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« McKinney Wins Green Nod | Blog Home Page | Strategy Memo: War, Peace And Polls »

GOP Leads In Regula Seat

In a landscape in which Democrats seem to find new House targets on a daily basis, Republicans look for any good news they can find. The GOP got some today in a suburban and rural Ohio district south of Cleveland and Akron many once believed was as good as gone to Democrats. According to a new poll, not only are Democrats not running away with the seat, the Republican State Senator is leading.

The Tarrance Group survey, conducted for State Senator Kurt Schuring's campaign, surveyed 400 likely voters between 7/8-9 for a margin of error of +/- 4.9%. Schuring, the Republican nominee, and State Senator John Boccieri, the Democratic nominee, were tested.

General Election Matchup
Schuring............40
Boccieri.............34

Sure, it's a Republican poll, but the fact that Schuring is ahead of Boccieri, a widely-touted candidate who made the party's Red to Blue list of top challengers, is a big plus for the GOP. Given so many undecided voters, though, and the fact that Schuring is well below the critical 50% marker, there is little question that both parties will target the seat heavily.

The Sixteenth District, represented by Republican Ralph Regula for the last 36 years, includes Canton, as well as three counties to the West, in Wayne, Medina and most of Ashland Counties. The third-ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, Regula is stepping down this year, giving Schuring and Boccieri shots at representing the seat.

The district voted for President Bush with 53% in 2000 and 54% in 2004, though Regula managed only 58% in both his Republican primary and in the general election in November. Recent Democratic candidates including Governor Ted Strickland and Senator Sherrod Brown have won Stark County, where Canton is, indicating the district's growing Democratic population.

Still, the seat remains fundamentally Republican. Schuring has a very good chance of keeping the seat in GOP hands, but Boccieri should not be counted out. Watch for both parties to make the seat a top priority this Fall.