"On Wednesday, a coalition of Ohio conservative leaders announced their hopes to draft Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel to run for U.S. Senate in 2012 against current Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown.
In addition to Mandel, other names that are being considered by Republicans for the race include Congressman Jim Jordan, Lt. Governor Mary Taylor and former State Representative Seth Morgan. The conservative group said they are looking for “individuals of strong character, conservative principles, and ability to successfully challenge Sherrod Brown.”I received a press release yesterday from "Friends of Seth Morgan" which names the members of the nameless "Statewide Coalition of Conservative Leaders." Or is that the name? If it is, they need a better one. The following names are listed in the press release:
Chris Littleton, President & Co-Founder, Ohio Liberty Council
Rob Scott, President & founder of the Dayton Tea Party (Dayton, Ohio)
Phil and Rebecca Heimlich
Lori Viars, Warren County Republican Party Board of Directors
Phil Burress, President of Citizens for Community Values Action
Linda Theis, former President of Ohio Right to Life
Bobbi Radeck, State Director of Concerned Women for America Ohio
John and Diane Stover, leader of North East Ohio Value Voters
Steve Christopher, former Republican candidate for Ohio Attorney General and tea party activist
Jim and Lisa Woods, founders of Medina County Friends and Neighbors and Northeast Ohio Conservative Council
Glenn Newman, founder of Marietta 912 and Board Member of the Ohio Liberty Council
Jack Boyle, President of Citizens United to End Ohio's Estate Tax and former Ohio State Director for American's for Prosperity
Mike Wilson, President, Cincinnati Tea Party
Janet (Folger) Porter, President, Faith 2 Action
It's interesting that Seth Morgan, who seems to be the spokesman for the group, is listed both as one of the potential candidates and as a member of the coalition.
The article also notes that former state senator Kevin Coughlin is testing the waters:
"I've had a few conservative organizations approach me about making a run against Sherrod Brown. Though I'm not leaning toward or against it, I owe it to myself and my supporters to give it careful consideration. I have been meeting with party and opinion leaders around the state and in Washington, racking up mileage and securing commitments from contributors."Coughlin also made a half-hearted attempt to get into the gubernatorial primary last time around, but backed out when it became clear he would be no match for Kasich.
Is this early move to identify a conservative candidate an indication that the Ohio Republican Party (ORP) establishment is leaning toward Coughlin or another recycled establishment candidate? It wouldn't be the first time the ORP chose and promoted a candidate well before a primary.
Mandel, for his part, has demurred, saying that he is focused on his job as state treasurer. It's no secret that, much like the U.S. Congress, there has been a struggle in Ohio in recent years between the GOP "establishment" and those who want to see a Republican party that is more transparent and more about "We the People" than "We the Party."
The names listed above represent grassroots activists from across the state as well as individuals (Morgan, Christopher) who were edged (some would say shoved) out of this past election by party establishment candidates (and the ORP).
Clearly, though the election is still nearly two years away, a lot is going on behind the scenes. This move signals that the independent conservative movement (fiscal and social) is alive and well in Ohio and fully intends to have a voice in the 2012 election.
And that's a good thing.