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Sunday, January 08, 2012

Denise Driehaus Support Of GOP Bills Limiting Abortion Rights Comes Under Fire: Challenger Brockmeier Says He'll Stay 'True' Dem In House

Brockmeier Mailer Tells East Side Democrats He's Pro-Choice 
CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The three-candidate contest for the Democratic nomination for Ohio's 31st District House seat -- the post now held by Denise Driehaus -- is heating up dramatically. Over the weekend, newcomer Luke Brockmeier flooded mailboxes with a slick, postcard-sized flier that proclaims himself the only "true" Democrat running. There's a lot of blue ink on the card, a sure symbol that he's putting plenty of space between himself and those red Republicans who now control the legislature in Columbus. Driehaus didn't put any distance between herself and House Republicans earlier this year when she signed on as the only Democrat to co-sponsor HB 78, which became a law sharply restricting late-term abortions in Ohio. There were 49 GOP cosponsors.  Republican Gov. John Kasich signed the bill into law last July and Ohio Right to Life Executive Director Mike Gonidakis said:
 "The passing of our legislation is a defining moment in Ohio history for the pro-life movement. Our late term abortion ban is part of a national strategy to overturn Roe v. Wade and today Ohio is one step closer to joining other states such as Indiana, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma who are currently saving these babies lives."
Brockmeier's maildrop clearly declares he's embracing the pro-choice label, a label that is usually shunned by officeseekers in Hamilton County. SW Ohio politicians are often Catholics, (the bishops supports the bill that Driehaus co-sponsored) and tend to agree with the church that Roe vs. Wade went too far by striking down legal barriers against abortion. Brockmeier's pro-choice stand looks to remind everyone that Brockmeier is more in tune with the national party than either Driehaus or Terry Tranter on a key women's rights issue -- that his two opponents are far more conservative on matters involving abortion rights.

And Brockmeier, who works for Planned Parenthood as the public affairs coordinator in Southwest Ohio, already has a website, Facebook page and a YouTube channel -- he is using social media to a degree far beyond his rivals. He's likely to be able to raise money using the Planned Parent connection.  Brockmeier's website also points out that he was active in the effort to pass the Affordable Health Care Act, which is President Obama's signature healthcare reform law. Brockmeier isn't running away from the president and calls himself a "community organizer" just like you know who.  Brockmeier says: "We don't need a politicians to tell us who we are and what we want. We need a community organizer to make sure Columbus is working for us."

The 31st District is solidly Democratic, and the test is going to be if it is open to a really, really progressive campaign in a county that has traditionally been less like Chicago and more like Louisville.  The 31st District used to cover the West Side, but was moved to the East Side by redistricting.  Driehaus switched her residence from Price Hill to Clifton Heights to campaign for the seat.  Tranter -- a former state rep who has been a longtime resident of Amberley Village -- tried to knock Driehaus off the ballot by challenging both her residency and nominating petitions.  The board of elections rejected the challenge last week.   (Just so everyone know: the district touches Amberley, Clifton, Clifton Heights, Madisonville, Evanston, Hyde Park, Silverson, Northside, Norwood, St. Bernard and Walnut Hills).  Brockmeier say he lives in Madisonville and has had a home in the 31st for years -- another suggestion that Driehaus's West Side values are not in sync with East Side Democrats.

[UPDATE 4:26 p.m. -- Denise Driehaus also voted for HB 79, 1 of 6 Democrats to do so.  All state Senate Dems voted against HB 79.  Here's what pro-choice NARAL had to say about it:
H.B. 79 will outlaw non-therapeutic abortion coverage in the to-be-created health insurance exchanges as laid out in the Affordable Care Act. This will even apply to Ohioans who are paying for their health insurance with their own private dollars. By banning coverage for abortion, H.B. 79 is in direct conflict with the Ohio Constitution under the recently passed Issue 3, which states that the Ohio cannot prohibit the sale of health care or health insurance. The ACLU has announced that they will challenge H.B. 79 in court.
Anastasia Pantsios at Ohio Daily Blog says the Ohio Legislature is at war with women, which makes Driehaus an ally of the GOP.  Anastasia says the time and tax dollars could be better spent on "some useful purpose like feeding BORN children or providing maternity care to women who WANT children."]

[UPDATE 9:10 p.m. -- From Cincinnati Blog, which notes that Tranter and Driehaus are now being required to run in a progressive district and that Tranter tilted at windmills trying to kick her off the ballot:
He should not focus on being bitter that he has to face off against two other candidates. He should face the fact that along with Denise Driehaus, he's not living in a conservative Democratic district. He's living in a really progressive House district. He might want to ponder how to climb that Mt. Everest before playing political games. ]
[UPDATE 8:44 a.m. -- A reader passed along this info about a third abortion restriction measure that Kasich signed into law with a vote from Denise Driehaus:

"Very interesting indeed! Thanks for the write-up (and research). You missed HB 63, though, which makes it harder for abused minors to access abortion without parental consent: And she voted for that one after she knew she'd be moving to this district.
It's been a busy session for stripping women's rights



  1. He's running lib in a lib district. All those Cliftonites must see her pro-life support as kryptonite. Does Terry Tranter even know what social media is? Good Democrat but his time has passed. Step aside T.T. and let Brockmeier and Driehaus battle for the heart and soul of the party. This conversation and contest needs to be held in Cincinnati. About time, I say.

  2. Tranter and Brockmeier split any challenger vote.
    Driehaus wins.

  3. Yes, she was with Batchelder/Kasich's war on women. Burke and his cronies are trying to save her job. I'm surprised Bill that you would even write about this. I know you are a Burke/Mallory crony.

    Denise misjudged the new district. It's not the West Side, baby. How do you spell t-o-a-s-t?

    Look for them to try and engineer an endorsement to save her. If they try anything, they will have a real fight on their hands.

  4. Driehaus was out over the weekend trying to introduce herself around. I didn't know anything about her voting record so I could have asked questions. I don't know anything abut Mr. Brockmeier and I would ask questsions there also. Nice to have a choice for a change. Thanks for this information.

  5. See bio data from Project Vote Smart on Denise Driehaus. Elder, Seton, St. Theresa. She votes her religion for better or worse.

    President/Board Member, Cincinnati Recreation Commission
    Volunteer, Elder High School
    Member, Hamilton County Democratic Executive Committee
    Associate Director, Kids Voting
    Board Member, Price Hill Civic Club
    Director, Musical Revue, Saint Teresa School
    Member, Parish Council, Saint Teresa School
    President, PTG, Saint Teresa School
    Volunteer, Seton High School
    Vice President, West Price Hill Merchants Association

  6. As a fiscally conservative, socially progressive woman who has lived in this district for years, women's issues are a pivotal point for me - especially now that they are under fire in the state. I don't care how involved a candidate has been in her previous community - as a rape survivor, I want to know I have legal availability of ALL medical treatments and options if it ever happens to me again or any other woman. I was shocked that Driehaus voted against this and now, I'll vote for her opponent.

  7. Thanks for this information about Denise. The Republicans want to roll back the clock. She aided and abetted. Count me as someone who lives in Clifton and surprised to learn this. She certainly has some explaining to do to women voters who are Democratic voters.

  8. THis is a shame for Denise. I really like her and think, like her brother, she is a quality person and politician. We don't see much of that these days.

  9. tnx. she was at our door yesterday.
    we have a driehaus on every block.

  10. Terry Tranter has the Ohio Right to Life Endorsement. He's taking a stand on that issue. He wanted it and got it and isn't running away from it. The man has principles. Not sure why Denise wasn't endorsed. She carried right to life water in Columbus. Maybe she caught a break by not getting endorsed this time.

  11. There is no room in the Democratic Party for anyone who doesn't support the right to kill babies.

    1. the right to medical privacy
      the right to bodily autonomy
      the right to access a legal procedure

      Denise Driehaus was the only Democrat to vote for HB 78, which didn't just ban post-viability abortions but any pregnancy nonviable after the 20 week cutoff. A couple in Nebraska with the same law became accidental activists when their wanted pregnancy hadn't developed and they couldn't compassionately terminate the fetus. So the woman carried around a fetus she knew would die for an additional six weeks, gave birth, and watched it suffocate for fifteen minutes. Without health exceptions, a woman with a cancer diagnosis or any other serious but currently nonfatal complication couldn't access abortion until the moment her life is in danger. Without sexual trauma exceptions, a rape victim who conceals her condition out of shame and panic would be forced to give birth. Without mental health exceptions, if a mentally disabled woman was discovered to be pregnant, she wouldn't be able to get an abortion.

      There is no room in the Democratic Party for people who let their personal mythology trump civic duty.