Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Ted Strickland, Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman and the Black Vote

It looks like there's a little bad blood between Ted Strickland and black Democrat leaders.

From The Athens News:

"He's moving in the right direction," Coleman said of Strickland. "But I am not going to support somebody unless they have an urban agenda that I agree with that represents my city."

To many Strickland supporters, Coleman's coyness is more than a little irritating. They look at the mayor and see a sore loser and a disloyal Democrat.

And, Coleman noted, "It's not just me."

Indeed, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Dayton Mayor Rhine McLin, Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic and Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams -- Democrats all -- have refrained from jumping on the Strickland bandwagon. Along with Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Cleveland, the Democratic dissenters make a formidable bunch.

The mayors are particularly dismayed about a state law that nullified city laws requiring municipal employees to live within city limits. State Rep. Chris Redfern -- who is also Strickland's handpicked state Democratic Party chairman -- voted for the law, and Strickland himself has not taken a position on it.

That sentiment also applies to another bill, which would nullify the Columbus assault-weapons ban signed by Coleman last year. Strickland has said that as governor he would sign the proposal, which passed the House and is pending in the Senate.

If I were Ken Blackwell, I'd strike while the iron's hot:

Blackwell's best hope for victory is to peel off black voters, most of whom live in the big cities, by convincing them to make history by electing Ohio's first African-American governor.

Strickland can counter Blackwell's efforts if those cities' black political leaders -- such as Coleman, Jackson, Tubbs Jones, McLin and Williams -- work to keep those voters in the Democratic fold. But if they're sitting on the sidelines, Strickland's task will become more difficult.

I have little doubt that these black politicians will rally around Strickland whether he supports their issues or not. Look for them to sell out their constituents quite easily.

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