Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Can you spell Irony?

During the 2002 redistricting process, the Republican-led Ohio Legislature drew the 6th Congressional District, which extends from the subrubs of Youngstown south along the OH/PA border and Ohio River to Portsmouth at the state's very southern tip, for a specific purpose. They figured that incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland would win the seat, but that if he left office for any reason the Republicans would be able to pick it up. So last year when Congressman Strickland was contemplating whether to throw his hat in the race for governor, and face a potential primary fight against Columbus Mayor Micheal Coleman and State Sen. Eric Fingerhut (D-Shaker Heights), the Republicans snuck a "sole loser" bill into a budget bill that passed. The "sore loser" provision basically prohibited anyone who lost a primary for one office from running for another office in that same year. Thus, sending a message to Congressman Strickland: don't expect to try and run again for your congressional seat if you enter the Democratic primary for Governor and lose.

Of course, Mayor Coleman and Senator Fingerhut dropped out of the Democratic primary for Governor, clearing the way for Strickland to win the Democratic nomination. However, the sore loser provision remained on the books, and now has ensnared State Sen. Joy Padgett (R-Coshocton). With Bob Ney declining to run for re-election in the face of the Jack Abramoff scandal, State Sen. Padgett was anointed by Ney and House Majority Leader John Boehner to run for the seat. The problem is, Padgett was the Lt. Governor candidate on Jim Petro's primary ticket, and since that ticket lost, the "sore loser" provision applies to Padgett.

Here we have a clear example of unintended consequences. A bill aimed at making Congressman Strickland think twice before stepping into the Governor's race has instead tripped up the most logical candidate to keep Ohio's 18th Congressional seat in Republican hands. Can you spell I-r-o-n-y?

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