OH-SEN: Voinovich Out

Another Republican Senator is calling it quits:

Sources close to Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) tell CNN he will announce Monday afternoon he is retiring from the Senate.

Voinovich plans to serve out his term, which expires in 2010.

That raises the question of who will run to replace Voinovich. On the Democratic side, Governor Ted Strickland is up for re-election in 2010, but there’s an outside chance he could run for Senate instead. In terms of statewide officeholders, Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner come to mind.  Attorney General Richard Cordray and State Treasurer Kevin Boyce both took office this year, making Senatorial runs unlikely. Failed Gubernatorial candidate Tim Hagan could run, but probably won’t. From Ohio’s Congressional delegation, Marcy Kaptur, Dennis Kucinich, Betty Sutton, Tim Ryan and Zach Space have been in office long enough to mount a Senate run.

For the Republicans, former Secretary of State and failed Gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell could run if he fails to become RNC Chairman. I don’t think former Governor Bob Taft would go for it, but any of his three Lieutenant Governors–Maureen O’Connor, Jeanette Bradley or Bruce Johnson–could give it a shot. From Ohio’s Congressional delegation Jean Schmidt, Mike Turner, Jim Jordan, Pat Tiberi and Steven LaTourette have been in office long enough to run themselves. You could put John Boenher on that list, but I doubt he’d give up being House Majority Leader to become Ohio’s junior Senator.

Come 2010, Republicans are going to have to defend 19 Senate seats and Democrats will have to defend 17.  But, so far, 4 Republicans have retired (Martinez, Brownback, Bond and Voinovich) while no Democrats have, making the playing field even more lopsided in the Democrats’ favor. I’m not sure who will win either party’s nominations for this seat, but considering where Ohio has been moving politically I’d give a slight advantage to the Democrat.