Friday, May 14, 2010

Ohio 16th Check-In

This week Republican Congressional nominee Jim Renacci's most credible primary opponent endorsed him. Which is sufficient excuse to check in on the race.

Renacci is running in the Sixteenth District against freshman incumbent (and something of a blogosphere darling) John Boccieri.

Here's hoping they make as a campaign issue the proper pronunciation of double c's in Italian.

With his erstwhile challenger Matt Miller formally endorsing him, Renacci is consolidating his party support in the district. While ongoing strife with Miller was unlikely, a cleavage between the southern part of the district and the Stark County center of gravity.

In addition to the Miller, the same article notes that he is lining up the traditional Stark County Republican brokers, notably the Timkens and Representative emeritus Ralph Regula.

Renacci has been running hard since the start of the year. He's been tapped by the national party as one of its top tier Congressional candidates, and has been raising money by the barrowful.

He's also been spending it by the barrowful. He has been running ads on WKNR since January. First, a life story, then ads telling Boccieri not to vote for health care reform, then ads slamming him for his vote in favor. All this happened before the primary. Advertising on KNR is a profligate use of campaign money as coverage is spotty in Stark and Wayne. Currently the campaign continues the onslaught with ads decrying government spending.

Renacci has an interesting resume -- entrepreneur and small town mayor. Sadly, he's not running a very interesting campaign. Instead of proposing innovative center/right solutions, he's reading straight from the RNC playbook, claiming Boccieri is a Nancy Pelosi lackey and pretending that Pelosi and Obama are entirely responsible for the economic mess. On health care for instance, he advances only the two Republican non-solutions -- interstate competition and tort reform.


While it makes for a predictable campaign, it isn't a stupid strategy. The election will be more than anything else a reflection of the public mood on the economy. Republicans are rooting for the numbers to remain bad and hitching their wagons to grim economic forecasts. And history says

It's tired to say Stark County is a bellwether, but once again it is. This will be a knock down drag out race spending armored car loads of campaign cash. In the end it will come down to how voters in the Sixteenth feel about the economy.