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Will area deliver for Dems?

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

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

With the Ohio governor’s race in the “too close to call” category, the predominantly Democratic Mahoning and Trumbull counties have become ground zero for Ted Strickland’s re-election bid.

Although the Republican nominee, John Kasich, has led in just about every poll, the latest ones show the race to be a dead heat. That has energized the state Democratic Party, which is looking to this area to lead the final surge to the Nov. 2 general election.

In order for a Democrat to win statewide, he must come out of Mahoning and Trumbull counties with at least 60 percent of the vote. The larger the margin of victory in this heavily Democratic part of the state, the better the candidate’s chances of overcoming the opponent’s advantage in the Republican strongholds.

But this year, with Strickland fighting for his political life, the Ohio Democratic Party is pushing for a record-breaking vote in the Valley.

Enthusiasm gap

It’s a tall order, given that the polls have consistently shown Republicans around the country to be much more enthusiastic this year than Democrats.

But, the enthusiasm gap that has received so much press attention does not seem to apply across the board. Consider early voting. While it has been widely believed that Republicans have the advantage nationally with absentee ballot applications, here’s what Hotline, the political Internet site, said recently about Ohio:

“But not all states are seeing a big surge of Republican voters. In Ohio, Democrats have requested and returned absentee ballots at a higher rate than have Republicans, and more Democrats have voted early in person. According to the state Democratic Party’s totals, five times more infrequent-voting Democrats have turned out than Republicans, an indication that the party’s turnout efforts are working.”

It’s against this back drop that the chairmen of the Democratic parties in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, David Betras and Daniel Polivka, are being urged to pull out all the stops to ensure a huge turnout election day.

Mahoning County, in particular, is seen as the key to Strickland’s reelection and the success of Democratic candidates in other statewide races.

There are about 180,000 registered voters in Mahoning: Approximately 79,000 confirmed Democrats and 44,000 who identify with the Democratic Party; 15,000 confirmed Republicans, with another 10,000 who are considered to be in the GOP camp; and, 32,000 undeclared, independent or third party members.

Given the intensity of this election, a turnout of about 60 percent is possible.

And therein lies the challenge for Betras and the Mahoning County Democratic organization: To deliver more than 70 percent to Strickland and the rest of the ticket.

Last fall, in the midst of a very different political environment, Betras publicly told Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern that he would ensure a landslide victory for Strickland with 80 percent of the vote.

But as the national economic recession caused most states to experience huge job losses, the people blamed Democratic President Barack Obama and the Democratic controlled Congress. (The recession began in the latter part of 2008 when Republican George W. Bush was in the White House.)

In Ohio, Republicans led by Kasich, succeeded in portraying Strickland and the Democrats as the cause of the double-digit jobless rate and the other hardships brought on by the recession.

Eighty percent of the vote for the governor is beyond the realm of possibilities, but 70-plus percent?

2006 election

Four years ago, Strickland garnered 75.6 percent in Mahoning against Republican J. Kenneth Blackwell. That same year, Sherrod Brown got 73.4 percent in his victory over U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, a Republican.

In the 2008 presidential election, Obama captured 62.3 percent of the vote in Mahoning County.

In other words, the 70 percent threshold can be met, but it will take a ground game similar to the one launched by Obama’s presidential campaign. The turnout in 2008 in Mahoning County was 72 percent.

Former President Bill Clinton, one of the most popular politicians in the country today, will energize the Democratic Party faithful when he attends the pre-election breakfast Saturday at Mr. Anthony’s banquet hall.

Clinton’s visit is a coup for Betras.


1davidjohn(144 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

the myth of mahoning county

state wide elections turn on the democratic turnout in mahoning county


lets look at the numbers

total votes for 2008 general election

franklin county 565,000

mahoning county 129,000

even if mahoning county went 70% for strickland that is 90,300

and if strickland got only 50% in franklin county it would be 282,500

even if strickland gets 80% in mahoning county it wont mean much if he does not do well in the bigger cities

the myth is perpetuated by the vindicator so people pay attention to the vindicator

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2author50(1121 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

davidjohn -- good point (once again). I really thought that Betram was going to do a Sunday piece about Jimbo and his followers and how the SPINDicator's front page story and editorial about a Halloween lawn decoration in Niles was an analogy for Jimbo's political career.

Only point De Souza makes that is worthwhile is that Betras gets a pat on the back for helping to bring President Clinton in for a cigar after breakfast.

How many tax levies and incumbents has the SPINDI endorsed this year? All of them, because without government and non-profit ad revenue, the SPINDI would be going to Youngstown for money like the bars in the downtown area to stay afloat.

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3burford(95 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

davidjohn and Author50 represent the growing number of people on this web site that see what the newspaper is about. It is not about improving the valley but attempting to secure the newspaper's financial future.

There is no way as Author50 points out that this newspaper should be constantly endorsing incumbents who have done nothing for our area other than collect a paycheck and vote the way labor tells them rather than what is best for the area..

I have little problems with unions. I used to belong to one that functioned pretty well. But the unions around here block new companies from coming into the area.Those areas of the country that grew in the 80's, 90's and through 2007 are right to work states.

There is no reason this area should be so stagnant. We have a skilled work force, great location and importantly lots of water. But we desperately need jobs. No jobs, no middle class. This results in the crime ridden neighborhoods of Youngstown which is spilling into the suburbs.

Maybe it is too late. But the last thing the newspaper should do is endorse anti-growth politicans who only protect ther own selfish interests. The article on fundraising was enlightening. Gerberry 's comments were unbeleiveable. While calling the amounts of money flowing into campaigns obscene, he could not see that he was the recipient of the same. He could not see he benefited from the obscenity.

The republicans normally do not have a chance around here. But if there is a decent candidate the newspaper ought to endorse them once in a while even if the chances of success are slim. It would send a message and hopefully start to change the culture here.

Instead they use Traficant as a side show. Give no consideration to nonincumbents and push for the status quo. It has not helped us in the past. What good will it do us now.

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4davidjohn(144 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

need corroboration on a rumor

didnt know which article to put it under

maybe i missed the story

heard that gains traficanti ludt and tablack tried to swing $50,000 to a big columbus firm

to defend the request filed in the supreme court by the cafaro lawyer

$500.00 per hour

in a county that always cries it is broke

why cant the prosecutor represent the county

or if there is a need for outside counsel how about local lawyers

who dont charge $500 per hour

and arent looking for $50,000

this is outrageous if accurate

the vindicator should be all over this

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5redvert(2226 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

"Will area deliver for dems?" Of course!

When nothing changes, nothing changes.

Afterwards, the locals will try to figure out who they can blame other than themselves.

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6valleyop(14 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Hey Bert, stop drinking the Betras Kool-Aid! Betras the blowhard had NOTHING to do with Clinton coming here. This was a scheduled stop put together months ago without ANY input from Betras.

He's very good at taking credit for things that he had nothing to do with, lets see how far he falls when his candidates lose.

Also remember that Betras-Dann and Leo Jennings are all still together and Dann-Jennings are helping Betras with his agenda. Is this the crew we want leading Valley democrats?? I don't think so.

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7magicman5150(4 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Can I ask one quick question.....people all over the Mahoning Valley complain that the government doesnt do enough to help the Valley, that the Valley is overlooked during funding programs and that politicians only stop through Y-town on the campaign trail then forget about us when the election is over.
So....if politicians continually over the years neglect the valley, but the valley still turns out the Democratic vote...doesn't that say that turning out the Democratic vote might be part of the problem?
What is the definition of insanity again??? Repeating the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?

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8PhilKidd(188 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I would just like to add that the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative is currently conducting the largest Get Out The Vote campaign in the state of Ohio.

This is not a particular candidate or party endorsement campaign but rather a voter registration / commitment to vote campaign targeting unlikely voters (specifically those who voted in 2008 but did not vote in 2006).

We are targeting 23,246 individuals using a tracking and data system that allows us to record and scan our contact / follow up accordingly. Each individual will be contacted in some form or fashion at least 5-7 different times (door knock, literature, phone call, signing of a committment card, transportation to polls if desired, etc).

We have 7 full-time staff and 35 phone bankers who have been engaged in this campaign for the past 6 weeks non-stop.

As of the time of this posting, we have knocked on over 10,368 doors and have received 1,815 vote pledges in person.

We have made 26,941 calls resulting in 3,992 vote pledges.

On Saturday & Sunday, we will deploy 140 canvassers into the valley to continue to follow up making contact with the 23,000 unlikely voters we have identified.

The point: No matter who you vote for, be sure to vote, period. Numbers speak volumes in Columbus and D.C. despite who is in office.

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