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Ohio Politics

14th race is replay of 2008 contest

By Doug Published: October 25, 2010

LaTourette and O'Neill focus on failing economy

Published on Sunday, Oct 24, 2010

By Bob Downing
Beacon Journal staff writer

Some things are the same and some things are different in the race for the 14th Congressional District.

Republican incumbent Steven C. LaTourette again is facing Democratic challenger Bill O'Neill. The pair ran against each other in 2008, with LaTourette, the incumbent since 1995, winning.

The third person in the race is Libertarian Party candidate John Jelenic of Willoughby, who also ran unsuccessfully in 2008.

LaTourette, of Bainbridge Township, and O'Neill, of South Russell, both say the No. 1 issue in the race is the economy. That was a big issue in 2008, along with the war in Iraq and the banking crisis.

While the faces and No. 1

issue are the same as two years ago, what has changed is voter mood as the economy worsened.

In 2008, President Barack Obama led Democratic victories in many congressional races, yet LaTourette won handily over O'Neill 188,488 to 125,214 votes. This year, many political analysts predict a rough time for Democrats on Nov. 2, and that could mean trouble for O'Neill, a pediatric emergency room nurse and a retired appeals court judge.

The 14th District covers all of Ashtabula, Geauga and Lake counties, and parts of Summit, Portage, Cuyahoga and Trumbull counties.

The 56-year-old LaTourette, a fiscally conservative, moderate Republican, is critical of Obama's federal stimulus program, calling it ''worthless . . . and stupid.''

It was an $800 billion boondoggle that failed to produce the promised results, he said.
Unemployment is at 10 percent even after the federal money was pumped into the economy.

The country's No. 1 need is to boost the economy and produce jobs, LaTourette said.
''We can't do anything until we deal with that,'' he said.

Too many American industries are worried about working with new and proposed federal regulations, including health care and clean-air rules and cap-and-trade programs for cutting carbon dioxide, a key global-warming gas, LaTourette said.

That uncertainty is hurting efforts to improve the American economy, and what's happening in Washington, D.C., needs to change, he said.

LaTourette, a former Lake County prosecutor, touted his efforts to get millions of dollars for highway and infrastructure projects in Northeast Ohio, saving 1,100 Defense Finance and Accounting Service jobs in Cleveland and helping overturn the closings of nearly 675 Chrysler and General Motors dealerships around the country.

He said his campaign is relying more on radio and direct mail aimed at early voters and not as much on television ads in the past two weeks compared to previous campaigns.

O'Neill, 63, said voters are upset with LaTourette's attacks on Obama's stimulus package and they feel LaTourette favors special interests, like Wall Street.

O'Neill's main message is ''Made in America.'' Federal dollars should be spent on products made in the United States, not overseas, he said.

He wants middle-class tax relief, more tax credits for small businesses, more loans to manufacturers for auto supply companies and more grants for business research and development.

A federal energy policy that supports clean, alternative sources, like wind and solar, is needed, O'Neill said.

He is critical of LaTourette's strong opposition to 2008's federal Troubled Asset Relief Program, the so-called Wall Street bailout. LaTourette said that was bad legislation.

O'Neill said he holds La-Tourette accountable in the wake of the sale of National City Bank to Pittsburgh's PNC Bank and resulting job losses after the U.S. Treasury Department failed to include the Cleveland bank in the federal bank bailouts.

O'Neill said his campaign is focusing on what he calls ''Bill's Brigade,'' with door-to-door coordinators in 50 communities and direct mail aimed at early voters.

He said he is hoping to beat LaTourette in Stow, Solon and Mentor.

He estimated that he will spend about $750,000 on the campaign.

Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or
Some things are the same and some things are different in the race for the 14th Congressional District.



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