Kevin Bacon is a freshman Senator from a district of moderate ticket-splitters. Senate District 3 voted for Obama in 2008 and Strickland in 2010, even as they replaced a term-limited Republican (David Goodman) with Bacon to represent them in the Ohio Senate. It’s a swing district, and Bacon won it in part by beating out his opponent for some key endorsements from labor. In fact, of the 19 endorsements listed on his campaign page, four are from union-affiliated groups.

I was curious, so I emailed the unions that endorsed candidate Bacon, and asked them: if they knew then what they know now, would they endorse him again? These are some of the comments I got back:

“we would not endorse HIM again.”

“I would be inclined to mobilize and remove him from office at the first opportunity.”

“We will hold him responsible for his lack of truthfulness”

And I got a heads-up that one of them would be considering a motion to officially retract that endorsement.

People, including us here at Plunderbund, have looked at heavy labor districts as places where sitting Republicans would be committing political suicide by voting for SB 5, which is why many senators from such districts did not end up voting for it, and some who did tried to distance themselves. Kevin Bacon’s district is not one of those districts, and he never wavered in his support. That shouldn’t fool either party – more than 20% of Bacon’s listed endorsers, specifically key endorsements for swaying swing voters, are no longer on board. This vote has made Bacon vulnerable in 2014, and I don’t expect that to change over the next 4 years.

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  • Herschelm

    I only voted for him because Kara Sedgwick is such a fine actress. I never thought that much of his work.

  • Herschelm

    I only voted for him because Kara Sedgwick is such a fine actress. I never thought that much of his work.

  • Reader 1

    Jason, I think you’re implicitly suggesting that the Democratic alternative to Mr. Bacon in the general election would have been preferable and that the unions had a better alternative for their endorsement. I doubt that either was the case.

    The seven-way Democratic primary was hijacked by a candidate who benefited from a campaign mailer that falsely implied that he was the endorsed candidate when in fact that was not the case. The whole debacle left the Democrats with a weak candidate in the district, so it’s hardly surprising that the unions opted to endorse Mr. Bacon instead.

    Also, given some of the views that Mr. Bacon’s Democratic opponent espoused during the campaign, I don’t think that he could have been a counted as a certain “no” vote on SB 5 even if he had been elected.

    Mr. Bacon could suffer politically when he is next up for reelection, but that will also hinge on whether the Democratic party can actually nominate a strong candidate.

  • You have to remember how the Democratic primary happened here in the 3rd state senate district in 2010.

    As I remember there were SEVEN people running with the favorite being Bexley City Council Member Ben Kessler. However Kessler did not win the Democratic primary, a self described conservative Republican named Mark Pfeifer did by sending out a mailer that looked like a sample ballot.

    There were people talking about trying to run an actual Democrat as a write-in but it of course didn’t happen.

  • Kessler’s defeat was one of two that caused me to disengage from politics pretty completely for several months, and Pfeifer was a very weak candidate once his one underhanded trick had been played. Organizations often choose not to endorse anyone. My guess is that nobody is going to retroactively endorse Pfeifer in the way that they may be retracting endorsements of Bacon.

    You’re absolutely right that the Dems need a stronger candidate. The truth is that even a good candidate in a non-wave year would typically have their hands full against a GOP incumbent in that district. I’m simply pointing out that the fallout from this vote spreads wider than many realize, and that this district shouldn’t be considered a second tier opportunity.

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