Friday, September 14, 2007

BREAKING: Ron Amstutz May, Um, Do Something.

I'm puzzling through the first few grafs of today's Dennis Willard piece on state Sen. Ron Amstutz.

    COLUMBUS: State Sen. Ron Amstutz, R-Wooster, has been in the Ohio General Assembly for 27 consecutive years, longer than anyone else in the legislature.

    And his tenure has no end in sight, although he faces term limits in the Senate at the end of 2008.

    Amstutz could return to the Ohio House, where he spent 20 years before term limits forced him to run for the Ohio Senate in 2000. Or he might get into the U.S. House race should Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Navarre, retire.

    State Sen. J. Kirk Schuring, R-Jackson Township, is also exploring a run for the Regula seat, and Amstutz admits he would be at a financial and demographic disadvantage in a congressional run.

Amstutz has been a subject of conjecture for some time. Even before Rep. Ralph Regula (R-Navarre) started making noises about retiring, Amstutz was touted as a possible candidate in the 16th. Now he might be running. Or maybe not. He definitely will continue in elected office. Unless he decides not to. Glad we cleared that up.

If Amstutz does run, he may find himself in a three-way primary with State Sen. Kirk Schuring and Rep. Scott Oelslager. If Oelslager indeed gets in the race, things will be difficult for both he and Schuring. The two are so much alike in both voting record and temperament that the race could get nasty only because the two have no other way to make their case that tear the other guy down. Amstutz could well sneak in the side door as he takes Wayne and the two Stark Co. candidates split their mutually held bases.

And all of that could only benefit Dem. candidate John Boccieri. Amstutz is considerably more conservative than Schuring and Oelslager, holding to a rural cultural conservatism that plays badly with the independent and moderate Repubs in much of the district.

The rest of the piece is a pretty straightforward and fairly balanced profile. Amstutz is conservative, but works with Strickland. He has some legislative accomplishments but "unfortunately" is linked to the stripper bill movement which has splashed silly on all players. Etc. It's not bad as a reference piece should Amstutz become a player in the national fight over Congress. But as an update on what his intentions are, apparently we are still waiting.