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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ohio Democratic Party Quickly Endorses Denise Driehaus: Local Dem Organization Stays Neutral In 3-Person Primary Contest

Columbus Democrats Favor Driehaus
CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The Ohio Democratic Party has intervened in a local primary battle that pits incumbent State Rep. Denise Driehaus against two rivals for a seat in the Ohio House.  Meanwhile, the Hamilton County Democratic Party has charted a neutral course ahead of the March 6 nominating election.  Now, some Cincinnati area Dems say the ODP is throwing its weight around and running an incumbent protection racket.  Mailers supporting Driehaus landed in East Side mailboxes late last week.  They were paid for by the state party under the signature of Chris Redfern, the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party in Columbus.  Officials said no serious attempt was made to interview any of the challengers.  In e-mails to The Daily Bellwether since Friday, some critics went to so far as to describe the state endorsement as resembling an edict rather than a recommendation.

Driehaus, a longtime West Sider from Price Hill, hopes to hang onto the Oh-31 seat in the Ohio House, which was moved to the East Side by redistricting.   Her brother, Steve, a former Congressman, had held the seat for four terms until was term-limited out.  Denise Driehaus kept the seat in the family by becoming his successor in the Ohio House.

Luke Brockmeier, a Planned Parenthood official, and Terry Tranter, a lawyer and former local office representative of ex-Atty. Gen. Richard Cordray, are also in the contest this year.  Brockmeier has criticized Driehaus for supporting GOP-sponsored bills that limit abortion rights in Ohio.  Brockmeier contends he is the "true" Democrat in the race, and has portrayed Driehaus as actively joining the Kasich Administration's campaign to curtail women's rights.  Some Democrats say Kasich is running a war on women.  Tranter is endorsed by Ohio Right to Life.  He is a former state representative seeking a comeback.

Local Democratic officials say there could be a move to endorse Driehaus at the Hamilton County Democratic Party's executive committee meeting on Monday, Jan. 23.  Up to now, there has been a consensus among the leadership the local Dem organization should stay neutral.

The state party mailer lists 26 Driehaus supporters, including former Gov. Ted Strickland and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.  It says Driehaus in 2010 -- when she first ran for the seat -- was backed by the AFL-CIO, Equality Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers.  It says she is active in supporting women's and gay rights:

"Denise Driehaus is a vocal proponent of gay rights.  She has twice sponsored the Fair Housing and Employment Act which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation."

The new district is far more progressive and Democratic than her old district on the West Side.  It includes Amberley Village, Silverton, Hyde Park, Clifton, Columbia Township, Oakley, Evanston, St. Bernard and Walnut Hills.  You can read more about Driehaus's support of pro-life bills by clicking here.  Last week, the state Democratic Party issued the attached press release saying in was it was endorsing all its incumbents in the state legislature

        Ohio Democratic Party Executive Committee Endorses Candidates for 2012 Election

COLUMBUS – At a meeting last evening, the Ohio Democratic Party’s Executive Committee endorsed the following candidates:
Sherrod Brown, U.S. Senate
Yvette McGee Brown, Associate Justice of the Ohio Supreme CourtFanon Rucker, Associate Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court
Robert Price, Associate Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court
All Democratic incumbent members of the State House and Senate seeking re-election.
Driehaus has been active on environmental issues.  She is sponsoring a measure to place a moratorium on fracking.  She also is getting a boost from former Amberley Village Mayor Chuch Kamine, who is hosting a reception at his home on Feb. 9 to introduce Driehaus to East Side Democrats.  Kamine says it's not a fundraiser but an effort to drum up votes:

"This is a new district and the first Democratic primary race for this seat . . . Denise has been a tremendously effective, devoted and energetric representative . . . We need to keep Denie in the Ohio State House working on behalf of all of us."

[UPDATE -- 8:44 p.m. --  Driehaus did not vote to pass the Heartbeat bill.  I checked the House Journal and she was not in the group that adopted the measure in that chamber.  She did vote against some amendments to the bill.  I have changed the post above to eliminate any suggestion she voted for the Heartbeat bill.]  


  1. Marching orders. Chuck Kamine can help undo some of Denise's self-inflicted damage for voting for the Heartbeat bill and the "war on women." She's a good rep in a new district with a different ethos than Price Hill.

  2. Please note that Denise Driehaus voted No on the Heartbeat Bill.

    Also, she first ran for her seat in 2008, when she won. She was re-elected in 2010.

    Denise has my support because she is a very effective legislator. She does her homework, grasps complex legal concepts quickly, and forges collaborative efforts with both Republicans and Democrats. She is a fierce fighter for Dems and all people. Politically savvy, she can maneuver through the partisan gridlock to get things done. I am proud to have her as a colleague in the State House.

    1. Unfortunately, the bills she has successfully supported thus far are all anti-choice with the exception of the redistricting "deal". I don't need that kind of effectiveness.

    2. She may have voted No on the Heartbeat Bill, but she has voted Yes on way too many other anti-choice bills for me to support her.
      Vote for Luke Brockmeier.

  3. Bill,

    What do you know about her divorce last year. In my opinion, there is dirt. In my opinion you should ask her if she broke her marriage vows. You probably won't.

  4. It is criminal that ODP spent money to try to defeat other Democrats instead of defeating Republicans. I am certain I am not the only donor who will no longer donate because of this misuse of funds.

  5. ODP already sold out their base when they cut and ran on the plan to challenge the GOP's gerrymandered redistricting plan. We collected all of the signatures to put it on the ballot and then Redfern and his Blue Dog pals went and signed off on a rotten "compromise" with the GOP that was indistinguishable from the original plan and scuttled the ballot initiative. The ineffective ODP has fumbled again and again in Ohio for decades now, they are the Washington Generals of state politics. With leadership like the ODP has, who needs the GOP?

  6. IMHO this is race that comes down to EXPERIENCE & LEADERSHIP.

    Only one candidate has multi-year experience in the State House, has chaired a major House committees, has passed and amended many bills into LAW, and has the ability to stand up to lobbyists, bureuacracy, and the powers that be.

    Only one candidate has lived in this district for years (versus carpetbagger driehaus few days when she filed) and is not a political newcomer (unlike youthful Brockmeier who will be ineffective based on his lack of experience).

    Only one candidate has the ability to be in Ohio House Leadership and can bring much needed influence to the 31st district and SW Ohio on a whole.

    That candidate is TERRY TRANTER. He has my support

    PS is response to another blogger he does have social media & his website is: