This past week was dominated by the Republican Party's search for a candidate to replace Jim Raussen in the race for the Ohio 28th House District. The search process includes many facets--many public and some private. The private facet of the search process is quite important so as to not provide the opposition with private information.
I have received tremendous feedback from people interested in the Party. As in most public decisions, the Party has received much unsolicited advice and even some criticism. That is to be expected. I sincerely welcome all the input. Sometimes, the input, advice, or criticism is made without a full knowing of the facts. Perhaps I can clarify some of that here.
This is a major party decision for many reasons.
First, we are 86 days from Election Day today. The campaign for this seat will be non-traditional because the ultimate candidate will have a very short period of time to raise money and run a traditional campaign. There is little time to build name identification or to do many summer public appearances. A few more key days to screen all the candidates and to find the best one will not change the brief window we have.
Second, the Republican majority in the Ohio House of Representatives stands at 4 seats today. The Democrats need only to pick up a few seats to take over the Ohio House and begin to ratify the Democrat agenda of Ted Strickland. Make no mistake, Governor Strickland understood this when he lured away our Republican incumbent candidate with a lucrative job in an effort to make the task of picking up this seat easier. He will fail.
Third, this District is closely divided and has been increasingly competitive. A strong candidate and a strong campaign will make the difference. They have a weak candidate.
Fourth, the state Republican caucus--the leaders of our party in the statehouse--have a keen interest in who our party selects for this seat. We have been working very closely with them to find the best candidate. They have great political expertise and are quite valuable to our committee in this selection process.
Because of the absolute importance of winning this seat, the committee has taken to leaving the search process open for just a few more days to give all interested candidates a chance to interview and be heard by our non-judicial nominating committee. The decision to leave the process open was recommended to the committee before any single candidate interviewed and the decision to leave the process open was not because of any single candidate.
The non-judicial screening committee will meet on Tuesday, 8/12/08 @ 4:30 to screen any further candidates that wish to be considered and to consider all the candidates that have shown an interest. We will have a candidate in the coming days. I am confident that the strongest candidate will emerge from our process!