House Republicans Are Losing Another Non-Fascist-- As Steve Stivers (OH) Announces He's Giving Up

You probably heard by now that Ohio bankster/congressman Steve Stivers, who was widely expected to run for the open Senate seat, is instead retiring from Congress to head the state Chamber of Commerce. He announced/tweeted this morning that he's not even going to finish his term, but quit May 16, forcing a special election in the red-leaning 15th congressional district (R+7). The banks, payday lenders and insurance companies will miss his leadership on the House Financial Services Committee, where he spoke for them day in and day out. He is the ranking member of the Monetary Policy subcommittee and senior member of the subcommittee on Investor Protection, which he did all he could to negate.

His gerrymandered district was created to oust popular progressive Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy from her seat. Before the gerrymander, Obama won the district by 9 points. After that he lost it by 6 points. Trump won by 15 points against Hillary and by 14 points against Biden. This past November Stivers beat an unsupported Democrat, Joel Newby 243,103 (63.4%) to 140,183 (36.6%). Stivers spent $2,293,101 on the race, while Newby spent $55,797.

The large suburban/exurban/rural district in central Ohio consists of all or part of a dozen counties but most of the voters live in blue-trending Franklin, deep red Fairfield, deep blue Athens and deep red Pickaway. The district is about 90% white and the Columbus neighborhoods and suburbs it includes are relatively affluent white areas, like Upper Arlington, where Stivers lives when he's not in Washington. The Republican gerrymanderers in the state legislature went to great lengths to "pack" the 3rd district with Democrats so as to create Stivers' safe red 15th district as you can see in the map below. District boundaries like that should be illegal.

I asked my contact at the DCCC if they will contest the seat. He just laughed, which I took to mean "no." But then said he thinks the DCCC would jump in if Liz Brown runs. She's Sherrod Brown's daughter and a member of the Columbus City Council. People have already started urging her to run but conventional wisdom is that she'll wait and see what redistricting looks like before she jumps into any congressional race. Other Democrats who already have a buzz going include state Sen. Adam Miller, John Kulewicz, wealthy, establishment Upper Arlington City Council member, Franklin County Auditor Michael Stinziano, state reps Allison Russo and Tina Maharath. If Brown doesn't run, Stinziano would probably have a leg up for the nomination.

None of the probable GOP candidates are all that impressive-- state senators Bob Peterson, Stephanie Kunze and Tim Schaffer; state reps. Jeff LaRe and Brian Stewart; and a former Kasich administration lawyer Mehek Cooke. "This is a real crowd of 3rd raters, one of my friends in Columbus told me, "but if I had to guess, I'd say Peterson and Kunze would be the frontrunners."