CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Those sharp-eyed political beancounters at Buckeye State Blog have been poring through the Federal Elections Commission reports for the 2008 congressional campaigns in Ohio. They've found a darkhorse in the Democratic primary stable, Steve Black, who has banked some serious jack.
[UPDATE: 7/16/07, 6:44 am EDT -- The Oh-02 blog has some fresh data about the race and Wulsin's fundraising report, and Oh-02 shows Wulsin's stash of cash actually exceeded Black's. It's an excellent examination of the Democratic contest, and suggests the D's are the frontrunners for the congressional seat that has long been considered a GOP lock.]
BSB doesn't know much about Black. But Cincinnatians know him as a lawyer with a downtown law firm, Graydon Head & Ritchey, the firm where Bob Taft once hung out his shingle and where one of the names on the sign on the door was the Hamilton County GOP's chief fundraiser. Black is from Indian Hill, a Cincinnati suburb with a Zipcode that means moola resides here. It is where Paul Hackett lives.
Black's Democratic primary opponent, physician Vic Wulsin, hails from the same village. She has not yet reported her stash for the run against Black. He's not drawn much attention, either locally or around the state, but he will from now on as serious jack Steve Black. Check out his bio, and note that he's a Harvard grad who spent time in Beirut teaching. He's also opposed Bush on the War and calls the Iraq invasion one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in U.S. history.
What really makes Black a contender? He's a genuine Indian Hill blue blood whose dad was a judge. The corporate crowd in downtown Cincinnati can feel comfortable with him -- he once headed the Harvard Club and was on the board at Seven Hills School, a private prep school. In other words, on paper he's got the feel of being a Democratic version of Rob Portman, who was undefeatable in OH-02 and gave up the seat to become the Bush administration's trade rep, then budget director. And, Portman worked at Graydon Head before running for Congress.
Betting here is that the GOP, which now holds OH-02 with U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt, is facing sharply steeper odds to hang onto the seat because the money people who write its checks may finally see a Democrat they can at least be comfortable with. Hackett, then Wulsin, both came close to capturing the second district. Now it looks like Wulsin may not have the clout to win the nomination this time around -- no slam at her. But Black definitely is the guy to watch.