Ohio Democrats used to be competitive because of their showing with the state’s white working class. As those voters drift away, places like Ohio’s 9th district just haven’t given Dems the margins they need. And in this #DistrictOfTheDay, it seems their issues are worsening.
A number of Republicans were swept in on the coattails of Ronald Reagan in 1980, only to realize shortly thereafter that they weren’t as popular as they thought. In the case of OH-09, Ed Weber defeated an incumbent in 1980. But when 1982 rolled around, he got utterly obliterated.
Since 1983, OH-09 has been held by Marcy Kaptur (D–Toledo). She’s been in office so long that she’s on the cusp of making history by becoming the longest-serving woman in U.S. congressional history. If she wins again in 2022, she’ll best Barbara Mikulski’s 40-year record.
Kaptur is a classic Midwestern populist Dem. A member of the Progressive Caucus, she opted to endorse Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in 2016 and has been a vehement opponent of free trade agreements. She was even asked to be Ross Perot’s running mate in the 1996 election.
If you’ve ever visited the beautiful World War II Memorial in D.C., you can thank Kaptur - she introduced the idea as well as the legislation that made it happen. Despite some pretty serious seniority, her bid to Chair the Appropriations Committee this Congress came up short.
Republicans’ gains in Ohio lately haven’t only been in rural areas. Onetime industrial towns that have experienced economic decline are a huge reason the party has picked up steam. Few places know those losses as strongly as the communities along Lake Erie, especially Toledo.
If you couldn’t tell by looking, this is an intense gerrymander—one meant to pack Democrats from Toledo to Cleveland. It is very thinly connected; only the Edison Bridge brings the two parts of the seat together. The largest batch of votes comes from Cuyahoga County in the east.
It stops right to the west of Cleveland. Kaptur herself meanwhile is from Toledo, a city that has experienced five straight decades of population loss. This 69% white district was once a huge reason why Obama carried the state twice. In 2012, this district was Obama+36.7.
But Donald Trump made massive inroads in 2016, and Clinton only won it by 22.2, a swing of almost 14%. OH-09 was exactly the kind of seat where Democrats though Biden would rebound… but he shockingly managed to do even worse than she did, only carrying OH-09 by 19%.
This is still a solidly Democratic district. Its trends, however, are shifting away from the party in rapid fashion. The question going forward is whether other Republicans can replicate the support Trump got in the region. If they can, Ohio could well be their next Missouri.

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More from @MattKleinOnline

3 May
Believe it or not, but sometimes politicians miscalculate! (Sounds crazy.) Privately, the current lieutenant governor of Washington might attest to that. After representing Washington’s 10th district, he left this #DistrictOfTheDay amid speculation he wanted to become gov. Image
Last decade, Washington’s population growth earned it a tenth seat in the House of Representatives. WA-10 was created at the last minute - literally. The state’s redistricting plan was sent to the legislature for ratification two hours before the statutory deadline.
This seat was won for the first time by Democrat Denny Heck, who had served in the State House from 1977 to 1985. Despite a failed attempt at returning to politics in 2010, he was elected to Congress in 2012 after a lengthy public service gap in this newly-established district.
Read 9 tweets
2 May
With a special election tonight, Texas is on the mind. Let’s get away from the Dallas suburbs and head toward West Texas instead. Texas’s 19th district is one of the state’s most conservative. This #DistrictOfTheDay is fairly rural, but also home to a sizable Republican city. Image
Special election lockouts have gotten much attention, especially now, but they’re hardly a new phenomenon. In 2003, TX-19 held a special election, but it wasn’t much of a competition. Both of the candidates who advanced were Republicans, and businessman Randy Neugebauer won.
He hung on easily, but chose to retire in 2016. Even in his absence, Democrats didn’t bother contesting the seat. Since 2017, TX-19 has been in the hands of Jodey Arrington (R-Lubbock). His seat hasn’t shown any sign of getting more competitive recently, though parts of it have.
Read 5 tweets
22 Jan
Urban Philadelphia was the base of Biden’s victory in PA, but the suburbs are what put him over the top. Pennsylvania’s 4th district (the #DistrictOfTheDay) is rooted in one of the most crucial counties: Montgomery County. Biden’s showing there was the best ever for a Democrat.
Democrats got shafted after the 2010 midterms in Pennsylvania. With Republicans in control of both chambers of the Pennsylvania General Assembly as well as the governorship, they drew a vicious gerrymander. Obama won PA by 5.38% in 2012 but only carried 5 of 18 districts.
They’re fortunate that this time they at least have Governor Tom Wolf to prevent such nasty maps. It wasn’t until 2018 that the previous maps were ruled unconstitutional and ordered to be redrawn by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, which is majority Democratic.
Read 7 tweets
21 Jan
All eyes are on now the new Democratic majorities in Congress, but they will still face substantial opposition from certain Republicans. Let’s head back down south and look at North Carolina’s 5th district. This #DistrictOfTheDay has a longtime conservative incumbent.
NC-05 includes a large chunk of western North Carolina, some of which is nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. As a result, it never truly became part of the “Solid South” that propped up other Democrats. Quakers and mountaineers who opposed secession kept it Republican.
From 1995 to 2005, this seat was held by a familiar Republican: Richard Burr. His name got a lot of attention earlier in the year when some accused him of profiting off a pandemic. On January 19, however, the FBI closed his case and filed no charges against him.
Read 9 tweets
20 Jan
One Democrat almost certain to face a grueling redistricting year is Jim Cooper of Tennessee’s 5th district. As a Democrat in a non-VRA district in Middle Tennessee, his #DistrictOfTheDay is ripe to be cracked by the Republican trifecta, handing Rs an additional seat. Image
From 1979 to 1987, this seat was held by a man with one of the most unfortunate last names in politics: Bill Boner. Boner was not very active in Congress, with his biggest bill being one that established National Sewing Month. He ran for Mayor of Nashville in 1987 and won.
He was succeeded by fellow Dem Bob Clement, who was fairly moderate despite representing a mostly liberal district. Clement voted to go to war in Iraq in 2002 and never faced substantial opposition for reelection. He ran for Senate in 2002 but lost to Lamar Alexander by 10%.
Read 8 tweets
28 Dec 20
Joe Biden may not have done well across the board this year, but he certainly improved in the Northeast. This was especially true of Massachusetts’s 3rd district, our #DistrictOfTheDay. Being wealthy and comparatively secular, MA-03 was ripe for Democratic inroads.
Eight of Massachusetts’ nine congressional districts are wealthier than the U.S. average. That might explain why the Bay State swung an impressive six points toward Democrats from 2016. Unfortunately for Ds, more votes in MA doesn’t do them many favors in the Electoral College.
Way back in the day, this seat was held by Paul Tsongas, a Dem who eventually became a U.S. Senator. A cancer diagnosis left him with one Senate term, but after recovering he ran for the presidency in 1992. Though he won 9 states, he placed third overall and withdrew in March.
Read 9 tweets

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