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November 14th  , 2023       Political Note #599 Greg Landsman Ohio 01

2024                                          General Election

Greg Landsman is a man of integrity.  He has had an admirable record on a variety of issues, especially early childhood education. But I begin with a lapse.

After losing once, he was elected to the Cincinnati City Council in 2017.  He was reelected in 2021. In 2018, Mayor John Cranley asked Harry Black, the City Manager, to resign. Greg Landsman and four other Members of the nine-person City Council texted each other.  They were looking for a way to keep the City Manager in his job. A public records suit obtained the texts and emails and a local judge found the Gang of Five had violated Ohio’s Open Meeting Law.

That was not the end of it.  The State Auditor got involved as did a state appointed Special Prosecutor.  More texts and emails were released.  By the time a Special Master had reviewed all of those communications, including communications unrelated to the City Manager dispute, two council members (one a Gang of Five member and one not) were charged with seeking a bribe, another was prosecuted for destroying phone records, and Greg Landsman was heard wondering whether all that messaging was legal.

Cincinnati voters were probably not at all certain that text messages and emails really were Open Meeting violations.  The Prosecutors were right. If the majority of a public body communicates with each other toward making a policy or personnel decision outside of a meeting, in any state that has an Open Meeting Law, they would be violating that law.

Even if the voters in Cincinnati were convinced that Greg Landsman had violated the law, they forgave him. In one of the few districts that the Ohio legislature had not gerrymandered to ensure a Republican victory, perhaps because they thought the district’s slight Republican lean was enough, Greg Landsman was elected to Congress. In 2022, he defeated long-time incumbent Steve Chabot.

National and Cincinnati Democrats had agreed.  Greg Landsman was the best candidate, the Democrat most likely to be able to get a win in 2022.  He is the son of a teacher and an executive from Federated Department stores. After he lost the City Council race in 2013, he developed boxing as a new hobby.  He used boxing as a metaphor for politics.   He talked about the need to jab, to move, and to act quickly, the need for perseverance and grit.  Despite the metaphor and the Open Meeting fiasco, on the City Council he was a peacemaker.

On the City Council, Greg Landsman, was also willing to lead. He made a housing proposal so substantial, people assumed he was running for mayor.  He followed up his experience as head of an anti-poverty business partnership which had already introduced a comprehensive preschool proposal and proposed further support of early childhood education.

Greg Landsman was able and willing to rebuild bridges.  In one of the disclosed texts, one of the Gang of Five, but not Greg Landsman, had accused Deputy Mayor Christopher Smitherman of using his wife’s diagnosis and eventual death from cancer for political gain.  On live camera, in a Council meeting, Smitherman repeated his disdain for those comments during a debate about whether even more texts should be revealed.  Greg Landsman responded on live camera.  He spoke to Smitherman directly and apologized – a real apology, not the kind we see so often in public.  Emotional, Smitherman accepted the apology and told Greg Landsman he had brought dignity to the City Council.

Greg Landsman had a substantial career before joining the Cincinnati City Council.  As an undergraduate at Ohio University, among his volunteer activities was work with Democratic Governor Ted Strickland.  After graduating, he went to Washington wher he worked for Nancy Pelosi.  At that time, she was campaigning among her colleagues to become the first woman to serve as whip for Congressional Democrats.

Greg Landsman joined Bill Bradley’s 2000 Presidential campaign.  After choosing a candidate who did not win,  he taught Spanish in Virginia before continuing on to Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 2007, he got a Master’s Degree from Harvard’s Divinity School.

He married and, not long after he got the divinity degree, returned to working for Governor Ted Strickland as head of a newly created Department of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives which was party of Strickland’s anti-poverty effort. Eventually Greg Landsman chaired Ohio’s Anti-Poverty Task Force.  The Task Force goals included creation of a state Earned Income Tax Credit; expansion of Medicaid coverage to parents and children; increased home energy assistance; and the eventual revision of federal poverty guidelines.

In 2010, Greg Landsman became Executive Director of the Cincinnati version of the Strive Partnership which was intended to involve corporations in ending poverty.  In 2015, shortly before joining the City Council, he created his own anti-poverty group that led a coalition to ensure children’s access to high quality preschools. Interestingly, his anti-poverty group also funded efforts to help children of Ethiopian Israelis.

Greg Landsman’s opponent in 2024 is Orlando Sonza, Recently Sonza told a talk show host he was delighted to be on so he could comment on the chaos that Greg Landsman and other Democrats had unleashed on Congress.  What chaos? What inadequacy did the Democrats demonstrate?  Foolishly, dangerously, according to Sonza, the Democrats supported Hakeem Jeffries for Speaker after a motion to Vacate the Chair was passed. The Democrats had failed to protect Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy. Sonza will have trouble making the case that the chaos in the House is Greg Landsman’s fault.

A West Point graduate with a law degree from Georgetown, married to a West Point graduate, Sonza, left a Big 4 Accounting firm, followed his wife to her home town of Cincinnati, and set up a financial planning firm.  He has three issues for his campaign —   stabilize the economy which he claims has been destabilized by a Democratic induced inflation, prevent crime by securing the border, and prevent government interference with parents right to raise their children, educate them, and provide them with health care.  He has nothing to say about the current Middle East Crisis and, apparently, thinks Republicans had no responsibility for the Speaker crisis.

Regarding the Middle East crisis, Greg Landman has been thoughtfulHe begins a statement: “Israel is at war with Hamas, but it is more awful and complicated than just that. As we – including those of us in Congress – work to fully understand and productively navigate what is an unprecedented and horrific moment in Israel, I hope the following facts will help.”  He provides a balanced outline of facts and urges funding the supplemental bill for Israel, Ukraine, and border security, decrying partisanship in addressing the problem.

Greg Landsman is a man of integrity.  There are good reasons why he was the favorite of both national and local Democrats to take on a long time Republican incumbent.   Help Greg Landsman keep this seat.  Help The Democrats regain the majority in the House of Representatives.

Vulnerable Midwestern House Democrats to support

 Eric Sorenson. Illinois 17 #12 on Len’s List of Vulnerable Democrats and tied for #16 on Daily Kos’s list.  Len’s Political Note #552

Frank Mrvan. Indiana 01 #18 on Len’s List. Len’s Political Note #576

Emilia Sykes, Ohio 13 #24 on Len’s List and #15 on Daily Kos’s List.   Len’s Political Note #591

Greg Landsman. Ohio 01 #26 on Len’s List and #21 on Daily Kos’s.

Angie Craig Minnesota 02 is #27 on Len’s List and #13 on Daily Kos’s   Len’s Political Note #593

Dan Kildee Michigan 08 #37 on Len’s List and tied for #28 on Daily Kos’s.

Nikki Budzinski Illinois 13 is on the DCCC List.

Sharice Davids Kansas 03 is on the DCCC List.

Marcy Kaptur Ohio 09 is on the DCCC List. Len’s Political Note #554

Hillary Scholten Wisconsin Michigan 03 is on the DCCC List


Republican Midwestern House Seats that can be flipped

Michigan 10 John James #3 on Len’s List of Vulnerable Republicans, #13 on Daily Kos’s List.  Too early to recommend a specific Democrat among the several running.

Iowa 03 Zach Nunn #5 on Len’s List of vulnerable Republicans, tied for #7 on Daily Kos’s List.  No Democratic opponent has yet emerged

Nebraska 02 Don Bacon is #11 on Len’s List of vulnerable Republicans, #12 on Daily Kos’s List. State Senator Tony Vargas is the Democratic Candidate.  Len’s Political Note # 587

Wisconsin 03 Derrick Van Orden is #18 on Len’s List of vulnerable Republicans, #22 on Daily Kos’s List.  It is early to select a candidate from among the three Democrats running.

Iowa 01 Marianette Miller-Meeks is #22 on Len’s List of vulnerable Republicans.  Former State Rep and Law Professor Christina Bohannan is the Democratic candidate. Len’s Political Note # 594


 Vulnerable Midwestern Senate Seats to Protect

Tammy Baldwin Wisconsin Len’s Political Note #570

Sherrod Brown Ohio Len’s Political Note #556

Elissa Slotkin Michigan Len’s Political Note #589


A Republican Midwestern Senate Seat that could be flipped

Lucas Kunce of Missouri running against Incumbent Republican Josh Hawley. Len’s Political Note #538