The Cleveland Plain Dealer runs a front page story in todays Sunday edition (above the fold, with large photo) on Ohios Secreteray of State Ken Blackwell. Blackwell, say Democrats, is the "next Katherine Harris" because he is in charge of what (say they) is a massively flawed electoral system in the state. The story mentions all that (although it was written before Blackwells position on provisional ballots was vindicated by a federal court), but really turns out to be a background piece on Blackwell, the most prominent conservative politician in the state. While the Plain Dealer story is not exactly in Blackwells corner, either on the voting issues for the upcoming elections or on his political thinking, you can still get a pretty good idea--if you read with care--of what Blackwell is like. He is a tough, smart, well read, conservative, and deeply religious man (the PD doesnt mention that he is a Catholic) who is often at odds with his own party, a party still essentially moderate and Taft-like. And he is a guy who doesnt mind taking chances, which shows me that he is principled. And, by the way, Blackwell will run for governor is 2006; and he has a very good shot at it. I should add that I know Blackwell very well, met him in 1988 when I came to Ohio (We were on a panel discussion about foreign policy; I didnt know anything about him, but quickly discovered that not only was he smart, but we agreed on all the essentials; and he liked to laugh a lot!), and he has been sitting on the Ashbrook Centers Board for many years. He is worth paying attention to for many good and serious reasons, not only on how he handles the election in Ohio.