New Print Edition: PA Senate, OH13&18

March 24, 2006 · 4:01 PM EST

The new March 24, 2006 print edition of the Rothenberg Political Report is on its way to subscribers. (Click here for subscription information.)

Pennsylvania Senate: First One to Fall
By Nathan L. Gonzales

There is no presidential race this year, but Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate Race may be the next best thing. Up to this point, the race hasn’t even been close, with state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. (D) leading Sen. Rick Santorum (R) by ten to twelve points in public polling with seven months to go. But nobody is discounting the senator’s tenaciousness or writing him off just yet.

Still, the early shape of the race has created a role reversal. Casey is playing the part of the incumbent, with a relatively sparse schedule of public events, while Santorum attempts to draw him out into a battery of public debates. That’s not a position that most incumbents would relish.

While Santorum is trying to make gains statewide, Casey is trying to shore up his base. Liberal Democrats, concerned about Casey’s pro-life views on abortion, are not enamored with the Democrat’s position on cultural issues, but they have generally seen him as the candidate to defeat Santorum, whom they abhor.

Santorum’s staunch conservative values and leadership position in the Senate would make this a symbolic victory for Democrats nationwide. For now, Santorum is trying to dig himself out of a deep hole. His state is competitive, but the national environment is strongly working against him.

For the rest of the story including the lay of the land and anaylsis of the general election, as well as the Bottom Line..subscribe now.

Ohio 13: Playing Catch-Up

Democratic Cong. Sherrod Brown finally decided to take the Senate plunge, setting up an open seat race in Ohio’s 13th Congressional District. Brown, who was first elected in 1992, is taking on Sen. Mike DeWine (R) in a state where Republicans are reeling.

But Brown’s absence in his district has created a scramble and crowd of candidates. The district leans Democratic, but Republicans are hoping to take advantage of an opportunity if Democrats nominate a candidate with some baggage.

Republicans are lining up behind Lorain Mayor Craig Foltin. On the other side, five Democrats are in the mix for the nomination on May 2: former Cong. Tom Sawyer, former state Rep. Betty Sutton, 2004 14th District nominee Capri Cafaro, Elyria Mayor Bill Grace, and Gary Kucinich (brother of Cleveland-area Cong. Dennis Kucinich).

Sawyer starts with the edge in name identification, while Cafaro holds a financial advantage because of her personal money. But it’s the prospect of a Cafaro nomination that has Republicans eager for the general election.

For the rest of the story including the lay of the land and anaylsis of the Democratic Primary, as well as the Bottom Line..subscribe now.

Ohio 18: Going, Going, Gone?

GOP Cong. Bob Ney is in serious trouble. He has not been indicted like his colleague Tom DeLay, but his reelection prospects are in jeopardy. The ethical questions surrounding Ney and his relationship with lobbyist Jack Abramoff has put the Republican Party at risk of losing Ohio’s 18th Congressional District.

Democrats wanted former state senator Greg DiDonato to run, but he declined. Instead, Chillicothe Mayor Joe Sulzer, Dover Law Director Zack Space, and state board of education member Jennifer Stewart are fighting for the Democratic nomination. The primary is set for May 2.

Filing has past for candidates, and Ney is joined on the primary ballot by financial analyst/farmer James Harris. Ney is expected to win the primary, and if he were to come under indictment or drop out of the race after winning the nomination, filing would re-open and a special primary would take place (only on the GOP side).

By the numbers, this district leans Republican. But with the embattled Ney on the ballot, Democrats have an excellent takeover opportunity.

For the rest of the story including the lay of the land and anaylsis of the Democratic Primary, as well as the Bottom Line..subscribe now.