Ben Konop (D), one of my good pals from law school, is running for the House seat in the 4th district of Ohio, another Midwestern district hurt by job losses. He now has a web site up. Another good buddy, Brent Smyth, left his high paying job (and the ceaseless wonders of the City by the Bay) to work as Ben's campaign manager in Ada, Ohio. Now that's commitment.
Ben Konop is in an uphill battle to unseat incumbent Republican bigwig Mike Oxley, a big tool of special interests. Ben's charismatic and savvy -- a natural retail politician -- and he'll have a shot because this guy Oxley is basically selling out his constituents to corporate interests. Konop's running unopposed in the primaries, and he's already lined up considerable support from traditional Democratic groups. He'll give Oxley a hell of a fight. And even if Konop doesn't win, a strong campaign will force Oxley to spend money that would otherwise be diverted to other races. More importantly, Konop might be able get out Democratic voters who might help make the difference in the presidential election in this crucial swing state. Remember, in 2000, Gore only lost by 4 points to Bush in Ohio, despite giving up on the state over the last two months of the campaign. A strong GOTV effort, coupled with anxiety over jobs, might help make the difference. If Kerry poaches one of either: Ohio *or* Florida or Arizona or (Arkansas + New Hampshire) and keep the Gore states, he'll win. Not easy, but definitely doable.
Contribute to the Konop campaign. That money will help the Democratic nominee more than donating to the DNC, you can be sure of that.
And if Ben Chandler can prevail in the much-watched Kentucky special election next week, as is likely, maybe the House isn't lost forever.