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Thursday, September 06, 2007

OH-05: House Pulls Down Paul Gillmor's Website

COLUMBUS (TDB) -- U.S. Rep. Paul Gillmor passed away a day ago and his official House Website is now gone, too. The quick action by the House Clerk's office makes it seem like he didn't exist.

The House district Republican Gillmor represented in Northwest Ohio is the second largest in the state, and covered an area larger than Connecticut. Political insiders say the early buzz is that former Ohio Attorney General and Auditor Betty Montgomery, who is from Wood County (Bowling Green) in the district, will be urged to run as Gillmor's replacement. Meanwhile, Gov. Ted Strickland has to call a special election to fill the seat and reportedly plans to schedule the vote for Tuesday, November 6, when local and county elections are already scheduled to be conducted in many communities across the state.

Strickland is said to believe that a November 6 special election would save millions of dollars because polls will have to be open and staffed for Election Day. Out of respect to his former House colleague (Strickland represented the state's biggest congressional district along the Ohio River in Appalachian Ohio), the governor is not expected to make a public announcement of his decision until after Gillmor's funeral and memorial services are completed.

1 comment:

  1. Bill,

    While it may seem a bit severe to pull down the website so quickly, it is also done to properly inform the people of his district that they presently have no representation in Congress and there is no one to express their views to, help find their Social Security check, have a flag flown over the capitol, arrange a tour, etc. This happens whenever there is a vacancy due to death or resignation. If you call the late Congressman's offices, they will answer "Office of the 5th Congressional District" whereas last week they would have said "Congressman Gillmor's Office" or something to that effect.

    The staffers were transferred to the control of the Clerk of the House and will remain there until the special election is over. In addition to grieving the loss of their boss, they will be answering the phones (most likely taking messsages of condolences to pass on to the family) sending a letter to everyone who had a casework-related matter or other special request (flag flown over the Capitol, Congressional-guided tours, etc) about the Congressman's passing and informing them that they can contact one of their Senators with the same request. Finally, they will be archiving records in the local and D.C. offices and securing a repository, either the Library of Congress or perhaps a local or university library.

    It sounds cold, I know. When I worked for a Member of Congress, I had the ill-timed need to call the office of a Virginia Congressman who had, unbeknownst to me, died earlier in the day. When they answered the phone "Office of the 4th District of Virginia" I asked them why they answered the phone that way. Naturally, the guy at the other end of the phone was annoyed at having to tell someone, for probably the 100th time that day, that his boss just died. I knew people in Portman's office who had to go through the same thing even when he resigned.