But Young and the three other Democrats he'll battle in an Oct. 4
primary face serious obstacles -- including division within their own
party -- in their quest to place a Democrat in former Rep. Chris
Voters in the special primary will see 17 candidates on the
ballot, including 10 from the GOP, the party that's dominated local
elections for years. If no candidate takes more than 50% of the
primary vote, the winners from each party will appear on a Dec. 6
general election ballot.
With the state party endorsement under his belt, Young is the
apparent front-runner among Democrats.
He's a trial lawyer with the requisite showmanship, and he was
first to jump into the House race on the Democratic side. Something
about him attracted attention from the team that worked on the
campaign of Paul Hackett, a Democrat who narrowly lost an Aug. 2
special election for Ohio's 2nd Congressional District seat. Hackett
took more than 48% of the vote in that race.
"We see this as a continuation of the momentum in Ohio and the
fact that Democrats can come into a heavily Republican district and
bring a message that resonates with people," said Kate Bedingfield,
Young's press secretary and one member of the five-person team from
"The common link I see between Paul and Steve is their adherence
to their own personal ideology, regardless of what is 'correct' for
the district," she said.
Young hasn't stuck to the issues some Democrats have claimed as
theirs. On the issues page of his slickly-produced website, the top
item is the economy. Immigration, likely to figure in this race
because of the candidacy of Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist,
comes in at No. 3, while the Iraq war is the last item at No. 6.
Other Democrats rank the war higher on their list of talking
points -- it's what drew retired teacher Bea Foster, 67, of North
Tustin, into the race.
"I just decided to run because I didn't see any of the Democrats
being very antiwar," she said. "In fact, my signs are going to say,
'End Iraq war now!'"