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Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

GOP preparing for U.S. Senate run

It’s been a little more than 100 days since statewide candidates were sworn in to office this year.

But already, the election cycle has started to heat up for the 2012 U.S. Senate election.

Among Republicans potentially considering a run are Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, who was in Eastlake on Wednesday as the keynote speaker for the Lake County GOP’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner.

Mandel, a former state representative and Lyndhurst councilman, has not announced a bid for U.S. Senate next year, but supporters are encouraging him enough that he has formed a committee with the Federal Elections Commission that allows him to raise money for federal office.

The Ohio Democratic Party has taken Mandel’s bid seriously enough that the party on Tuesday sent out a calender to media members that spoofs the state treasurer’s first 100 days in office. The document can be seen at

Former state Sen. Kevin Coughlin, R-Cuyahoga Falls, has also shown interest in the Senate race and has formed a committee.

A relatively unknown GOP candidate named Russell P. “Rusty” Bliss Jr., an airline captain from Willoughby, has also filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission.

What about Cincinnati Republican Ken Blackwell, the former Ohio Secretary of State?

A poll last month of 400 Ohio Republican voters conducted by Public Policy Polling based in North Carolina showed at the time that Blackwell would be the leading Republican candidate in a primary election.

“Blackwell is the favorite of 17 percent of Ohio’s usual Republican primary voters, ahead of Jon Husted’s 14 percent, unlikely candidate Drew Carey’s 12 percent, Mary Taylor’s 9 percent, Jim Jordan’s and Steve LaTourette’s 8 percent, Josh Mandel’s 6 percent, and state Senator Shannon Jones’ 1 percent,” the poll results summary stated.

Whoever wins the GOP primary is all but certain to face incumbent U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Avon who is finishing his first six-year term.

Brown was in Chester Township April 15 at Patterson Fruit Farm as part of a series of roundtable discussions to gather information as legislators begin to prepare the 2012 Farm Bill.

Although his Geauga County visit was not a campaign event, Brown is actively raising money for re-election and had Vice President Joe Biden join him Tuesday in Cleveland for a fundraiser at Progressive Field.


In an earlier column, I speculated that due to anticipated population growth in Lake County, Ohio’s 18th Senate district could change to include Ashtabula County and drop Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties from the district’s boundaries.

However, the 2010 U.S. Census showed that Lake County only grew by about 1.1 percent in the last decade. How might this affect redistricting to be completed in the near future? Perhaps, there won’t be much change after all.

But maybe Geauga County, which grew by 2.74 percent during the last 10 years, stays with Lake County in the Senate district and the eastern Cuyahoga County portion of the district gets bumped out and replaced with northern parts of Portage County? Stay tuned.

n Concord Township Trustee Connie Luhta will host a fundraiser from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Hellriegel’s Inn in Painesville Township. See Chris Galloway, Paul Malchesky or Luhta.

n Willoughby Hills Council President Kevin Malecek: Annual Cinco De Mayo party from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. May 5, Willoughby Hills Community Center. See Katherine Malecek or Nora Colburn.

n Kirtland Councilman Doug Davidson, a candidate for Kirtland mayor: Meet the Candidate Night from 7 to 9 p.m. May 11, Kirtlander Party Center. See Jim Yarborough or Gina Davidson.

n Geauga County Commissioner Mary Samide: Spring buffet fundraiser 4:30 to 7 p.m. May 12 at S.O.S. Inc. in Chardon. See Samide or Jacqueline Moskal.

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Twitter: @newsheraldjah


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