CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Democrat Victoria Wulsin, who is running to grab a GOP congressional seat next year in Ohio's 2nd District, has hired a campaign manager who knows how to knock off Republicans. Josh Levin worked for Linda Holmes last year when the Democrat took a Chicago-area state senate seat that had long been held by a popular Republican, who retired to run for a judgeship. The Senate district, Illinois 42, is considered conservative territory, and includes suburbs and semi-rural communities.
Wulsin has to get by another Democrat, Steve Black, to win the nomination next March. She now has someone with experience on Republican turf in a critical post.
Levin also worked for U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda in 2004, a year when the anti-war Kansas Democrat lost. But Boyda made enough headway she won the House seat last fall -- an upset win in that most GOP of states. Levin 29, is a University of Wisconsin grad, who comes from the Chicago area. He told The Daily Bellwether "there is no perfect formula" that a Democrat can use to win in a Republican district like OH-02, which is now held by U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt.
"You have to have a good candidate. You have to have the issues," he said, quickly adding that Schmidt's vote against the Children's Health Insurance Program, CHIP, would become a play issue.
"It's a very big deal. It was a bad vote. Jean Schmidt voted against a bipartisan bill. It's an issue where Jean Schmidt turned her back on a lot of kids. CHIP is a program that covers working people who can't buy health care on their own."
Last year, Levin's candidate was Linda Holmes, a moderate Democrat. The
Illinois Review in 2006 looked at that state Senate contest and figured the GOP's candidate was pro-life, had union support, and was running in a conservative area. Everything looked rosy.
"The 42nd District is located in prominently-conservative and Republican Will County [also Kane]. While all Chicago's collar counties are undergoing demographic changes and a couple of key Will County offices slid into the Democratic column two years ago, the 42nd District's political base continues to lean Republican. Terri's (Wintermute) Democratic opponent serves on the Kane County Board and is diametrically opposed o Terri on most social issues. A practicing Catholic, Terri is pro-life and holds to traditional family values, reflecting the same as the majority in her district."
That sounds a lot like Jean Schmidt -- pro-life, family values and Catholic in a conservative district. But it wasn't a formula for victory. Linda Holmes won and Wulsin now has an experienced hand from Chicagoland on her payroll.