Let the Endorsements Begin

Richard Crosby Makes Congressional Campaign Stop in Portsmouth

On Friday, June 16th, the 14th Street Community Center in Portsmouth hosted the most recent meeting of the Southern Ohio Progressive Movement. Popular interest remained focused on national political controversies and contests.  With the communities of southern Ohio divided between the 2nd Congressional District in the West and the 6th Congressional District in the East, area residents were eager to sign the anti-gerrymandering (Fair Districts=Fair Elections) petition, and volunteers signed petition booklets to secure additional signatures.  In this effort, members of the SOPM have joined forces with the local Democratic Party in Adams and Scioto counties; the Republicans are noticeably absent from the field of election law reformers.


Attorney Richard Crosby visited Portsmouth to discusses his candidacy for US Representative in Ohio's 2nd District.  (Photo Credit:  Submitted Photo, SOPM Media)

The SOPM meeting also gave Portsmouth area residents their first chance to meet and hear Richard Crosby, candidate for Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District. At a time when our elected representative Brad Wenstrup has restricted his constituent visits to small private affairs, Crosby has now joined the list of Democratic contenders who have visited Portsmouth and made an effort to meet with the district’s progressives during the first months of the new Trump Administration. Possible Democratic contenders who have now made it to Portsmouth include: Mickey Edwards, Janet Everhard, Jerry Springer, and Richard Crosby. Springer has not officially entered the race, but the Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that he is considering a run after having spoken at recent Democratic party events throughout the district.

National attention may currently be on a handful of special Congressional elections, such as that in Georgia’s 6th District, but for us in southern Ohio the 2018 midterm elections are already on our horizon. Local progressive organizations, such as the Ross County Indivisible Resistance, have begun making endorsements. A new progressive-funded SuperPAC dedicated to defeating Brad Wenstrup -- Change for Ohio District 2 -- is being launched this summer. And Tim Ryan and other Democratic Congressional leaders have joined with Krystal Ball to establish the People’s House Project, a PAC focused on funding progressive Democratic candidates in Appalachia and other Rustbelt districts that recently voted in favor of Trump, places like southern Ohio, so-called “Trump Country.”

While some say the Ross County Resisters have jumped the gun when they recently endorsed Richard Crosby, we say now is the time for local, independent progressive organizations to begin making their endorsements. With the Democratic party primary scheduled for Spring 2018 — less than a year from now — area progressives need to pick the best candidate, a people’s candidate, one that can and will defeat Brad Wenstrup in November 2018.

Supporters of the Fair Districts=Fair Election petition have pointed to the gerrymandered-nature of the 2nd District as an example of how Ohio Republicans have chosen their voters, rather than an example of how voters have chosen their representatives. The 2nd, as it exists today, was designed to be red and thus, under the current district map, political commentators quickly note how difficult it will be for any Democratic candidate, even Jerry Springer, with all his fame and infamy, to defeat Wenstrup.

When asked how he planned to defeat Wenstrup, Crosby said he and his campaign had set the ambitious goal of knocking on every door in the district, TWICE. In short, Crosby knows this campaign is going to be won on the ground through personal contact with the residents of southern Ohio and, to do so, that candidate is going to need a small army of local organizers, a grassroots approach, modeled on lessons drawn from the Sanders and original Obama campaigns.


Andrew Crosby and family. (Photo Credit: Crosby for Congress Campaign).

The SOPM is in the midst of finalizing its bylaws and setting its endorsement procedures, which, when adopted, will allow its members to cast a secret ballot vote for their candidate of choice. Candidates will be given an opportunity to answer a questionnaire, which will be made available to the public via the SOPM website.

Everyone expects the Republicans to lose congressional seats in the Fall 2018 midterms. This is generally acknowledged as a given. “Since 1934,” according to the folks at Ballotpedia, “the party of a newly elected president has suffered an average loss of 23 seats in the House in the following midterm. The party of a newly elected president has gained seats in the House in the following midterm only twice since then.” The odds, in other words, are in favor of the Democrats.

Steve Phillips, writing in the Nation, noted “Democrats need a net pickup of 24 House seats to retake control, and there are 23 Republican incumbents in congressional districts that were won by Hillary Clinton in November.” If the average holds and the Republicans lose only 23 seats, they will still have a slimmest of majorities. Surely, as we get closer and closer to the midterm elections, more and more Americans are going to be looking to a Democratic-controlled Congress as a bulwark against a GOP-backed Trump Administration.

Thanks to the gerrymandering foisted upon the people of southern Ohio, it may prove particularly difficult for any Democrat to defeat Wenstrup come November 2018. But, if there is a chance, and those in attendance at the June meeting of the SOPM believe there truly is a chance, we believe it is doubly important for progressives to unite early to ensure that the Democratic candidate in the general election is a real candidate, with a real campaign, and a real fighting chance.

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