2010 Midterm Elections: Ohio and the Nation

FRI, SEP 24, 2010 (1:35:03)

The Center for Policy Studies at Case Western Reserve University presents a forum on the critical races, inside and outside Ohio, that will be decided in the crucial 2010 midterm elections.

Two prominent campaign strategists, Jerry Austin and Mark Weaver, provide their expert analysis and observations on some of the more competitive electoral races occurring in the November elections. Alexander P. Lamis, Case Western Reserve University associate professor of political science, moderates the discussion.

+ BIO: Jerry Austin

Jerry Austin is one of America's most experienced and most successful strategists and advisors, having operated his own marketing and political consulting firm for more than 30 years.

Mr. Austin's clients have included President Jimmy Carter, Senator Gary Hart, Senator Paul Tsongas, Senator Carol Moseley Braun, Senator Paul Wellstone, Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator JohnGlenn, Governor Richard Celeste, Governor Jim Guy Tucker, Reverend Jess Jackson, Mayor Jane Campbell, MSZP in Hungary, Obama for President and numerous members of Congress.

Mr. Austin was a member of the international delegations who witnessed the The Marcos/Aquino election in the Philippines and the Pinochet Plebiscite in Chile and was an advisor to the SDLP in Northern Ireland when they beat Gerry Adams for the MP seat in Belfast.

Austin's corporate clients have included the American Automobile Manufacturer's Association (Chrysler, Ford, and GM), American Electric Power, Cincinnati Gas & Electric, Dayton Power & Light, Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Nationwide Insurance, State Farm Insurance, Aetna Insurance, First Energy and MedExpert. In 1988, Mr. Austin was Jesse Jackson's National Campaign Manager and in 1992 he served as a Senior Political Advisor to Senator Paul Tsongas' campaign for President.

In 2006, he helped the MSZP retain enough seats in Parliament to remain in power in Hungary. Mr. Austin's governmental clients have included The Greater Cleveland Growth Association, Cuyahoga County Regional Transit Authority, and the President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, The Cleveland School Board, The Columbus School Board, the State of Arkansas Highway Department and the State of Virginia Department of Health.

Mr. Austin, a native of the Bronx, New York, earned his BA from The City College of New York, a Masters in Public Administration from New York University and an MA in Education from the University of Akron. Mr. Austin has been an Adjunct Professor at The University of Akron Bliss Institute of Politics, a Fellow at The University of Kansas Dole Institute of Politics and a guest lecturer at the Zagreb Economics University in Zagreb, Croatia.

Mr. Austin is a member of the International Association of Political Consultants and the American Association of Political Consultants. He attended IAPC conferences in Budapest, Johannesburg and Barcelona. He received the distinguished "Pollie Award" from the AAPC for his work for the Jackson for President Campaign.

Mr. Austin is the author of "Incredible Tales From The Campaign Trail" as well as "Running With The Reverend" (M Magazine) and several Op Ed pieces.

+ BIO: Mark Weaver

Mark Weaver is the founder of Communications Counsel Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. He is a practicing attorney and national communications advisor with two decades of crisis management experience, having counseled clients in 16 states.

The Columbus Dispatch called Mr. Weaver "one of the most powerful figures in state government and Statehouse politics." The Cincinnati Enquirer agreed, describing him as "a top professional," and "a veteran strategist."

Prior to founding the firm, Mr. Weaver was the Deputy Attorney General of Ohio, where he was responsible for crisis management, strategic counseling and all communications for an agency with 1,400 employees and 50,000 cases. He also served on the Attorney General's four-member Executive Staff and acted as a senior policy advisor and chief spokesman. While there, he co-authored a National Association of Attorneys General Management Study on communications management in five different state attorney general offices.

His past professional assignments include serving as the Assistant Director of Public Affairs for the U.S Department of Justice and Vice President of a national communications firm in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Weaver has provided media advice to thousands of government officials. He's written hundreds of PR plans, conducted media coaching, and supervised countless polls and focus groups. In 1993, he wrote, produced, and directed the TV special "An American Story," hosted by former President Ronald Reagan.

Mr. Weaver regularly lectures around the country for such clients as the Jo Ann Davidson Leadership Institute, the Ann Anstine Excellence in Public Service Series, the John Glenn School of Public Affairs, Adelphia Cable, the National Association of State Retirement Administrators, the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, the American Bar Association, the National Fraternal Order of Police, the Ohio Rural Electric Coop, Ohio University, and the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Mr. Weaver is an experienced First Amendment and Election Law attorney who also teaches Election Law at the University of Akron and Media Law at The Ohio State University College of Law.

Early in his career, Mr. Weaver was a Communications Director with the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He also ran a Philadelphia-area communications consulting firm serving more than 100 clients.

Mr. Weaver earned Bachelors and Masters degrees in Public Administration from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania, where he has received more alumni awards than any other graduate of that institution. As an undergraduate, he served a Fellowship with the Center for the Study of the Presidency.

He earned his Juris Doctorate from the Delaware Law School of Widener University, where he graduated in the top 15% of his class. In 2004, the University of Akron awarded Mr. Weaver an honorary degree in Applied Politics.

He has been interviewed by every major national media outlet including 60 Minutes, Nightline, ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, MSNBC, CNN, FOX News, NPR, BBC, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, and Reuters. He was recognized in both "Who's Who in American Law" and "Who's Who in American Politics."

He is also a part-time felony-level prosecutor in Southern Ohio, where he often prosecutes child sex abuse cases. Mr. Weaver and his wife Lori reside in Central Ohio, where they are raising their two children.

+ BIO: Alexander Lamis

A native of Charleston, South Carolina, Professor Lamis earned a B.A. in history from the College of Charleston in 1968, a Ph.D. in political science from Vanderbilt University in 1982 and a J.D. from the University of Maryland Law School in 1984.

A specialist on elections and political parties, he is the author of The Two-Party South, 2d expanded edition (Oxford University Press, 1990), which was co-winner of the V. O. Key Award when the book's first edition was published in 1984.

He has also written various articles and book chapters on the politics of the American South. For example, in 2005 he published "The Emergence of a Two-Party System: Southern Politics in the Twentieth Century," in Craig S. Pascoe, Karen Trahan Leathem, and Andy Ambrose, eds., The American South in the Twentieth Century (University of Georgia Press, 2005), pp. 225-246. In 1991, he sketched his predictions for the politics of his native region in "The Future of Southern Politics: New Directions for Dixie," in Joe P. Dunn and Howard L. Preston, eds., The Future South: A Historical Perspective for the Twenty-first Century (University of Illinois Press), pp. 49-80.

Shortly after his arrival at Case two decades ago, he was asked by the university's magazine to write a first-person account of how he came to focus his research on the politics of his native region. Starting with a detailed description of a memorable, unplanned "confrontation" with George Wallace, the segregationist Alabama governor, while working as a TV journalist in South Carolina, Prof. Lamis tells how his extensive first-hand contact with the chaotic partisan politics of Dixie in the latter part of the 1960s and early 1970s led to his study of the rise of two-party competition in the old one-party Democratic South after he became a political science graduate student at Vanderbilt University. The CWRU Magazine article is reprinted below.

Professor Lamis is also co-editor of Ohio Politics, revised & updated edition (Kent State University Press, 2007). He wrote the book's concluding chapter on Ohio electoral and political party system change from the Civil War through the historic 2006 election. When the first edition of Ohio Politics was published in 1994, it was his first book project involving collaboration among political scientists and journalists. See below for more on the new edition of Ohio Politics.

His second edited book, Southern Politics in the 1990's, was published by Louisiana State University Press in 1999. He is the author of the lengthy introductory and concluding chapters of this collaborative work that contains eleven state chapters written by teams of Southern political scientists and journalists. His concluding chapter to the volume seeks to place Southern electoral patterns within the broader context of overall national electoral and party system change. A review of this book is reprinted below. Before joining the Case Western Reserve University faculty in 1988, Dr. Lamis taught at the University of North Florida (1985- 1988) and the University of Mississippi (1981-1985) and worked as a research assistant for James L. Sundquist at the Brookings Institution in Washington (1980-1981).

From September 1985 to August 1986, he taught at U.S. military bases in England, Greece, Spain, and Turkey as a visiting professor in Troy State University's graduate public administration program in Europe. In the summer of 1984, he traveled throughout Cameroon in West Africa as part of a U.S. government-sponsored Fulbright Groups Project Abroad.

Prior to beginning graduate school at Vanderbilt in the fall of 1973, he worked as a newspaper reporter at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson and at the Columbia Record in South Carolina's capital and served as a supply officer in the U.S. Navy in Iceland. During his last two years in college, he worked as a part-time television reporter for the CBS affiliate in Charleston, WCSC-TV.

While in graduate school at Vanderbilt, he worked as a part-time copy editor at the Nashville Tennessean. Later, he was a regional news editor and copy editor at the Bergen Record in New Jersey, and, while writing his Ph.D. dissertation and attending law school at the University of Maryland, he worked as a copy editor at the Baltimore Sun. At that time, he also taught part-time at Towson University in suburban Baltimore.

Recently he was delighted to be asked by the editor of the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 2nd ed., to write a profile of his favorite political scientist, V. O. Key, Jr. His Key article, which was published in early 2008, is reprinted below. At Case, in addition to being a member of the Faculty Senate and various university committees, he founded in the spring of 1989 the popular on-going faculty/staff Friday public affairs discussion forum. In 1992 he was an initial organizer of a university-wide public policy initiative, which sponsored over a dozen two-hour forums under his direction. He also initiated a network of Northeast Ohio political scientists in 1989 that promoted collaborative contact among area political scientists for nearly two decades. In 1997, he took a bar examination for the first time, passed it, and was admitted to practice law in Ohio by the Ohio Supreme Court. He has kept his law license current since then by attending the required Continuing Legal Education courses every two years.

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