It now appears that two-term Rep. Jim Renacci, the oh-so conservative Republican congressman from Wadsworth , will get a free ride in the 2014 congressional election. That, at least, is the concession of Democratic leaders in Summit and Stark counties. At best, they say it would be a costly uphill battle against Renacci in the 16th district that might also be labeled Gerrymander Central.
A glance at the district's disheveled boxy boundaries would convince some people that it was stuck together with Lego blocks connecting awkwardly from the farms of Wayne County through part of Summit County on the way to the urban shores of
Lake Erie - the Republican nod to diversity. Folks, Chile has a sleeker form.
A second look might also suggest its contours resemble a holdup man pointing a gun at Youngstown. It was all in the interest, of course, of herding as many Republican voters into Renacci's District as the law would allow while granting voting privileges to possible GOP dogs and cats from good homes.
Gerrymandering has been around for a long time for both parties; but the 16th may have lowered the bar beyond further partisan imagination. For Renacci, it was as though he arrived on an elevator equipped with a hammock.
All of which has left Summit County Democratic Chairman Wayne Jones without much hope of challenging Renacci. He has a terse answer: He has found no candidates.
Renacci went to Capitol Hill by defeating Democratic incumbent John Boccieri in 2010 and later beat Incumbent Betty Sutton (2012) when both were dropped into the same redrawn base friendly to him. One of the wealthiest guys on Capitol Hill (est. $35- to $100 million) , earning his keep with nursing homes and as the owner of the arena football team, the Columbus Dragons, Renacci can now relax in the luxury of knowing the plantation belongs entirely to him.