The 2012 election race for Ohio’s 8th Congressional District reminded me of a joke I first heard years ago. There was this elderly man, a saint of a man who walked the straight and narrow except for when he went out of his way to help someone else. For years, no decades, this man prayed each and every night for just one thing, a winning lottery ticket. Since he spent every cent he had to help others we have to assume that any lottery winnings would be put to good use. For many years this was the mans only request and it went unfulfilled. He never lost faith. Then one night when he was in his nineties and his strength was fading, he said his nightly prayer in his faltering voice when a voice from the heavens filled the room, “Could you help me out and at least buy a ticket?”
This year Ohio’s Democratic Party chose not to even buy a ticket. They chose to let Boehner run unopposed. I am sure they have some kind of excuse, nobody was willing to run, it was too expensive to pay for a race that would just lose anyway, or some other self-serving BS. With all the money spent on this past election it is unbelievable that the fees to get a candidate on the ballot and pay for a few yard signs would have been a real hardship for the party.
The Ohio Democratic Party simply chose to allow John Boehner, the face of the least respected Congress in history, to run unopposed. They certainly did not exhaust their pool of potential candidates. I know several registered Democrats in Butler County and none of them was asked to run. But, if a Democratic candidate is going to lose anyway why put one on the ballot?
Because with an opponent on the ballot Boehner would have had to pay at least a little attention to being re-elected, which would have taken time that he spent fundraising and campaigning in competitive races. It seems to me that the opportunity to restrict the time and energy of a national leader of the opposition party would have been a worth the cost to put a name on the ballot. Boehner received 117,559 votes in Butler County and 5,616 voters took the trouble to write someone else’s name in. There were also 41,159 Butler County voters voted in the presidential race but who did not vote in the 8th District race. Unopposed John Boehner only won the support of slightly more than 71% of the voters in Butler County. Although it is not likely that every voter who did not vote for Boehner would vote for a Democratic opponent it is likely that some simply marked his name because it was the only name there. So what? Unopposed John Boehner sees the results as saying that almost 95% of his constituents support the job he has done. Opposed he still wins with the same vote count but he would see that almost 30% of his constituents want to fire him.
Every lottery eventually has a winner but only someone who buys a ticket can win.