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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

OH-16: Ralph Regula Running Again...Open Seat Soon?

Posted by Tim Tagaris

Given that I currently live in the 16th District and my first congressional campaign work was for Jeff Seemann against Congressman Regula, I found this interesting.

Rep. Ralph Regula, one of the longest-serving and most powerful members of Congress, plans to seek an 18th term next year, he said Friday. “That’s my present plan,” Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, said after returning from Phoenix, where he collected a Policy Leader of the Year award from the National Association of State Boards of Education.

"You know, I have great health and I have a great position on appropriations and I can do a lot of good things, not only for the 16th District but for all of Ohio.”

Normally I can muster up a good deal of distate for an opponent (ie. Bob Casey Jr.), but I had a hard time doing so with Congressman Regula. I think he is genuinely a good man that made the mistake of drifting right during his quest to chair the appropriations committee (and recently on CAFTA). There was a lot of speculation that after he was passed over for the chair, despite seniority, he would throw in the towel. He was denied the capstone on a long career, and part of me expected it as well when I heard the news. But this will undoubtedly be his last race. Regula's son, Richard, is a county commissioner in the largest county within the 16th, Stark County.

The elder Regula would have probably called it quits had his son not had a re-election campaign this time around. If Richard ran for Congress and lost, he would be out of a job. By waiting two years Richard can keep his commissioner position if he loses an election for federal office. With Ralph Regula's overwhelming approval (they literally have buildings in his honor and the man is still alive), he would have to be considered a favorite. There is also speculation that he would run and abdicate his seat soon after the election, giving Richard an even better shot at the seat because of the protracted campaign and the Regula name ID that has to be in the upper 80s at least.

The DCCC says they are going to target this seat in 2006, which remains to be seen. I know there are a few good candidates in the district, including State Representative Jamey Healy. I am personally a big fan of Jamey, and hope that he does give it a go at some point. His father was a very popular Mayor of Canton, the largest city in the district and would have to be considered among the best potential candidates to claim this seat for the Dems. I'd be hard pressed to think the elder Regula could be beat, but junior is another story. The Republicans will probably have a bitter primary as well when the seat opens. Both State Senator Kurt Schuring (who will be term-limited out) and State Rep. Scott Oeslager are probably looking at the seat on the Republican side of the aisle.

Posted at 08:41 AM in Ohio | Technorati

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I grew up in a politically active family in the 16th where my family still lives.
First of all, I don't think Jamey Healy's father was mayor of Canton, but state rep, the same seat that Jamey holds -- and while it is nice that you like Ralph Regula -- he has consistently voted against the interests of the constituents in this district. Economically the area is devastated, thanks in large part to Republican policies. Ralph Regula votes Republican leadership ideology, not economic interests of the people that he represents. Yes, due to his name recongition alone, he is difficult to beat -- but he has never had a good well financed candidate that held him accountable for his votes. It may be time to do that. Yeah, he's a nice guy, but a lousy representative of the people of the 16th. I do think there will be a backlash against Republicans in Ohio in the next election, and I also think this is the year to beat Regula -- if it can be done. And I hope someone with political prowess takes him on.

Posted by: CalDemGal [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 18, 2005 02:09 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Yeah, Jamey's father was the mayor. And I do agree that Ralph has tilted dramatically to the right, but for the most part that has only happened in recent years, especially during the race for approp. chair. Before that, it wasn't that uncommon to be pleasantly surprised by Regula, and he was often accomodating in his subcommittee. Obviously that has all changed. I was hoping he would come back to earth when he got snubbed, but CAFTA was not a good indicator.

However, he or his son are going to be a tough beat in 2006, 2007, or 2008. Personally, I think Jamey is one of the few people in the district that have a chance.

Posted by: Tim Tagaris [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 18, 2005 02:13 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Sorry, Tim, just hung up the phone with Jamey Healy and he confirmed that his father was never the mayor of Canton. He told me to tell you that his father ran, but didn't win. We all make mistakes but you might want to double check your facts before re-posting inaccuate information.

Posted by: CalDemGal [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 19, 2005 04:26 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Tim -

Bill Healy was never the mayor of Canton. He served for many years in the Ohio House of Representatives. The following people have been mayor since 1950: Thomas Nichols, Carl Wise, Charles L. Babcock, James Lawhoun, Stanley Cmich, Sam Purses, Richard Watkins and Janet Creighton.

Rep. Regula has done some positive things for Stark County, but he has sided to often with his party on a number of issues that have hurt Stark County and left it an economic wasteland.

Efforts to attract new manufacturing and other enterprises offering high-paying jobs have failed and he is partly to blame.

The current Rep. Healy may be too green for a jump to Congress, though I would love to see a Democrat representing the 16th District.

We have had some decent candidates in the past, such as Warner Mendenhall and Jeff Orenstein.

Sadly, one great candidate passed away several years ago - Bob Horowitz.

I will vote against a "Regula Dynasty"

Posted by: David Michaels [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 27, 2005 01:09 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment