For personal reasons, Matthew Barrett resigned as state representative in Ohio’s 58th House District. It would not have been easy for Matt Barrett to win re-election anyway. He was living on borrowed time because he was a Democrat occupying a Republican seat.
I’m sure ODP Chair Chris Redfern was counting on holding that seat in his master plan for Democrats to capture the Ohio House of Representatives, so the Democrats not only lose the 58th, but they lose their opportunity to capture the lower chamber of the General Assembly.
I’m going to go out on a limb here (OK, it’s not really a limb, I’m hugging the trunk of the tree with my feet firmly planted on the roots) and predict that former Huron County Commissioner Terry Boose wins the 58th House seat for the GOP this November, and squashes the Dems attempt at a takeover of the House.
How much money is the ODP willing to spend on retaining the seat? A bunch? That’ll be good, because that means that money that could have been distributed to other candidates will be eaten up in a failing effort.
So far, the Democrats have a list of names for a replacement that is so short, they are going to have to lengthen it.
First on the list is former state rep and current Ohio Lottery Deputy Director, G. Daniel Metelsky. I didn’t know that Metelsky had moved into the 58th District. If he hasn’t moved there, then, that nips that idea in the bud. If he has moved there, I’d have to point out that. though he was a former state rep, he didn’t represent a district with THESE demographics. He represented a district that was roughly analogous to the current 56th District (which was where he was living when he ran for the Democrat Party State Central Committee seat in 2004), which stretches from Lorain to Oberlin. with a Democrat Index of about 70%. The Democrat index of the 58th District is probably about 44%. Metelsky’s name recognition would only help him in the northernmost finger of the district that shoots up from Amherst into the Lorain County side of Vermilion on Lake Erie’s shore. Half the voters live in Huron County, and they have no knowledge of Metelsky. When they learn that Metelsky was a Democrat that used to represent Lorain and Oberlin, they’ll by turned off. He won’t get the Ohio Right-to-Life or NRA endorsements that Barrett had, and needed, to eke out a narrow win over a lackluster opponent during the 2006 election year that proved disastrous for the GOP statewide. Terry Boose doesn’t have as high an undesirable rating as the 2006 GOP candidate did. Boose also has greater name recognition, as the 2006 GOP candidate was making his first run for public office. Metelsky’s position with the Ohio Lottery Commission won’t help him, either. Gambling is unpopular in the 58th District.
I suppose, if he’s a 58th District resident now, it wouldn’t hurt to appoint Metelsky to the seat so long as Metelsky is given an assurance that he can be appointed back to the Ohio Lottery after he loses in November. There’s no other Dem that will win the seat, and any other Dem would have to start looking for a new job just as soon as they fill Barrett’s seat, because they won’t win the election.
Another name bandied about was Norwalk Mayor Sue Lesch. She wouldn’t want the job. She can get re-elected too easily where she’s at. If anything, get a former office holder to take the state rep seat, not a current one who has a lot more job security. Besides, Lorain County Democrat Party Chairman Tom Smith apparently isn’t interested in a woman taking the seat. The Morning Journal quotes him thus: ‘We want someone who is bright, sharp, intelligent, hungry for the job and has his family behind him.” Note the pronouns?
A third name bandied about was Huron County Auditor Roland Tkach, who won the auditor election during the Democrat high tide of 2006, so he can stay in office until at least 2010, and earn a higher salary as auditor than he could as state rep even if he DID win in November. But he wouldn’t win in November. But either way, there’s no way he could be better off by taking the state rep job. It doesn’t surprise me that the Morning Journal reports that Tkach isn’t interested.
If the Dems really want their best shot at winning, they should see if their 2002 nominee, Ken Bailey, is still a voter in the district. Bailey already garnered name recognition his first time out when he was running against a current (at the time) multi-term winning county officeholder, and he already knows the district well. Bailey also can get the necessary Ohio Right-to-Life and NRA endorsements. Last time he ran, Bailey was still in high school. Now he’d be prime-time. If he’s available, that’s who’d be the Dems best bet against Boose.
But I think the GOP has already won.