CityBeat broke the story earlier this week that former Cincinnati Council member and Democratic Candidate Greg Harris is dropping out of the race for Hamilton County Commissioner. Harris's job will be requiring him to travel extensively, so he won't be able to effectively campaign or later serve on the commission.
The Hamilton County Democratic party will be able to name another person to run in November. Harris was unopposed in the Primary last week. This opens up the possibilities. I would not be surprised to see some familiar names brought up as possible contenders to face off against Hartman.
With the Presidential election taking place this year, the Democratic nominee will have very strong coattails to seize upon. President Obama won Hamilton County by pulling in non-regular voters to the polls. All expectations are that he will do this again in 2012. Republican Hartman ran against an non-endorsed candidate in 2008 and still only got 216,000+ votes, compared to 251,000+ votes for Democrat Todd Portune, running the same year in a separate race.
With the right candidate, say a John Cranley or maybe even a Jim Tarbell, Hartman could go down.
The problem is having a campaign team. Neither Cranley or Tarbell have a campaign up and running and it will take resources. Both have the most important resource to have in November: name recognition.
The other name I could think of would be Cincinnati Council member Cecil Thomas. Thomas is term limited and he ran against Tarbell in 2010 Dem primary for commissioner, so he has interest in the job. Thomas does not have the name recognition of Tarbell or Cranley, but he's a pretty conservative Dem and a former police officer. That type of resume plays well in the inner-suburbs. Add the fact that he's African-American and likely can county on support of Obama voters who bother to vote down ticket, he could be a strong candidate, if he can get a campaign off the ground soon.