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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, August 11, 2012

Blanchard's best shot yet for Congress

Who would have thought last December when U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette filed to run for re-election that he would step down as his party’s nominee?

LaTourette’s candidacy withdrawal still surprises many people, including me, as he kept his decision close to the vest until a day or so before his news conference. There wasn’t even a hint of speculation that the congressman wouldn’t seek re-election.

As of this column’s writing, who would replace LaTourette wasn’t known, as Republican leaders were scheduled to have met Friday. Names like former state Rep. Matt Dolan and Geauga County Prosecutor Dave Joyce were considered frontrunners.

But more than a few potential candidates had to be prepared for a potentially life-changing decision. Some thought long and hard about a run for Congress, but decided not to throw their hat into the ring.

Eventually around 20 people expressed an interest in the position that if selected would create a flurry of activity as the Nov. 6 election is only 84 days away.

Running for Congress isn’t like running for a county, municipal or township position. There are seven counties in the 14th Congressional District and with so little time, it makes it tougher for candidates to get their message out to voters.

This race, however, should now attract previously unexpected media coverage of the online, print and broadcast variety so that will help the candidates.

The Republican Party’s nominee likely will be considered the favorite in November, but it’s not necessarily a slam-dunk.

Solon Democrat Dale Virgil Blanchard was unopposed as his party’s nominee and has run for this seat every two years since 2000. He won the party’s nomination in 2000, 2002, and 2012.

During those campaigns, Blanchard has never raised or spent much, if any, money. Yet, he always attended candidate events, filled out questionnaires and did whatever he could to be a responsible candidate. Because of this and other previous appearances on the ballot, some voters might remember his name this November.

When I saw Blanchard in July he said he continued to run for Congress each time because he wanted to give voters a choice especially if there was a scenario when LaTourette wasn’t on the ballot.

Now Blanchard has his best opportunity so far and he’s energized and ready to make a run. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has tried to talk Blanchard into stepping down, but as of this writing he hadn’t.

I don’t blame him.

Why should he?

Does he really owe it to the Democratic Party, which after 12 years provided little or no financial support? I’ll be curious to see if this time he raises and spends money on this campaign.

Blanchard won’t have an easy time winning against the Republican Party’s candidate, but this might be his best shot yet. Could he win or make it close?

Deadlines and blessings

The weekly deadline for people who wish to submit information to appear in this column is each Wednesday at 5 p.m. Email, fax or mail is preferred.

Candidates who would like to submit written lists of endorsements for the Nov. 6 election may do so and they will be published online only until Nov. 5 at Please note, these are not endorsements by The News-Herald.


n Summer Cookout Fundraiser for Ann Radcliffe, candidate for Lake County Recorder, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 21 at Deekers Sidetracks in Mentor. See Terri Conley.

n Seventh annual steak roast for Lorraine Fende, candidate for Lake County Treasurer, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 28 at Wickliffe Italian American Club. See Diane Fox or Nick Cindric.

n Fourth annual Labor Day Picnic for Wickliffe Mayor Bill Margalis, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Aug. 31 at Wickliffe Italian American Club Picnic Pavalion. See Sue Margalis.

n Fundraiser for state Rep. Casey Kozlowski, candidate for Ohio House of Representatives District 99, 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 8 at the home of Tom and Melissa Pope in Saybrook Township. See Kozlowski.

John Arthur Hutchison
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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