I think Jennifer Brunner would make a great Senator. And if she has a real interest in being in the US Senate, then 2010 is probably the only chance she is going to get for a very, very long time.
On the flip side, everyone understands that it’s vital for the Dems to have a majority on the Apportionment Board – so maintaining control of the Secretary of State’s office must be a priority going into 2010. Obviously our best chance to do that is with Brunner running for reelection and not running for Senate.
That said, I think Modern over at BSB has come up with pretty good plan that would allow Brunner to run for Senate while still giving us a solid advantage in the 2010 SOS race.
In short, Brunner needs to declare her intention to run for the Senate ASAP and then resign before the end of the year so that Governor Strickland can appoint a well-liked, well-known replacement who will be able to run as an incumbent. He suggests Eric Fingerhut or Lee Fisher.
It’s actually a pretty solid plan. And might work. Still, I can’t help playing devil’s advocate, so here is my initial list of potential problems.
My biggest concern is that the whole thing comes across as overly political and turns off voters.
Brunner comes across as a selfish politician more concerned with moving up the ladder than serving the people of Ohio.
Strickland comes across as overly partisan and more concerned with helping his political party gain more control than with trying to help solve the big problems facing the state.
For example, if he picks Fingerhut to replace Brunner then people will question his dedication to solving Ohio’s education problem.
And if he picks Fisher then they will ask the same question about the economy since Fisher is heading up the department of development.
Never underestimate the GOP spin machine.
Speaking of which, the current GOP complaints about election problems under Brunner aren’t very believable, but if she resigns they might be able to make a more believable case. (e.g. Scary Voice in Anti-Brunner Ad: If she doesn’t have anything to hide then when did she resign?)
I tend to agree with Modern that Brunner is a better candidate for the Senate than Fisher. (I actually think Fingerhut might be the best Senator – just not sure he’d be able to win the election.)
But there are a lot of risks here. A lot of unknowns. And she really should take all of this into consideration when making her decision.
Of course, if Ray Miller is the other choice for Senate candidates, then I don’t think she has any choice but to run.