The Strickland for Governor campaign has been busy setting up its organization. I don't have all the information, but I can tell you that Strickland is getting Democratic political operatives with a national reputation for working for successful Democratic gubernatorial candidates in the South. The ability to win over rural voters will be key for Strickland to win the election, and having people with that kind of experience will help.
I've also been told that the official Strickland campaign website will be up in roughly four weeks (so patience people, it's still nine months until the primary.)
- Is the Coleman campaign wilting? Last week, former Ohio AG/'98 Gubernatorial nominee Lee Fisher announced that he would not run for Governor in 2006. At least one observer (besides myself) has theorized that Fisher realized there just wasn't enough support for him to be a credible primary candidate in an already competitive field. Michael Meckler of RedState.com (not to be confused with the national conservative blog, RedState.org) noted that the Strickland campaign suddenly, and (to him) unexpectedly, energized Democratic activists, thus sucking the oxygen out of the race for Fisher.
- Meckler further theorizes that Coleman, too, is starting to feel a little light-headed from the lack of oxygen and may need to seek shelter by running for another state-wide office such as State Auditor. You can read Meckler's post: here. It appears that Coleman has yet to dispel Democrats unease about his candidacy since the much overblown Glenn Beck interview. While Coleman is well-respected and considered a rising star of the Ohio Democratic Party, his candidacy was received more with acceptance than the enthusiasm I've seen with Strickland. Indeed, it's rare on sites like DailyKos to see people even mention Coleman anymore.
- Strickland gains county party endorsements: Only 40 days since announcing (and nine months before the primary), Strickland has been endorsed by eight Democratic Party County organizations. (The counties are Brown, Clinton, Columbiana, Gallia, Highland, Hocking, Pike, and Ross County.) Strickland has represented all but Brown County during his tenure in Congress. The chair of the Ohio Democratic County Chairs Organization is Susan Gwinn, Chair of the Athens County Democratic Party, and a long-time ally of Strickland's. 8 counties down, 80 to go!
- For any Deaniacs out there, there's a Strickland MeetUp group in Columbus. There's also one in Cincinnati in the works. If you're in the Columbus area, sign up.
As I learn more, I'll share what I can. BTW, next Wednesday, the Strickland MeetUp is hosting a fundraiser in Columbus at the Metro Bar and Grill at 6 p.m. You can get more information once you join the group!