Ohio has 16 Congressional districts, 12 held by Republicans and four by Democrats. None of them are considered competitive. Here are the challengers for those two seats and the motivations for their long-shot bids.
The 11th District is Democrat country. It covers the east side and eastern suburbs of Cleveland, and a sliver of land south to Akron. Incumbent Marcia Fudge won the seat in 2008, and for 40 years before that it was held by Democrats Louis Stokes and Stephanie Tubbs-Jones.
But Republican Beverly Goldstein is giving it a shot.
At a meeting of Democrats in East Cleveland, Goldstein made her quick pitch to residents of a city staring down bankruptcy and annexation by the City of Cleveland. A newcomer, looking to pick up disillusioned voters, could find them here.
“So I realize that not many white people are in the room today and I realize it’s a great thing when you can elect someone of your own religion, your own group to represent you.”
Goldstein is 68 and intense. She doesn’t beat around the bush.
Goldstein focused on poverty while in East Cleveland and called out Fudge for spending years in Washington while the problems in the district persist. Then she was off to another event.
“I didn't decide to run for Congress because of the poverty issues, but I think the poverty issues are half of the equation now that I am educating myself,” she said.
The other half, she says, is national security. Specifically, President Obama’s agreement with Iran, which aims to halt that country’s nuclear weapons program. Goldstein vehemently opposes that deal. But that’s not her pitch when she talks to voters.
“Starting in January, I started to take this national security message into the inner city to talk to people about why I was running for Congress. And after a little while, people were saying, 'We think you're a really nice lady but what you're talking about isn't what we're worried about,'” Goldstein said.
Then there's Renacci's competition ...
On the other end of the political spectrum, out knocking on doors in North Royalton is "Keith Mundy, I’m running for Congress as a Democrat…”
Mundy’s driving around the neighborhoods near his home in Parma, putting out lawn signs on a chilly Saturday morning. It’s a windy day so he’s left the old camper, decorated with a four-by-six picture of himself, in his driveway.
Mundy’s running against Jim Renacci in the 16th District, a safe Republican district, that meanders from the west side of Cleveland down to Stark County. Mundy comes from the Bernie Sanders campaign for president. He calls himself a Berniecrat.
“And of course Democrats have gotten upset because I say I'm a Berniecrat. And I say well, I'm an FDR, New Deal kind of guy. I said I'm a real Democrat. I said it's the Democratic party that's moved away from me,” Mundy said.
When he’s not in full campaign mode, Mundy acknowledges that’s he probably not going to win. He sees his run as an example for young Berners out there thinking about taking a shot at politics.
“For some reason, you think you have to wait until a certain age, you have to play the game and earn your way to a certain spot. I don't believe that. I believe that if you feel you can do the job, you should step up and you should run for office," he said.
So Mundy and Goldstein, each for their own reasons, go out every day, knocking on doors and speaking to every crowd that’ll listen.