In 1998, Chabot defeated the well-liked former mayor of Cincinnati, Roxanne Qualls (also a current IOP fellow) with 53 percent of the vote, a race in which the Democratic National Committee had poured in money and support.
Democrats were determined to try to oust Chabot in this election, but late last fall the only candidate thought capable of beating him was popular Cincinnati city council member Todd Portune.
Democratic leadership wanted Portune to run so much that Congressional Minority Leader Richard Gephardt called him personally to persuade him to run, but to no avail.
The Democratic leadership then believed that the district would not change hands in 2000.
But things started to change with the discovery of Cranley's youthful enthusiasm and charisma.
"At first no one had any expectations of me, and the Democrats had basically conceded the District. But our people have been fighting like the dickens for attention and funding, and they've done a phenomenal job," Cranley said. "No one sat me down and told me so, but the understanding is that if I raised $100,000 by April 1st, then I would start getting serious attention."
Another factor working in Cranley's favor is that he grew up in the western suburbs, which is the center of Chabot's power base. In fact, Qualls' loss in 1998 has been attributed to her failure to carry this part of the city. She carried 64 percent of the votes from the city, but only carried 34 percent of votes from the suburbs.
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NEWSPEAK"Steve Chabot wants to destroy families of the poor only because they are black and poor. Steve Chabot wants the