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Westerhold blog: All politics is local

Matt Westerhold • Oct 12, 2010 at 1:41 PM

Campaign season usually begins Labor Day weekend, when politicians of all stripes march in parades, kiss babies and glad-hand anyone who looks like a potential voter. And the November election in Ohio this year could go down in history as the most expensive ever.

The big, big money will be spent in statewide races, where there are two wide-open seats: the U.S. Senate seat held by former Cleveland mayor and Ohio governor George Voinovich and the Ohio chief justice position that became vacant when Sandusky’s own Tom Moyer died in April.

In the Senate race, Republican Rob Portman is running against Democrat Lee Fisher, the lieutenant governor. Portman has the edge in money and maybe an edge in new ideas. He definitely has a shot at defeating Fisher, who has been Ohio’s economic development director for nearly four years. Enough said.

The chief justice race pits Ohio Supreme Court Justice Maureen O’Connor against current Chief Justice Eric Brown. Brown was appointed to the position in May by Gov. Ted Strickland after Moyer’s death, and O’Connor — without a doubt — has the edge in both judicial experience and past leadership positions she’s held.

And Strickland also faces a worthy candidate in former U.S. Rep John Kasich, who hopes the anti-incumbency mood propels him to the top. Despite the state’s economic woes, Strickland has a real shot at prevailing and it will be a hard-hitting campaign for both candidates.

State Auditor Mary Taylor, Kasich’s running mate for the lieutenant governor’s post, was at the Register to talk about the race. (See the video)

Finally, former U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine brings some gravitas to the race for Ohio attorney general. DeWine has promised to be the anti-corruption AG, and he should win given current Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray’s record of non-accompishment. Cordray was great on the TV show “Jeopardy” — a five-time champ — but he’s fallen asleep at the wheel as AG and doesn’t recognize corruption when it slaps up against him.

 Locally, state Rep. Dennis Murray Jr., in his first term, faces off against a spirited effort from Republican Jeff Krabill. Krabill, a long-time Sandusky school board member, believes in change and hopes for a surge from the anti-incumbency drive among the electorate.

Another Republican, Mike Pisarsky, is running for Erie County commissioner against Bill Monaghan, who is seeking a second term. Pisarsky has been an invisible candidate to this point, while Monaghan hopes to let his record speak for itself. It will have to be one heck of a Republican year for Pisarsky to overcome Monaghan’s advantage, given the cost-cutting, hardline, hard-nosed work Monaghan put in during his first four-year term.

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, whose 9th Congressional District extends from Toledo across Erie County and into Lorain County, has a money opponent in Republican Rich Iott, a wealthy businessman who made his fortune in the supermarket industry.

The 9th District was gerrymandered about six years ago to make it a safe Democratic seat, so Kaptur has the advantage. But Iott has some bucks and you’ll see him a lot in TV and Internet commercials at newspaper websites.

U.S. Rep. Bob Latta also sits in a gerrymandered “safe” seat that has a decidedly conservative bent and includes Huron County. Latta faces a challenge from Democrat Caleb Finkenbiner, who has an uphill battle.

The Register’s politics reporter, Tom Jackson, already has brought readers up close interviews with O’Connor and Brown in the chief justice race and he’ll be doing more stories as the campaign season heats up.

The best and most complete election coverage of races that matter locally will be found on the pages of the Sandusky Register in the coming weeks, and we’ll be live from the newsroom on election night to provide results in real time.

Thanks for reading/watching

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