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In the 6th District, Wilson

Published: Sun, October 24, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

In the 6th District, Wilson

It’s become easy to denigrate in- cumbent politicians and popular to repeat the “throw them all out” mantra, but the inconvenient truth is that sometimes the incumbent is the better candidate.

And that is the case in the 6th Congressional District, which stretches from southern Mahoning County through Columbiana County and nine others to Scioto County.

The district is represented by Democrat Charlie Wilson, a 67-year-old businessman from St. Clairsville, in his second term.

He’s being challenged by Republican Bill Johnson, 55, of Poland, a retired Air Force veteran who works as a computer information officer for a Warren company. Also on the ballot are Libertarian candidate Martin J. Elsass of Columbiana and Constitution candidate Richard E. Cadle of North Jackson.

The district starts 50 miles south of Lake Erie and meanders more than 300 miles to about 75 miles east of Cincinnati. It is as economically and socially diverse as it is long.

If someone were attempting to design a district for a Blue Dog Democrat they couldn’t do much better, and Wilson, as a conservative Democrat, is good fit.

No rubber stamp

He voted with his party for health-care reform because as a businessman who pays about $13,000 a year for an employee’s coverage he knew that something had to be done to control costs. He voted against the party on energy legislation because he knew cap and trade would be bad for the district’s economy. Wilson is a pragmatist who says he worked with Republicans throughout his years in the state Legislature.

Johnson comes across as less flexible, giving little indication during an hour-long interview that he was interested in doing anything other than turning back the political clock — without an explanation of how that would be likely to improve things in the 6th District.

Johnson volunteered that had he been in Congress he would have voted against increasing the national debt limit — something that both parties, unfortunately, have been obliged to support in the past. It’s a statement that certainly appeals to a voter’s ear, but when asked what the practical implications of such a move would be, Johnson couldn’t or wouldn’t answer.

The 6th District needs a flexible, steady representative in Washington, and we believe Wilson has provided that in the past and would continue to do so in the future.

The Vindicator endorses the re-election of Charlie Wilson to a third term.

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