Deadline Now: Lucas County Political Party Chairmen
Friday, October 5, 2012 at 8:30 p.m.
With the election barely a month away, Ohio is in the thick of the battle for the White House. But while much of the focus is on the Presidential race, there are also important races going on for everything from U.S. Senate to various state and county positions. This week, Jack Lessenberry sits down with the two Lucas County party chairmen -- Jon Stainbrook is the Chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party, and Ron Rothenbuhler is the Chairman of the County's Democratic Party.
Here are Jack Lessenberry's Final Thoughts for this edition of "Deadline Now:"
Years ago, a famous national political correspondent was interviewing a Chicago alderman, their equivalent of someone on city council. The alderman was eager to talk about all sorts of local and Illinois races. Finally, the reporter asked about that year’s presidential contest. “Oh, that’s just national,” the alderman said.
Well, some might say he had his priorities screwed up. But maybe not. By and large, state government probably makes the biggest impact on our lives, followed by local government.
Of course, everything is affected by the national economy and events like whether or not we are at war, so you could certainly argue that the presidential election is vitally important.
But even the presidency isn’t really a national election, but a combination of many different local elections. Ohio may be close in this election, and is seen as the state most likely to determine the winner. The candidate carrying Ohio has won the presidency in every election since 1960, and this year both candidates are treating it as the ultimate swing state. President Obama is virtually certain to carry Lucas County next month; Democrats generally always do.
But what we don’t know is the size of the margin. And that’s where men like Ron Rothenbuhler and Jon Stainbrook come in. John F. Kennedy carried Cleveland and Toledo easily when he ran for president. But the failure of the Democratic organizations to turn out enough voters in both places meant he lost the state, the last time someone won the election and failed to carry Ohio.
That’s what Democrats fear. Republicans are more apt to worry about a repeat of sudden surge of first-time voters, like the ones who gave President Obama a solid margin here four years ago.
Getting the vote out on election day is sometimes called “the ground game,” and is very similar to its counterpart in football.
You squeeze out gains, a yard or a voter at a time. Of course, there are all sorts of other races going on in the state and the county; in some cases, the trick is to get the voters to pay attention to the races and candidates other than those running for the presidency.
In a little over a month, we’ll have results. Typically, those candidates who win believe they did it all on their own.
If they lose, however, one thing is clear. It had to be the county chairman’s fault.