Thursday, February 01, 2007

OH Senate 28: Keiper Is Out.

As most of you know, Sen. Zurz was tapped by Strickland to head up the Department of Commerce. From the ABJ:

    Portage County Commissioner Chuck Keiper withdrew his name from consideration to replace Kimberly Zurz in the Ohio Senate on Wednesday, stating he wants to devote more time to his ailing mother.

    Keiper was considered a front-runner for the appointment, but the Portage County Democratic Party voted Wednesday evening instead to recommend state Rep. Kathleen Chandler, D-Kent.

    The Senate District covers all of Portage County, southern Summit County and the east side of Akron.
So who, besides Chandler, is in the running?

    The party is expected to consider a number of experienced politicians, including State Board of Education member Tom Sawyer, a former Akron mayor and state and federal lawmaker, as well as state Rep. Vernon Sykes, D-Akron.

    County Councilwoman Paula Prentice is also on the list along with Eric Mansfield, a WKYC-TV reporter.

    Russ Pry, the Summit County Democratic Party chairman, said Sawyer, Sykes and Prentice have expressed interest in the appointment, and Sykes would give him a final decision today.
What about the speculation that it was Portage County’s turn to pick a nominee?
    Pry said the agreement between the two counties is not a certainty because the decision will be based on fielding the candidate with the highest name recognition who can raise the most money.

    * * *

    Wayne Jones, former state representative and Summit County Democratic Party chairman, said there was an agreement to defer to Portage County while Keiper was seeking the appointment, but that is no longer the case.
A couple notes on this that I’ve posted in comments on Psychobilly as this story unfolded. During the redistricting of 2000, the district got slanted more toward Summit Co. In 2000 about 48% of the votes came from Portage; in 2004 it was down to 44%.

I had a conversation with Sen. Kim Zurz at a fundraiser. She said the Reapportionment Board had attempted to make the 28th more of a swing district. Among other things they pulled in more of the independent-heavy precincts from South Akron, not knowing that Zurz is a native Akronite.

All that gives more juice to those pushing for a SummitCo. candidate, though many of the parts of Summit in the district are among those most like Portage Co.

Finally, you may not know it, but Sen. Zurz briefly tried her hand at blogging, which may make her the first Ohio legislator to do so.


derek said...

So, why is Ms. Zurz being replaced?

Scott Piepho said...

Oops, I should have reiterated that.

She's being appointed Head of the Department of Commerce.

Anonymous said...

". . . the decision will be based on fielding the candidate with the highest name recognition who can raise the most money."

Both political parties make appointments in this fashion, and I hate it.

The selection process goes something like this:

"So what does so-and-so bring to the table if selected? Ideas? A fresh approach? A track record of accomplishing things in office?"

"Name recognition and fundraising ability."

"Works for me."

It's yet another manifestation of pay-to-play.

Scott Piepho said...

It's a system that produces considerable ugliness that way, DJW. Given that we are looking at a potential $1 billion campaign, don't expect it to end any time soon.