what they wish for. Given voters’ rage, the officeholders who run Ohio in 2011 and 2012 will have to get it right the first time – or, like so many other Ohioans, figure on filing for unemployment.
Also, Karl Rove’s election map about changes in state legislatures shows a strong trend toward Republicans across the country in general, with Ohio being a potential flip.
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