Wednesday, January 11, 2006

It's 'Official': Cafaro To Run for Brown's Seat

Though there's been no formal announcement yet, we hear that Capri Cafaro will definitely enter the race for Ohio's 13th Congressional District, the seat being vacated by Sherrod Brown. In a 2004 race for Congress against incumbent Steve LaTourrette, she performed perhaps better than some might have expected (though she still lost by a wide margin). The influential liberal Dem activist Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, who blogs as Daily Kos,
called her "a talented and effective candidate." Closer to home, the Scene's Becky Meiser followed her fellow 20-something around the campaign trail long enough to file this memorable profile. As a then-26-year-old, she would have been the youngest woman ever elected to Congress (under the U.S. Constitution, only those 25 or older may hold that office). Cafaro's most formidable opponent will no doubt be Tom Sawyer, the former mayor of Akron and later a popular six-term Congressman from that area. One important blemish to his record that could come back to haunt him: During the Clinton years, he ran into some serious heat from labor unions for his votes in favor of NAFTA, and there are conflicting reports on whether he's since been forgiven. The competition for the endorsements of various unions should be one of the highlights of this race.

As heiress to a large shopping mall fortune, Cafaro is expected to pump $1 million into her own campaign, or well over half of the total budget for the race. While that's of course a substantial benefit in any race, she also ran into some minor flack for her fundraising during the last race.
And I mean minor: the Federal Elections Commission, a notoriously toothless agency, fined one of her family members $1,000 and ordered campaign figures to attend FEC seminars.


At 11:42 PM, Blogger Daniella said...


What are you doing? Capri is to me a Mafia Princess. I am not from Ohio but that is what I think. So what is this legitimacy attempt to run for office.

On the other hand, people do think badly of politicians and used car salesmen.

Maybe we should have an interview with Capri. I'd love to meet a person who is named after the most beautiful place in Italy. We often say in French, "Voir Capri et mourir."

At 9:48 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

What am I doing? Merely reporting something that I found at least modestly newsworthy. And the fact that it will appear here before you read it in larger, more traditional media makes it only that much more interesting to me. But your question suggests that you may have thought I was thereby somehow endorsing her or suggesting to readers that I think she'd be a good candidate. Nothing of the sort. I'm entirely neutral on that point. The voters of the 13th district, of which I'm not a member, will decide that.

At 12:02 PM, Blogger Jill said...

How is she eligible for the 13th? What's LaTourette in? I'm confused, sorry.

Daniella - I LOVED Capri. You are so right. Man, what a memorable place and time. Thanks for the bright spot today. And an MTB with her would be intriguing!

At 12:06 PM, Blogger Jill said...

Oops - I'm having an Emily Litella moment - Nevermind. She's the dem challenger, LaTourette = Repub. Sorry. :)

At 4:30 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Not to worry--Emily L. is one of the most enduring characters ever on SNL, as well as one of my favs. But we're showing our age by using her (from the dustbins of TV history, relatively speaking) as our cultural reference points...

At 8:07 PM, Blogger Scott Piepho said...

The carpetbagette is eligible in the 13th because in Ohio you don't have to live in the district you represent. Sawyer and (I think the current frontrunner) Betty Sutton live near, but not in the 13th.

I live in the 13th and, if you can't tell, am unamused. In fact, I'm going to head back over to my place and hurl grief at Capri.

At 8:19 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

"Carpetbaggette"! Now there's an excellent coinage. I think you should copyright that, Scott. As for Betty Sutton, Sherrod's annointed successor, what's your read on her chances? Perhaps I'm assuming Sawyer will be the more formidable candidate only because he's long been a known quantity up here in Cuyahoga, while she's got little or no name recognition here.

At 10:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't believe anything I read from a Rebecca Mesier story. I was a subject on a story she wrote for the Scene -- she did the most unprofeessional job I have ever witnessed out of a journalist.

At 12:22 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Sorry, Josh, but there should be no anonymous comments here, most of all ones criticizing someone else's work. I'll have to change my settings on that. Of course you'd feel she's unprofessional if she dug up some unattractive truths about you, but without your identifying your name and allowing us to find the story in question, there's no way for us to judge who to believe. I'll have to invite Becky to give me a clue as to which of her subjects you might be. Or perhaps a quick scan of the Scene archives will help me figure that out.

At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

didn't mean to be anonymous

if you do know her i'd love for her to respond to some questions. also, i know the others (city manager, mayor, etc) in the article have also said they were misrepresented and might like the chance to talk to her also.

we'll start with these: What led her not to mention McCormack Baron's involvement in the project and its role as construction manager? How come she excluded the affordable housing component of the project, the financing from philanthropists, financing from the enterprise Foundation? That info was all readily available yet didnt make it to print.

I'm sorry but the exclusion of that info led me to believe she took the easiest thesis she could find and wrote that. It makes me distrust a lot of her work, perhaps unfairly

I like your site so sorry to violate any anonymous protocals. Won't happen again

At 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To clarify: I don't think she should have mentioned these things because journalism should solely be some banal list of accomplishments that praise the subject. I believe the oppoisite actually. But it just seemed that if she were going to write about how we were bumbling slackers who were doing a project all by ourselves with no experienced hands at the table, she at least needed to mention how it was we managed to accomplish what we have thus far and why having the partners we have wasn't relevent. That to me would have been decent and fair, even if i disagreed. But to not mention them at all seems kind of irresponsible.

John I'd be curious as to your thoughts on this?

At 11:44 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Many thanks for providing this detail. I will indeed study all of this and A). give her a chance to respond (I've met Becky only once, but have stayed in modest email touch since) and/or B). try to give you my best reading of the fairness of what I found, in a subsequent post. But I'll first wait to see if we can get a response from the author.

At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fair enough.

The experience made me very skeptical of the Scene as a whole. The Cafaro article might be spot on but I just can't trust the source.

My sense is that when the Scene writer gets assigned a story they have to produce an article that fits within the ethos of the publication. I suppose that's commonplace. But with the Scene it seems like scandal and controversy are what they go for, even when none exists. I suppose writers for the Scene or any freelance publication don't get called back to do more stories if they don't find a "hook" for an article. It just sucks when you are on the other end of the hook. The article read more like a personal attack then an indepth analysis of the highlights and blemishes of the project.

i also found the reporter hadn't done any homework before we were interviewed. She clearly either hadn't read our files that were on public record (where she would have read about things like our partners experience, bank investments, 70% deposist on apartments) and asked questions about a lawsuit without having read any of the court papers surrounding it (again public record). I felt like she just didn't do any work before the interview and instead took the "so tell me about when you beat your wife - you beat your wife, Yes or No?" route.

Anyhow, sorry to gripe, its just I read your blog with regularity and wanted to caution you to be especially skeptical when reading one of Ms. Meiser's pieces


At 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Capri has been going around Lorain county and speaking at events. Man she is one knowledgable and energetic woman! I think she would be a fantastic replacement for Sherrod Brown. Go Capri! Don't listen to all the people who constantly pick on you! You can be the next Congresswoman in the 13th district!

At 12:18 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Hmmm. Might this be a new form of spam, one that we could call Campaign Spam? It seems harmless enough in itself, but sorry, I stubbornly cling to the assumption that whenever something is said anonymously, it's immediately suspect until proven otherwise.


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