This week’s issue of CityBeat profiles three of the candidates in the hotly contested race for Ohio’s 1st Congressional District seat. Not surprisingly, two of the candidates are claiming that the other misrepresented or distorted his views.
The campaign of Republican incumbent Steve Chabot took umbrage at a paraphrased statement from his Democratic challenger, Steve Driehaus, that pertained to housing issues. It read, “Worse, Chabot hasn’t proposed any legislation that would help the wave of foreclosures and resulting blight that has swept the West Side over the past few years.”
Katie Fox, Chabot’s spokeswoman, noted the congressman addressed the foreclosure and mortgage crisis by passing a bill in December in a compromise with U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) that gave bankruptcy judges the discretion to modify the value of a mortgage to the true market price and to adjust the interest rate. It applied only to debtors who file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and lack the income to pay their expenses, according to The Hill newspaper.
The Driehaus campaign responded by pointing out the statement referred to Chabot’s entire 14-year period in office, and specifically stated that the mortgage crisis was causing blight on Cincinnati’s West Side for years before Chabot acted.
Meanwhile, Driehaus also is criticizing TV commercials that Chabot and the national Republican Party are airing that allege Driehaus hasn’t taken a stance on the $850 billion Wall Street bailout plan approved recently by Congress. Chabot opposed the plan.
Driehaus says he’s made it clear he would’ve reluctantly voted for the plan had he been in Congress. “We had to do something, but I think it’s ridiculous that pork spending was put into this bill,” he said. “It would be irresponsible for Congress to allow the financial markets to fail.”
Further, Driehaus criticizes local republicans for waging a whisper campaign alleging that he doesn’t support Barack Obama, the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. Some West Side residents perceive Obama as too liberal for their tastes. Driehaus has appeared at events with Obama, and his Web site features a photograph of him with the Illinois senator.
Not everyone’s convinced of Driehaus’ sincerity, though. Democrat Eric Wilson, an outspoken Obama supporter who’s running for the seat as an independent write-in candidate, said, “I know the political games. You go to the West Side of town and don’t mention Obama’s name at appearances.”
— Kevin Osborne
You can start early voting in Ohio and, for the next week, register to vote and vote on the same visit to the Board of Elections.
The last day to register to vote in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky and still be able to take part in this year’s election is Monday, Oct. 6. If you aren’t registered, check with your local county board of elections office to find out what you need to do.
In southwest Ohio those offices are:
Brown County Board of Elections: 937-378-3008 and 866-368-3598
Butler County Board of Elections: 513-887-3700
Clermont County Board of Elections: 513-732-7275
Hamilton County Board of Elections: 513-632-7000
— Margo Pierce
Just gathering anecdotal info from CityBeat staffers and photographers, voting is going well so far. Long lines have been reported in Clifton, Northside, College Hill and the West Side, with voting this morning at the Main Public Library downtown taking 90 minutes. Basically, as expected, every precinct is seeing more voters than normal but there are no major problems reported (other than a lack of parking at certain schools and churches).
Breaking with the wishes of Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, a special prosecutor appointed to investigate allegations of voter registration fraud said today there’s no need to quarantine the votes in question.
As Election Day draws near, the rumors and lies about what is and isn’t allowed at a polling place begin to swirls. In addition to the usual anti-immigrant rhetoric (yes, you can take a translator into the voting booth if you need one) and the hate-all-criminals mantra (ex-felons are allowed to vote, as not all states discriminate) there’s a new twist this year thanks to the financial crisis (people in the midst of a foreclosure are allowed to vote).
As we head back to work and school today after the holiday break, Barack Obama's inauguration as president is just two weeks away. The much-promised and long-anticipated change is almost upon us, and we'll finally get what we've been hoping for after "catching the car" we were chasing.