Early Christmas for Jim Graham? UPDATE: He’s in

Guest posted by Bytor

Don’t look now, but the worst rug ever is back. After weeks of appeals, battles with multiple election boards, and even a little help from Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, Jim Traficant appears ready to appear on the November ballot for his old seat, running as an independent.

The Youngstown Democrat was expelled from Congress in 2002 and convicted of racketeering, bribery and tax evasion. He served 7 years in prison and was released last year. He began talking about running for his old seat in the 17th district, which he had held for 17 years, almost immediately after getting out of the pokey.

The district is currently represented by Tim Ryan (D) who usually wins reelection with over 75% of the vote. However, Traficant is sure to pull some votes away from him, splitting the Democrat vote. These are the same people who kept electing him for so long, after all. It isn’t like his corruption was unknown before his conviction, and he was repeatedly reelected anyway.

Now, in a normal year, you wouldn’t think that he would pull enough votes from Ryan to propel Republican Jim Graham to victory. But the GOP leads the Gallup Generic Congressional ballot by 10 points, 5 points higher than 1994. In a wave election like this year, anything could happen. This may now be another Ohio race to watch on election night. Stay tuned…

UPDATE
Without comment or fanfare, the Trumbull County Board of Elections made it official Wednesday, approving Jim Traficant for the ballot in November in the race against incumbent Democrat Tim Ryan of Niles for Traficant’s old 17th District Congress seat.

Linda Kovachik, a Traficant committee member, said “This is ridiculous to put anyone through this.”

Indeed, Linda.


Fighting Obamacare in Ohio

The following is a guest post while DJ Tablesauce is away due to his wedding.

If not repealed, Obamacare will be a disaster for our economy and our health care system, and will surely push our current budget-busting deficits even higher. One of the most offensive parts of the bill, though, is the mandate that every American must purchase health insurance. Never before has Congress dared to require Americans to purchase a product.

Some states are fighting back, and several Attorneys General have already filed lawsuits against the law for its unconstitutional mandate. But not here in Ohio. Richard Cordray is a Democrat, and refuses to do so. That’s where Ohio citizens have picked up the ball.

Meet The Ohio Project. It is a true grassroots effort to get an amendment to the Ohio Constitution on the ballot for voters to decide on. The amendment would basically say that no Ohioan can be forced to buy health insurance, nor be penalized if they don’t.

Getting an amendment on the ballot is no small task. You need hard signatures from 10% of the voters. That’s around 450,000 signatures. It’s too late to get this on this year’s ballot, but we can still get it on the ballot in November 2011. A lot of signatures have been collected, but tens of thousands more are still needed. Most folks are happy to sign. They just aren’t aware of the campaign. The problem is that the group has no money. It is literally a true grassroots citizens movement of all volunteers. And they’re still looking for more Ohioans to collect and turn in signatures.

Recently in Missouri, a similar ballot measure passed by a huge margin. When given their own chance to make a choice, voters reject Obamacare. With a little more time and help, Ohio voters will get their chance next year, too.

Kasich: I’ll kill the slow-speed 3C choo-choo

The following is a guest post while DJ Tablesauce is away due to his wedding.

As most of us know, Governor Ted Strickland has been promoting a high-speed rail system to connect Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. He says it will create jobs and much of it would be paid for with money from Porkulus… er, I mean the Obama Stimulus bill from last year. So where does John Kasich come down on the 3C? Thankfully, on the right side:

“The 39 mph high-speed train is dead when I become governor,” he said, adding later, “We don’t have the money to operate it, we don’t have the money long-term to fund it … (and) I’m still trying to find somebody in Ohio that wants to get on that train. No, no, we have to shut it down before it gets too far.”

Kasich is right. Who is going to ride this thing? I actually travel from NE Ohio to the Columbus area several times a year, so I’m probably the target market for this train, right? Let’s compare my current method, to the new choice Strickland and other Democrats think I need.

Current method
I get in my car, and drive directly to my destination in 2 hours at a cost of about $12 in gas.

Using the 3C
I get in my car and drive to the train station. 15 minutes.
I park my car and wait for the train. 30 minutes or more.
I board the train and ride it to the train station in Columbus. 4 hours.
Rent a car. 15 minutes and mucho bucks.
Drive to my final destination. 15 minutes.

So let’s see. 2 hours and $12 versus around 5 hours and a lot more money for a train ticket and rental car. Gee, which one will I choose? Yes, I know I don’t need the rental car if I have someone to pick me up. I’m sure my family will really appreciate driving me back and forth.

Even by the administration’s own rosy projections, the system would have a $17 million dollar shortfall every year to be picked up by us taxpayers. And DJ Tablesauce has already covered how these “high speed” passenger trains could ruin our rail freight system, which is the best in the world.

If there was a profitable market for this service, someone in the private sector would be operating one by now. There isn’t. This unbelievably stupid proposal would be one of the largest public boondoggles in Ohio’s history. John Kasich knows that, and I hope he makes it an issue as the campaign progresses.