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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ohio State Rep. Tom Brinkman: Is He In The OH-02 GOP Race?

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- State Rep. Tom Brinkman appears ready to jump into the OH-02 Republican primary against Jean Schmidt. He's a term limited anti-taxer and straight shooting maverick Republican who refuses to accept or seek the endorsement of the Hamilton County Republican Party in his home base. Brinkman, who lives in Cincinnati, considers his independence a matter of principle. He is not everybody's cup of tea. But he is about as genuine and unvarnished as an elected official can be. With Brinkman what you see is what you get -- no new taxes, no abortion rights, no Big Brother government, no unions, no gay rights, no restrictions on the Second Amendment.

The Bellwether had a session with Brinkman last March, and he said he was interested in running for the OH-02 seat. Indeed, there seemed to be little doubt he was going to jump in the race with hopes of ending Republican U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt's congressional career. In the photo above (courtesy of Charles Foster Kane), Brinkman ceremonially cut off Schmidt's head at a 2006 fundraiser sponsored by COAST, a Cincinnati-area anti-tax group he helped found. COAST has been among Schmidt's sharpest critics.

Brinkman's own Web portal is here. It gives a sense of his political philosophy. A Brinkman campaign could have the aura of a Ron Paul type candidacy -- connecting with Republicans who feel their party has forgotten its roots, corporatized, and been swallowed by the RINOs -- Republicans In Name Only.

Matt Hurley at Weapons of Mass Discussion has more about Brinkman and OH-02. Matt's conservative-leaning blog seems to be turning into the semi-official GOP voice of Ohio as the 2008 election year approaches, which shows that his hard work and spirited interest in his own political party is paying off.


  1. Brinkman has no money, while Heimlich has hundreds of thousands, and twice the money Schmidt has.

    Brinkman was the worst legislator in the Statehouse. What makes him think he can be effective in Congress?

    Brinkman has burned too many bridges to build a coalition to get elected.

    Brinkman's going to be sunk by the comments Judge Ruehlman made about him. He may have not been indicted, but the damage was done.

    What makes Brinkman think he has any chance in hell? Does he want Schmidt to win????

  2. Hi Anon --

    You raise an excellent point about a three-person GOP primary -- Jean Schmidt vs. Phil Heimlich vs. Tom Brinkman. Hard to believe that the three of them will be mixing it up around southern Ohio for the next 2.5 months.

    I do think Brinkman can raise some money. The Club for Growth will probably back him, along with some of the anti-abortion Christian right groups and various organizations that support right-to-work laws and want the influence of labor rolled back or diminished.

    Judge Ruehlman's comments about the gay rights election petition definitely damage Brinkman. Fodder for an attack ad. But Brinkman also has some things going for him in OH-02 -- he represents the Anderson Township area in Hamilton County and the east side of Cincy where there are lots of Republican voters. He is good on guns and probably can count on backing from groups like the NRA, although the NRA itself is likely to support Schmidt. Brinkman is good on conservation issues -- and has picked up an award or two in Columbus.

    I think he's a real force in this race. There are rumors that Heimlich plans to drop out. If that happens, it might be hard to bet against Brinkman on the GOP side.

  3. Brinkman or Schmidt? What's the difference?

  4. Tom Brinkman is not seeking the endorsement of Hamilton County Republican Party because the Party does not want him. He would have no shot at getting that endorsement. In fact, he has no chance of getting the endorsement in ANY county.

    As far as the gun groups and the conservation groups, Schmidt has NRA's endorsement locked up. She also won the Citizen Committee for the Right To Keep and Bear Arms award for being one of the best members of Congress. Heck, they invited her to be their guest speaker at something called the "Gun Rights Policy Speaker". Brinkman was invited too, but only to speak as part of a panel, not as a featured speaker.

    As far as votes go, neither Heimlich or Brinkman can pick up enough votes in Hamilton County to offset Schmidt's advantage in Clermont, Warren, Brown, Adams, etc.

    If both Brinkman and Heimlich stay in, Schmidt will win by 35% or more.

    If only one of them stays in, it will be a 20% to 30% win for Schmidt.

    Why is Tom Brinkman hell-bent on getting the 2nd District turned over to the Democrats? His crony Bob McEwen couldn't win, and now he's trying? I thought that Heimlich was insane. Brinkman is even more nuts. A crushing defeat will kill his chances of ever becoming an Ohio State Senator.

  5. Hi Anon 6:07 pm --

    Nice analysis. I'm not sure that I agree Brinkman and McEwen are pals. They ran against each other in 2005 in the special primary that Schmidt won to get the GOP nomination. There were 11 in the field as a I recall, and she came out on top. This is from memory (I don't have time to look it up at the moment) but I think Schmidt was 1st, McEwen 2nd, Brinkman 3rd and Pat DeWine was 4th . . . DeWine was supposed to be the favorite because he had the most money. Schmidt had lost a state senate race in 2004 and wasn't on anybody's radar until she beat all the boys.

  6. Brinkman is opposed to the constitution shredding Patriot Act and the bipartisan quagmire in Iraq.

    He could be refreshing like Ron Paul has been. Jean Schmidt barely squeeked by last time and she was against a very weak Democrat running against her.

    She's been a huge embarrassment ever since her comment calling a marine a coward. She's a rubber stamp for Bush and his numbers are in the tank. He's had scandal after scandal.

    People are looking for change and the Libertarian wing of the Republican party is growing stronger as Ron Paul has shown recently.

  7. Hi Anon --

    Brinkman as Ohio's Ron Paul. I think the analogy works.

  8. Anon @ 6:07, I think Heimlich would be able to cut into Warren County enough to beat Schmidt in a head-to-head race, but I don't see how Schmidt loses a three-way race.

    It's a bad day to be a Schmidt opponent - Brinkman had to swing in and wreck the party.

    Did I mention that Brinkman isn't a remotely effective legislator? He can flaunt his "most principled" award all he wants, but I think 2nd District voters care more about getting, anything, done in Congress. I don't see Brinkman getting anything done.

  9. To add into Anon @ 1:18 AM's comments, Brinkman was also rated "worst legislator" in the same rankings he was rated the "most principled" legislator!

    I also don't see why R's in the 2nd District would support a candidate who actively worked to undermine Jean Schmidt in two general elections. For me, Brinkman's working with the liberal pro-abortion PAC from Oregon in 2005 to encourage voters to stay home in the special election was enough for me.