The (Relative) Peace of OH-8
Election years are obnoxious times, with obnoxious people doing obnoxious things in order to get elected, but this year, at least, it’s a by-election year, which means that here in the 8th Congressional District of Ohio, things are pretty quiet. This is because after 1990, the first year he was elected, OH-8 Congressional Representative John Boehner consistently wins elections by taking two votes out of three. Prior to Boehner taking office, the district had already been in GOP hands since 1938; a Democrat hasn’t come within 10,000 votes of a GOP candidate since 1974, not even when Boehner’s immediate predecessor, Buz Lukens, had to resign because he was caught paying a 16-year-old girl for sex. This is as safe a district as it gets, and unless Boehner gets caught fondling a shaved badger named “Tito” on the floor of the House by C-SPAN’s cameras, the likelihood of him losing an election in OH-8 is roughly the same as the likelihood of me spontaneously changing form into a ginormous Taco Bell 7-layer burrito. As delicious as that possibility may be, it’s just not going to happen.
And so, things are fairly mellow here. There is a Democratic challenger for the seat, a nice young fellow named Justin Coussoule, and I like his platform just fine and will likely be voting for him this November. He has no chance. I have yet to see a single voter sign for him; I’ve not received a single mailing from him that I can remember. I don’t believe the Democrats are exactly pouring money into the district to boost his campaign. On the same token, while I have seen a few John Boehner signs, it’s been only a few, and the signs are exactly the same signs, in color and typography, that I’ve seen since 2002, which is the first election year I was here for. I suspect that people here might just take the signs they got once and pack them away for two years, plop them in the yard in mid-September and then put them back in storage on the first Wednesday in November. That’s Midwestern thriftiness for you.
Theoretically, I think it would be better if OH-8 were in contention every two years, and there was a robust debate between candidates, and I was flooded with mailings detailing every position and bone of contention between the candidates. Yay, participatory democracy. But as a practical matter, and entirely selfishly, I have to say I really don’t mind the quiet. 2012 promises to be an especially obnoxious election year already, and 2010 is bad enough everywhere else. I’ll take my mellow Midwestern island known as OH-8 for what it is.
Update, 4:45pm: Democratic candidate for OH-8 Representative Justin Coussoule pops into the comment thread to disagree with my assessment of his chances. That’s how local politics gets done, 21st Century style.