CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Just two months ago, Democrat Steve Black was touting the arrival of a new campaign manager who had a wealth of experience. But Joel Coon is now gone, The Daily Bellwether has learned. Black is a Cincinnati lawyer who switched from Republican to Democrat and is challenging physician Victoria Wulsin in the OH-02 primary next March.
Coon was brought in to replace Mary Huttinger, who for a time was signed on with Black. If that sound like musical chairs hang on to your seat: Huttinger was Wulsin's campaign manager in 2006 when she won the Dem nomination. The Black-Wulsin winner gets to run for the southern Ohio U.S. House seat that currently is held by Jean Schmidt, who beat Wulsin but now has a challenger in the GOP primary.
Black's campaign has not publicly announced Coon's leave taking after about three months on the job. Coon was reached by phone today and confirmed he has moved on.
"I would rather not get into the reasons why I left. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about Steve Black. He's a good candidate. He has the highest integrity. Leaving -- it was something I had to do. Steve can beat Jean Schmidt. He's a very good candidate."
Coon was a former John Edwards campaign aid involved in rural issues.
While Coon is out, The Bellwether hears that former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee executive director John Lapp is in as the ad man for Black campaign. Lapp joined the political consulting firm McMahon Squier Lapp and Associates after 2006 elections and is considered an architect of the Dems' victory that ended GOP control of the House. At the DCCC, Lapp was in charge of a $60 million budget. He knows Ohio River politics -- he worked for former U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas who held a Kentucky House seat on the opposite side of the river from OH-02. He was Lucas' campaign manager, then his chief of staff. Lucas retired to keep a promise about term limits.