First of all….nice touch, Mr. Chairman.  This is how it’s done.  Everyone gets kicked in the teeth, is feeling low, and the day after the election, the state chair is making calls to give folks a pep talk.  Bravo.  Someone tell Lee Fisher that.

Redfern basically echoed this post, to say this result was not as bad as it’s made out to be.  (a post which I serendipitously published minutes before he called).  To quote, “you know what the day after election day is?  Wednesday.” Redfern said that the problem in 1994 was “institutional”, referring to how close ODP came to losing major party status.  He noted that after most mid-terms, most state parties practically disappear.  In 1994, ODP didn’t just disappear, it was buried, the earth had been salted over it, and they were hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

Redfern made it very clear that ODP is going to stay active at the grassroots after 2010 to a degree that never happens after a mid-term, let alone a mid-term tsunami.  Redfern said he planned to keep all the 350 field staff engaged with the ODP, if not on staff.  I asked how many would stay on the payroll, and Redfern said that depends on budget, but of course not all would stay on staff.

We talked a bit about re-districting.  Redfern expects the census to take 2 seats from Ohio.  Redfern said he planned to keep Jon Husted to his promise of putting re-districting on the ballot.   Redfern does not believe, as has been rumored, that Dennis Kucinich and Marcia Fudge would be pitted against each other by a new map.  Voting rights restrictions would probably keep Marcia safe.

One point where we disagreed was on Ed Fitzgerald in Cuyahoga County, but that disagreement went unsaid.  Redfern mentioned Fitzgerald and Stu Garson by name as beginning to rebuild the county party.  I just kept mum.  I asked why Cuyahoga turnout was so low.  Redfern basically blamed the county corruption scandal, which is fine.  But I don’t see a single thing in Ed Fitzgerald’s operation that would suggest he can rebuild the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party to the point of being a turnout machine, and this election is Exhibit A.

Fitzgerald was invisible at the grassroots this entire campaign, including during his primary, which I had a front row seat to observe as a county council candidate.  My target precincts in council district 7 were the highest turnout precincts in District 7 in the city of Cleveland, by far, and maybe in the entire city.  I saw no indication all summer of grassroots activity for Fitzgerald in those precincts, which he certainly would have targeted if he knew what the hell he was doing.  This needs to be fixed, or there won’t be any party to rely on for turnout in 2012, yet again, and ODP will have to do it all itself, yet again.

I then asked him to please tell President Obama that he’s not allowed to talk during my mother’s soap operas, which she records to watch later, and which today were erased by the President’s press conference.

All in all, breaking news – Russo and Redfern have a cordial conversation!  That must really mean it’s not all that bad today in Ohio.

  • Anonymous

    Is the party in a better position for 2012 than 1994? Absolutely.
    Is Chris Redfern and the ODP a heck of an organization that left nothing on the table going into last night? Sure.

    But that still doesn’t mean are losses weren’t as bad in 1994, or as big of a repudiation of the President in 1994, Tim. That’s where you and I simple diverge.

    Of course we did “better” last night, as defined by we didn’t lose “as bad” as we did in 1994, but close only matters in horseshoes and hand granades. We also didn’t have 4 statewide incumbents in 1994. We had only one.

    I’m glad to hear we’ll have a sizeable field staff still around until 2012. We’re going to need it.

  • Anonymous


    Ditto on FitzGerald being invisible. I had to Google him when my ballot came in the mail.

  • redhorse

    I ain’t buying. The seeds of last night were planted in December 2005 when the ODP chair was decided. After that marriage of convenience, what Ted wanted, Chris tried to give him, and vice versa. This worked fine in 2006 and 2008 b/c in the blue waves, how could it go wrong.

    But it eventually gave us Candidate Lee. Rich the Inevitable. And a 2010 campaign that looked tired, hackneyed, and, worst of all, slow.

    Mr. Fern is the wrong messenger. It’s a shame he won’t pay for his disservice to the party b/c in case no one has noticed, Chris Redfern is the last statewide Democrat standing.

  • Medina Buck

    I am commenting from afar, but I know this much. I was at Impact Ohio following the last election and Chris Redfern was an insufferable cocky guy. Bragging about how his leadership produced victories and now dodging the bullet when he loses. Plain and simple R’s in Washington were not looking forward to a Brunner/Portman race and the team of Redfern/Strickland delivered the result that that they wanted. Had the Senate race been closer, the entire slate would have had an opportunity.

    MSNBC said the Ohio D’s had the 3rd largest and best equipped operation in the entire USA and were SWEPT. Lost 5 seats in the house, the Ohio House. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and a freaking seat in the Senate. At what point in time do people hold Redfern accountable.

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  • stickline65

    The hating and the drama… what did you do Russo to gain such a high ground. The hate was there EVEN WHEN THE PARTY WAS WINNING. Bunch of haters. The mission of ODP is to RAISE money and stand behind qualified candidiates, nurture yet to run candidates and produce world class if not state class leaders.

    People like Medina Buck…need to ask themselves….what did you do for the party? It takes thousands of volunteers and organization. Complaining and pointing the finger is what this party did for decades. While democrats sat on their butts and WISHED they could win an election. 16 years of not even showing up to the dance. It took one superstar to bring healthy arrogance and style to the party. TEll it like it was and snap these local parties together with new blood. Dont give me this crap about diapers. You were losing races for the last 16 years with no competition

    We get a smart guy to run ODP, who raises the money, barks at the enemy and is enthusiastic about Democrats and you want to villify him. Why? Because you are bored.

    The Repbulicans circle the wagon. Regenerate. Respect each other and move on to the next cycle. They are the party of hate and do nothing. When 20% of the population in urban areas are unemployed….and this country is crushed by a banking and finance crisis left by the last bozo in power, where do you begin. You tell the story of how you saved the state…AND STRICKLAND and ODP did. Obama DID.

    But the only way a citizen can express his anger, whether or not misdirected is through his vote. The effort was there by ODP….in ridiculous incredible measures of effort. By the State Party. The local parties can blame themselves in my humble opinion. The dough flows down hill. What did they do with the opportunity?

    You can give me all the stats and BS you want about races. The State party did its job. The local organzations needs to look at their internal structure and find meaning in their role and efforts. ODP cant make local energy happen. ODP cannot buy an election. ODP can provide a % of the infrastructure and core working staff. TO ASSIST LOCAL ORGANIZATONS. Not to be that local machine, but to invest, assist and advise.

    ODP raised an unprecedented 35mm dollars and made 3mm calls to voters ….canvassers, media….

    At the end of the day….BLUE dog democrats torpedoed their own party. They will pay with their jobs, lack of prosperity, and a great sucking sound from school systems that will collapse without State support.

    If there was some superstar that could raise 40 million dollars, and make 4 million calls, and created a sitting governor to run for a second term– then we would have considered that person. Show me a more professional harder fighting state organzation in this country.

    Tim Russo is a jerk. Ask the sitting mayors, people that are in power regarding ODP and Redfern. Love love love love. They know they did not turn out the vote and they will suffer. Cant blame ODP for everything. And certainly not for dumping a bucket of money into Ohio for Democrats. JOB WELL DONE Chariman.

    Your name should be Rusto…cuz your story is one from a rusted out crevace in a basement where you think of hate. Do us all a favor and retire your blog and go back to your mothers soap operas where you think up your hate bombs.

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