Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Ohio Democratic Party
The Ohio Democratic Party traces its origin to the original Republican Party founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1793. The Democratic Party itself was formed from a faction of the Republicans, known as the "Democratic-Republicans," led by Andrew Jackson. Following Jackson's defeat in the election of 1824, despite having a majority of the popular vote, Jackson set about building a political coalition strong enough to defeat John Quincy Adams in the election of 1828. The coalition that he built was the foundation of the subsequent Democratic party.
Ohio politics was largely dominated by the Ohio Republican Party until the economic and social hardships brought on by the Great Depression resulted in a national political realignment . The political coalition of labor unions, minorities, and liberals allowed the Democrats to compete effectively in Ohio electoral politics for much of the next 30 years. Never very strong in Ohio's rural areas, the party's coalition suffered when the civil rights movement divided conservative whites from liberals and minorities. The Ohio Democratic Party reached the peak of its elecoral success in the mid-1980s, when Democrats held the following offices:
- Governorship: Richard F. Celeste (1983-1991)
- Lieutenant governors: Myrl H. Shoemaker (1983-1985) and Paul R. Leonard (1987-1991)
- Ohio Attorney General (1987-1995): Anthony J. Celebrezze Jr. (1987-1991) and Lee Fisher (1991-1995)
- Ohio State Auditor (1971-1995): Joseph T. Ferguson (1971-1975) and Thomas E. Ferguson (1975-1995)
- Ohio Secretary of State (1979-1991): Anthony J. Celebrezze Jr. (1979-1983) and Sherrod Brown (1983-1991)
- Ohio State Treasurer (1971-1995): Gertrude W. Donahey (1971-1983) and Mary Ellen Withrow (1983-1995)
- Both U.S. Senators from Ohio: John H. Glenn Jr. (1974-1999) and Howard M. Metzenbaum (1974, 1976-1995)
- Majority of Ohio's delegation to the United States House of Representatives (1983-1995), reaching a peak of 11-8 (1993-1995)
- Majority in the Ohio State Senate (1983-1985): Senate President Harry Meshel
- Majority in the Ohio House of Representatives (1973-1995): Speaker Vernal G. Riffe Jr. (1975-1995)
- Majority on the Ohio Supreme Court (1977-1987), with a 6-1 majority from 1983-1985, and a Democratic chief justice (Frank Celebrezze) from 1978-1986
Even with its successes, Ohio Democrats did not fare well on a national level. John Glenn, a popular U.S. senator, astronaut, and national hero, ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 1984, ending up with only a huge campaign debt to show for it. Howard Metzenbaum, Ohio's other U.S. senator at the time, although a powerful force in the Senate, never achieved national name recognition.
As Democratic incumbents have retired, they have largely been replaced by Republicans, aided by gerrymandering.
Current Democratic Officeholders
Current Democratic strength lies mainly in the northeastern part of the state, the traditional pro-union, Democratic bastion, dominated by manufacturing and the cities of Cleveland, Youngstown, Akron, and Canton. Democrats are in the majority in the urban areas of Toledo, Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati but those majorities are often offset by conservative strength in the surrounding suburbs. The impoverished Appalachian region of Ohio is traditionally Democratic and sometimes swings for the Democrats. Electoral strength is reflected in the mayoral offices of Ohio's major cities (which formed the heart of the Ohio Delegation to the 2004 Democratic National Convention), with the following Democrats in the most prominent mayoralties:
- Cleveland: Jane L. Campbell
- Cincinnati: Charlie Luken
- Columbus: Michael B. Coleman
- Toledo: Jack Ford
- Dayton: Rhine McLin
- Akron: Donald L. Plusquellic
- Youngstown: George M. McKelvey (He's being courted by the Republicans to switch parties)
- Parma: Dean DiPiero
Six of the 18 members of Ohio's delegation to the United States House of Representatives are Democrats:
- Ted Strickland -- His southeastern Ohio district was a target of the Republican legislature's redistricting effort in 2001, but managed to survive. Strickland has expressed interest in running for governor in 2006.
- Marcia C. Kaptur
- Dennis J. Kucinich -- Kucinich ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2004. At the 2004 Democratic National Convention, Kucinich endorsed John Kerry, the nominee. Kucinich was the only candidate other than Kerry to receive votes at the convention.
- Stephanie Tubbs Jones -- Jones was the chairwoman of the party's platform committee at the 2004 convention and is co-chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
- Sherrod Brown -- Brown, a young, telegenic Democrat, is considered one of the stars of the Ohio Democratic Party. In 2001, the Republican legislature threatened to redistrict him out of office, but when Brown threatened to run for governor in 2002, they preserved his district. Brown has not tossed his name in the ring for the 2006 gubernatorial race.
- Timothy J. Ryan -- Ryan won national office by unseating eccentric incumbent Jim Traficant.
- Leader: Gregory L. DiDonato
- Assistant Leader: Mark L. Mallory
- Whip: C. J. Prentiss
- Assistant Whip: Teresa Fedor
House of Representatives
- Leader: Chris Redfern
- Assistant Leader: Joyce Beatty
- Whip: Dale Miller
- Assistant Whip: Lance Mason
Former Democratic Ohio Attorney General Lee Fisher, whose wife served on the Ohio delegation to the Boston convention, lost the attorney general's office in 1994. In 1998, he was nominated for governor, but lost that race as well. He has hinted that he might be interested in re-entering statewide electoral politics. It has been surmised that he is referring to the 2006 gubernatorial race.
Prominent Ohio Democrats of the Past
- Vern Riffe: speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives from 1975-1995
- James M. Cox: Governor of Ohio, Democratic nominee for President of the United States (1920), U.S. representative, publisher of the Dayton Daily News, founder of Cox Communications
- Dick Celeste: Ohio state representative, Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, Governor of Ohio, U.S. ambassador to India
- John J. Gilligan: U.S. representative, Democratic nominee for United States Senate (1968), Governor of Ohio. Gilligan is still alive and active, serving as a member of the Cincinnati school board.
- Michael DiSalle: mayor of Toledo, Governor of Ohio, candidate for Democratic nomination for President of the United States (1960)
- Frank Lausche: Governor of Ohio, U.S. senator
- Martin L. Davey: U.S. representative , Governor of Ohio
- A. Victor Donahey: Ohio State Auditor, Governor of Ohio, U.S. senator
- Allen G. Thurman
- Atlee Pomerene
- Stephen M. Young
- Howard Metzenbaum
- John Glenn
Jerry Springer and the Ohio Democratic Party
After graduating from Northwestern University Law School in 1968, Jerry Springer served in Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign. After Kennedyís assassination, Jerry began practicing law in Cincinnati.
As a leader in the movement to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, he testified before a U.S. Senate committee prior to the 1971 passage of the 26th Amendment, which changed the voting age to 18. In 1971, he ran successfully for Cincinnatiís City Council and served for five successive terms. In 1977, at the age of 33, Springer became mayor of Cincinnati when he was the top vote-getter in the city council race. In that election Springer won more votes than anyone who had run in the at-large council race since that form of government was adopted in the early 20th century.
After a Democratic primary bid for Governor of Ohio in 1982, Springer became a political reporter and commentator for WLWT-TV in Cincinnati. Over the next 10 years, Springer was the top rated news anchor in the city and the recipient of seven Emmy awards for his nightly commentaries. Springer has said that of his work as the stations principal anchorman, he is most proud of his reporting from Ethiopia and Sudan where he documented the efforts to provide assistance to famine-stricken Africans.
"The Jerry Springer Show" debuted in 1991 on syndicated television. It is seen in more than 190 U.S. markets and more than 50 foreign countries.
Throughout the years, Springer has remained active in Democratic politics in Ohio, raising substantial amounts of money for the party.
Springer's new political talk show, "Springer on the Radio," debuted in 2005 on WCKY (AM) in Cincinnati.
The Ohio Democrats use the same symbols as the national Democratic party, such as the donkey. In the early 20th century, the traditional symbol of the Democratic party in Midwestern states such as Indiana and Ohio was the rooster, as opposed to the Republican eagle.
- List of Ohio politicians
- Political Party Strength in Ohio
- Ohio Young Democrats
- 2004 U.S. election voting controversies, Ohio
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