Jennifer Garrison was not, BY FAR, my first pick for SOS candidate. (Brunner was, but that’s a whole different story that I’m not going to go into right now).

And while I highly disagree with the tactics Garrison chose to beat Hollister in 2004, it’s worth noting that she actually did beat Hollister. She did WIN her seat. And then she did it again two more times. Which is much more than I can say for many of the other people whose names we’re throwing around right now as possible Democratic candidates for state-wide office.

I think cheering Garrison’s resignation from politics – especially the part about her abandoning the Ohio House seat she holds now – is short-sighted and pretty selfish.

In 2004, when Ohio passed it’s horrible anti-gay-marriage laws, the Ohio House was made up of 60 Republicans and 39 Democrats. That’s the year Garrison won her seat.

In 2006, it shifted slightly to 53 Republicans and 46 Democrats.

And in 2008 it changed again to 53 Dems and 46 Republicans.

2008 was a big year for Dems. It was a big shift in the Ohio legislature after over a decade of Republican control of the General Assembly.

And Garrison held her seat through all of those cycles.

But 2008 is not typical. And while we may be able to carry a limited majority through to the next election, the seven-vote majority we have right now will certainly be shrinking after November.

And right now that majority in the House is the only thing we have going for us, except for a Democrat as Governor.

Right now, that majority is the only leverage we have in the legislature. And it goes against all of my pragmatic sensibilites to say we should throw out one of our stronger members of the Ohio House just because she made some bad campaign decisions 6 years ago.

If we didn’t have the current House majority, the Republicans would most assuredly start pushing through more crazy, right-wing legislation. More anti-gay, anti-labor, anti-immigrant, anti-choice bills.

Right now, despite her shady past, Garrison is our best hope for holding on to her seat and for helping to ensure our Democratic Governor’s agenda gets promoted and pursued.

Right now we need to hold on to a majority in the Ohio House. And that means holding on to Garrison’s seat.

I know as bloggers it’s much easier for us to say “my way or the highway” and to run with whatever random rant we want to give in support of our side of the story. But it’s just not that simple in this case.

Yes, Garrison made some bad tactical campaign choices. Yes, we should avoid making Garrison our poster-gal.

But to rejoice over the fact that a strong, electable Democratic politician is abandoning her seat in the Ohio House of Representatives is just insane unless we have an even better candidate to take her place.

Once we’re all done patting ourselves on the back for driving Garrison out of the Democratic party and out of Ohio politics, I’d really like to hear what our big plan is for holding on to her seat and preserving our majority in at least one half of the General Assembly.

  • Democratic politician. You sure about that? If you want to blame anyone for losing Jennifer's seat, blame her. She's the one who is quitting. We can't get shit done anyway without the Senate, so a house majority feels a bit like boar tits. Take HB176 for instance. Complete moral victory with no impactful policy change.

    Bad tactical campaign choices? LOL. That's the best spin I've seen on 2004 yet! Give Carlo a call. You have a future in Republican spin.

    Earth to Joseph: Having her as our SOS candidate pretty much makes her our poster girl! Here's a plan. Pick better candidates and run them in every competitive house district we can.

    Garrison can kiss my ass, especially since she couldn't leave well enough alone and cede her statewide run without attempting to torch the place.

    Fuck her.

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  • Holding the House doesn't necessarily mean we are going to get all of our bills through the GA, but it does mean we aren't going to see tons of evil conservative bills breezing their way through the legislature.

    I'm happy to see Redfern stepping up and making some decisions that are good for the party. And if that means pissing off some people in the process then he's probably doing something right.

    But cheering the loss of a house seat to an ACTUAL Republican is nonsense.

  • Shalom Y'all,

    From my hometown newspaper, The Marietta Times:

    Washington County Democratic Chair Molly Varner said many Democrats failed to warm up to Garrison's candidacy because of her conservative stances on key social issues, like abortion and gun control. She said some Democrats doubted Garrison could draw enough support to win the election.

    “Yes, she is conservative, but she is held in very good stead with voters in this district,” Varner said. “And I would think she would be kept in good stead and attract many voters across the state of Ohio – many of whom are conservative and very much anti-abortion and pro-gun.”

    Candidates have until Feb. 18 to file to run for Garrison's seat in the House of Representatives.

    I'm not hearing anything yet on who is likely to file and run to replace Garrison, but I am checking.



  • Strickland has “A” rating from the NRA.

    Just saying.

  • Shalom Joseph,

    The summer then Representative Ted Strickland ran for governor I spent some time in Marietta talking to people about him.

    Marietta is a small community of only some 14,000 souls. As a part of Strickland's former district, it's only a small piece. Generally it is overlooked in Ohio politics but it is the center in many way of Southeastern Ohio.

    Growing up in, and around, Marietta during the '60s and '70s I remember it as a solid Democratic stronghold (my memory may not match reality, but I haven't checked records). A great deal of this, I believe, was because the strong industrial base along the Ohio River guaranteed low, and in many cases, no property taxes, as well as good union jobs with real futures.

    That changed in the late '70s and '80s. While Northeastern Ohio became the rust belt, prosperity in Southeastern Ohio washed down river as plant after plant closed. There are many reasons for the closing, not the least was the Clean Water Act that rightly put the stops on chemical plants using the Ohio River as their private sewer.

    While the CWA belonged to then President Richard Nixon, many, I believe, laid the blame for the closings on liberals, i.e. Democrats.

    While Strickland was their representative, the small number of people I spoke with were uneasy with him, even when they admitted that they had reluctantly cast their vote for the Democrat rather than the Republican.

    I can't recall one person in my unrepresentative sample who mentioned Strickland's support from the NRA (of which I was a member for many years.)



  • You need to go back and re-read all the Garrison writing.

    She told Subodh Chandra, to his face, that no one in her part of the state would vote for someone “who looked like you”.

    She didn't make a “tactical” choice, she ran a well planned gay baiting campaign, her entire campaign in 2004.

    She opposes a woman's right to choose in every instance, including rape and incest.

    This woman is not a Democrat, Joe. Period.

    To prove she isn't a Democrat, Garrison is the one, not bloggers, who took herself off the ballot for her own House seat. She is the one jeopardizing Dem hold on the House, for her own petulant petty reasons.

    Everything she will do from now on will prove that she is precisely the kind of politician we have been saying she is – namely, a Republican.

    I can't wait to hear what you say when she turns around and gives her money to Republicans, joins the Republican Party, and shows up at a tea party.

  • As your story clearly illustrates, when you are dealing with individual populations in a specific district like this, populations with their own history and their own needs, the one-size-fits-all model doesn't work.

    Every Dem doesn't need to be a bleeding heart liberal. If we were, we'd find ourselves competing for scraps with the Greens.

  • She is a Democrat, actually. She votes with the Dems. And she doesn't give money to Republicans or tour the state with Kasich decrying Strickland's handling of the budget while praising Kasich's plan to dump Ohio's personal income tax.

    If she does, then I'll post about how I was wrong.

    But right now we need to hold on to her seat. And that might require everyone to take a deep breath, count to three, and try to remember that this is a political battle for control of the legislature and not a playground where everyone gangs up on the different kid and taunts him until he cries and runs home.

    I may not like her personally. And I don't think she is the person we want representing Dems in statewide office. And I completely disagree with her on important social issues.

    But she won her last election with 71%. And she is a Democrat. And right now we need as many Dems in the General Assembly as we can get.

  • If she is a Democrat, she should run for re-election to keep the Democratic majority. She isn't running for re-election.

    You're right, this isn't a playground, neither is it bean bag. Garrison is treating it like both, taking her ball and going home at the party's realization that she is poison to our statewide ticket. Cry me a fucking river.

    I've got a sex felony conviction, and I'm running for public office. If Jen Garrison is looking for sympathy because she's getting beat up over policy issues and therefore can't be on the statewide ticket, she's barking up the wrong tree. If you want to give her that sympathy, be my guest, but your sympathy is misplaced.

    Garrison put the House Dems in a position of having to find a new candidate for her seat, not bloggers. Garrison is putting the House Dem majority at risk, not bloggers. All because ODP realized that Garrison also put the entire statewide ticket at risk. Again, not bloggers.

    And Garrison, as sure as the sun coming up tomorrow, tried to use precisely your narrative as a threat to prevent her removal from the ticket. Well, ODP called her bluff. So she folded and went home. Wahmbulance duly notified.

  • Shalom Joseph,

    That's true, you're absolutely correct. Litmus tests do not help us.

    We are right to push for the agenda we support, but wrong to throw out the baby with the bathwater.



  • By that logic, Brunner should show her party loyalty by returning to the SOS race to help the party maintain control of the apportionment board.

    Anyway I'm not defending Garrison. I don't feel sorry for her. I'm glad Redfern forced her out of the SOS race. But I am not going to cheer her departure from politics and the subsequent abandonment of her house seat .

  • So you think I should start a “Draft Jennifer Garrison” Facebook group to encourage her to run for her current seat?

  • mvirenicus

    I dunno. What's wrong with the principles of democratic centralization and party discipline, meaning that debate and disagreement within the party is encouraged, but when the party, through internal majority vote, decides on an issue stance, it is incumbent upon each party member to present a united party front to the public on those democratically decided issues?

  • MattCS

    Because that would be crazy talk.

    We can't go around doing ratiional reasonable things in most political arenas. I almost half believe that they live on the drama more then they do on presenting the uniform front, or at the least being seen as the 'rebel'.

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