Thursday, January 9, 2014

Renacci's 16th District: a gerrymandered fortress

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.


Joe Hill said...

Anyone who pays attention to politics knows of Renacci and his gerrymanded district. The real story and it is a sorry story, is that the Dems have no one to run against him. Jones''s comment should be enough to send him into retirement. At the very least find a bomb thrower to make things a bit unsettling for Renacci and to create public doubt for 2016. To do nothing suggests to me that Jones and whoever the Stark chair is should be replaced. What you described is the real problem in the Democratic Party. Insular, comfortable, lazy and timid are not attributes of a successful party.

Grumpy Abe said...

The Democrats have had such an easy time winning elections against a weak Republican Party in Summit County that they have grown older and complacent. Neither party has the kind of farm system that attracts and nurtures younger imaginative political activists. ( If you are seeking information from the Democratic Party don't waste your time calling the party's headquarters number because there is an excellent chance that there will be nobody there to answer it. Call-back numbers don't work, either.) Both parties need a systemic shakedown from top to bottom. Even if Democratic officeholders agree with that assessment, they won't go beyond private table talk. Guys like Renacci. a gun enthusiast, don't mind. He even gets invited by Chairman Arshinkoff to the GOP's Lincoln Day dinners allegedly honoring an assassinated president. .