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.