My first paid staff position on a political campaign was in 1992, when I was handed the northwest corner of Ohio as a field coordinator.? For this 25 year old, wet behind the ears staffer, Wood County quickly became my favorite.? First lesson – you DO NOT fuck with Wood County Democrats.? It was, and still is, an oasis of Democratic blue in a desert of red counties.? As such, Wood County Democrats are one tough bunch.? Al Baldwin, the county Democratic Party chair at the time, was straight from old school central casting.? I still tell those war stories.

Jennifer Brunner has such a war story now.

The Wood County Democratic Party endorsed Jennifer Brunner for US Senate on March 5.? Accounts about this endorsement meeting have been circulating for a while, and based on a little asking around, here’s what happened.

As we noted yesterday, Lee Fisher paid for so many robocalls to the Wood County party executive committee that he had to apologize for them to the executive committee, at the endorsement meeting.? After this apology, and the presentation of both Lee and Jennifer Brunner, Lee refused to leave the room for the vote.? Then somehow, either Lee made this motion or one of his people did, Lee forced a roll call voice vote on the endorsement – by name, each member of the executive committee was required to announce their vote in public, which Lee watched like a hawk.

Now, if this had occurred in a post soviet republic, the OSCE observer present would have taken a frenzied detailed account and reported it to the OSCE observation mission immediately.? Many meetings, for days, would ensue among the diplomatic corps, it probably would have reached the ambassador level.? The incident would have certainly made it to the OSCE’s preliminary statement issued to the assembled international press the day after the election, the BBC might even have reported it, certainly Radio Free Europe would have.? After that, the OSCE would have investigated the incident thoroughly for inclusion in its final post election report issued 6 weeks later.

It is that level of offense against democracy. As a former NDI staffer, when I heard this story, at first my heart was sick.

At first.

Because unlike a former soviet republic, where such an intimidation tactic would certainly have worked, the Wood County Democratic Party executive committee told Lee Fisher, to his face, one by one, by name, to eat it.? The vote was 28 for Brunner, 20 for Lee, and 5 abstaining.? While Lee watched.

This is why Lee Fisher will lose this primary, and why if by some miracle he doesn’t, it’s why Lee will lose in the fall.? It’s why Lee’s attempt to get a last minute ODP endorsement failed.? It is vintage Lee Fisher.? Spend a ton of money literally repelling the voters he needs, assume the result is owed to him, attempt to strong arm that result, only to fail utterly.

Thank God Jennifer Brunner filed for this race.

And Thank God for Wood County Democrats.

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  • geoffreysea

    Tim, we don't always agree, but you nailed this story. Fisher does represent the Bolshevik-tactics wing of the ODP. Having spent many months in the former Soviet Union as a journalist, I saw these employed at political meetings there — and here. And yes, that's why Lee Fisher will lose. All those donors paid for robocalls for a robocandidate.

    Now if you'd only realize that these tactics have been standard fare in the Appalachian part of Ohio for 180 years. The rest of you are now getting a taste of what Appalachian Ohioans have endured from the Democratic Party all along, with blatantly rigged nominations and elections. Put simply, it wouldn't be news here. Ted Strickland, our hometown boy, held a “town meeting” in my town in 2008 where he took no questions.

    Get that? A TOWN MEETING with NO audience participation.

    It's become a very strange habit of you guys at Plunderbund to try to separate Strickland and Fisher as if they aren't apples off the same tree, but in this piece you've hit the core of the matter. Strickland and Fisher have no future in politics, because they are not democrats.

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