Check out the website:  Look at the recent Political Notes and Len’s Letters on the website.  

NORTHEAST: Political Note #363 Tom Malinowski NJ 07

SOUTHEAST: Political Note #385 Carolyn Bordeaux, Political Note #388 Elaine Luria VA 02

MIDWEST: Political Note #376 Lauren Underwood IL 14, Political Note #378 Elissa Slotkin MI 08, Political Note #357 Haley Stevens MI 11, Political Note #355 Angie Craig MN 02  

SOUTHWEST: Political Note #389 Tom O’Halleran AZ 01, Political Note #375 Steven Horsford NV 04, Political Note #356 Susie Lee NV 03, Political Note #377 Lizzie Fletcher TX 07, Political Note #362 Vicente Gonzalez TX 15

WEST: Political Note #383 Harley Rouda CA 48, Political Note #384 Peter DeFazio OR 04.

SPECIAL ELECTIONS:  Political Note #364 Jana Lynne Sanchez TX 06, Political Note #382 Melanie Stansbury NM 01

June 22, 2021           Political Note #393 Allison Russo OH 15

2021                          Special Election

Here’s a test for us all.  How far has the Democratic appeal to suburbanites extended?  Can it extend beyond the suburbs?  Can a Democratic woman win in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District – a district that includes a little bit of Columbus, but mostly surrounds it.  The district extends west, south, and far to the southeast of Columbus.  The southeastern edge of the district doesn’t quite reach the West Virginia border.  The southwestern edge of the district extends far enough to include suburbs of Cincinnati. Sixty percent of the district is rural.

OH 15 is 90% white.  The next largest group is African Americans, who are less than 5% of the district.  Financially, the district median household income is just a touch under $70,000, slightly higher than the national figure.  The district has a Republican lean, according to Cook, of 9%.  That’s a lot to make up and Democrats have rarely won elections here.

Since 1966, only one Democrat, Mary Jo Kilroy, was elected to Congress.  She stayed a single term.  Things haven’t been better for Democrats on the Presidential level.  Since 2000, only one Democrat has carried the district – Barack Obama in 2008.  Not only did Donald Trump carry OH 15 in 2016 and 2020, he carried it by a larger margin than GW Bush or Mitt Romney did.  He carried the district by a larger margin in 2020 than in 2016.

Will the DCCC give Allison Russo any help?  Will we give Allison Russo the help she deserves?  She’s a modern southern woman smack dab in the Midwest.  She met her husband when he was stationed at Columbus Air Force Base (That was Columbus, Mississippi).

Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi – site of one of the two great turning point Confederate losses in the Civil War, Allison Russo graduated from Wesson, MS’s Wesson Attendance Center – a K-12 public school three quarters of an hour drive south of Jackson and twice as far southeast of Vicksburg.  The school is ranked by US News and World Report as #11 in the Jackson Metropolitan Area and #82 in Mississippi.  This is not a school for the elite.

Allison Russo went as an undergraduate to the Mississippi University for Women and majored in microbiology at this once genteel institution.  In its alumnae magazine in order to be more contemporary, the school has rebranded itself as “The W.”

As for Allison Russo, she got married after graduation, chose public health instead of medicine, and followed both her husband and her career interest to Birmingham, Alabama where she got a Master’s Degree in Epidemiology and Public Health from the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

After brief stops in Germany and North Carolina, Allison Russo settled into Northern Virginia.  She worked for a couple of years as a Research Analyst for Science Applications International Corp analyzing health care information. Then, working through Axiom Research Management as a Senior Analyst, she provided support to the Assistant Secretary of Defense.  While doing consulting research, she obtained a PhD in Health Policy from George Washington University and she and her husband, Brian moved to Columbus, Ohio.

Allison continued her health care research, working for Thomas Reuters for five years and, since 2010, as Research Director for Kennell Associates.  While working for Kennell, along with hundreds (maybe thousands) of women, Allison Russo was moved by the 2016 election to run for office. She switched from more conventional activities outside of work – the United Way, the Rotary Club, an organization working with pre-teen girls called Girls Who Lead and targeted Ohio’s House of Representatives.

In November, 2018, Allison Russo was elected to represent Ohio’s District 24 west of Columbus and immediately became a figure in the Ohio House of Representatives.  Based on her health care expertise, she was appointed to the Health Committee and the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee, among others.  She Co-Chaired the Bipartisan Legislative Children’s Caucus, served as policy chief of the Democratic Women’s Caucus and on the Bipartisan Mental Health Caucus. She brought reasonable approaches to legislation addressing health care access, public health and public safety, mental and behavioral health, early childhood education and support for Ohio’s military families.

In April 2021, Steve Stivers, the Republican Congressman from OH 15 resigned to take a position as head of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce – a surprise decision.  He had been expected to either run for reelection or run for Ohio’s open US Senate seat. In May, 2021, State Rep Allison Russo opted to run for the open Congressional seat.  She reasoned that if anyone could win OH 15 for the Democrats, it would be her.

It is unlikely that another serious Democratic candidate will show up for this special election.  Even if Allison Russo is elected this November, redistricting could change the situation for 2022.  Republicans have a dozen candidates running for theirnomination.  Every one of them thinks that if he or she is the nominee, election will be automatic.

Invest now.  Help Allison Russo win this November 2, 2021 election. Helping her win this election; helping her make a strong showing helps every Democratic candidate running for election in 2022.  If Melanie Stansbury could do 8 points better than Deb Haaland in NM 01, Allison Russo can overcome the 9 point Republican lean in OH 15.

So far, we haven’t looked at many Democrats challenging for Republican seats.  For most of those seats, I am reluctant to urge you to donate money to a candidate while there is a likelihood of a competitive Democratic primary. 

 Candidates to flip Republican Seats

California 48             Harley Rouda

Ohio 15                     Allison Russo

These are vulnerable incumbent Democratic Members of Congress.  If you want to play some defense, choose a few of them to support.  If you want to learn about them, look at my Notes about them in the website. 

 Members of Congress who won with less than 52% of the vote

 Georgia 07   Carolyn Bordeaux  Received 51.39% of the vote in 2020

Iowa 03          Cynthia Axne  Received 48.9% of the vote in 2020

Illinois 14      Lauren Underwood Received 50.67% of the vote in 2020

Michigan 08 Elissa Slotkin Received 50.88% of the vote in 2020

Michigan 11 Haley Stevens  Received 50.2% of the vote in 2020

Minnesota 02 Angie Craig Received 48.21% of the vote in 2020

Nevada 03 Susie Lee Received 48.75% of the vote in 2020

Nevada 04 Steve Horsford Received 50.67% of the vote in 2020

New Mexico 01 Tom O’Halloran  Received 51.61% of the vote in 2020

New Jersey 07 Tom Malinowski Received 50.61% of the vote in 2020

Oregon 04    Peter DeFazio  Received 51.26% of the vote in 2020

Texas 07 Lizzie Fletcher Received 50.79% of the vote in 2020

Texas 15 Vicente Gonzalez Received 50.5% of the vote in 2020

Virginia 02 Elaine Luria Received 51.6% of the vote in 2020

Washington 08 Kim Schrier Received 51.79% of the vote in 2020

Organizations to support

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)

The Democratic National Committee (DNC).  The official organization of the Democratic Party.

Fair Fight Promotes fair elections around the country

Three Cautions while donating through Act Blue (most Democratic candidates use Act Blue for online donations)

  1. Take care to hit the donate button only once. If you hit it a second time, you could be charged for two donations instead of one.
  2. Take care to watch for an already clicked recurring donation. You can unclick it and donate only once if that is your intent.
  3. Watch for your receipt. If the receipt indicates a donation different from your intention, reply to Act Blue via the receipt right away.  They will fix your donation.  They want you to donate only what you intend to donate.