Now that he has won a full term as chairman of the Mahoning County Democratic Party, Atty. David Betras must turn his attention to keeping a public pledge he made to Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern.
During their appearance on a radio talk show, hosted by this writer and Dr. Bill Binning, Betras guaranteed that he would deliver 80 percent of the general election vote in Mahoning County to Gov. Ted Strickland.
Democrat Strickland is running for a second four-year term and is being challenged by Republican John Kasich. Even though Kasich isn't as well known statewide as Strickland, the race would be a toss-up if the election were held today. It's an indication of the widespread public discontent with government at all levels; incumbent officeholders are in the political crosshairs.
That's why Betras' pledge seems so over-the-top. He undoubtedly was influenced by the 70-plus percent vote in Mahoning County garnered by Barack Obama in 2008, but the support did not come from the traditional Democratic Party voters. Rather, it was the result of a coalition forged by Obama of first-time black voters and new, young voters. That coalition has since gone away, which explains the Democrats' troubles at the polls this year.
If Betras is able to deliver the 80 percent to Strickland, the governor's re-election will be all but assured. But if he fails, it won't be from a lack of trying. Betras has proved to be a tireless worker on behalf of the local, state and national Democratic parties.
It's going to be an exciting general election campaign.