ATHENS, Ohio (TDB) -- From one civil war to another. Former Hezbollah hostage Terry Anderson, the onetime AP Middle East bureau chief who was kidnapped in Beirut and held for years by militants, has settled near Athens. Anderson has been in the horse business and dabbled in local politics, where he ran for a state senate seat. Now he's agreed to sponsor a January 31 fundraiser at his home for Athens County Democratic Chair Susan Gwinn, who is running in the Dem primary to unseat the county's Democratic prosecutor. Gwinn, a lawyer, has been the chair and served on the Ohio Democratic Party Executive Committee since 1996. There is considerable consternation over her attempt to knock off a sitting Democratic officeholder.
She is out to defeat C. David Warren, and resigned from the county Board of Elections to make the race. The inter-party split in Athens -- home of Ohio University (where Terry Anderson once taught journalism) -- has awed and concerned Dems who wonder why Gwinn went after one of her own. The word vendetta is being used.
The Athens Post, the students newspaper at Ohio University, noted in an editorial earlier this week that Gwinn's move will rip apart the party.
"Decisions like this go beyond simple party squabbles. Gwinn's decision falls squarely in the realm of political backstabbing. There is no conceivable reason for Gwinn to pursue the office of county prosecutor other than to increase her own power base at the expense of her party's unity. Her decision has rightly drawn criticism from other Ohio Democrats and citizens. No politician, regardless of his or her party affiliations, should cast aside their loyalties in exchange for advancement. Through her actions, Gwinn has shown that her devotion lies with her own self-promotion and not with the people of Athens County."
Strong words. As for Anderson, the Lorain native and former Marine is probably showing loyalty to Gwinn. She helped recruit him for the state senate race against Republican Joy Padgett, a race that Anderson ran vigorously. Although he lost, Anderson's finish made it the strongest Dem challenge in the state that year.