I'm curious about this question: which of the non-incumbents will have a shot at winning a Council seat this year? I know it's early, but here are my thoughts.
It could be the "year of the woman," so to speak. I suspect Quinlivan will do well, with both Mallory's and (probably) the HamCo Dem endorsement, along with huge name recognition. And Amy Murray, with the HCRP endorsement, may well be a candidate to watch; I'll bet she runs an energetic campaign and quickly makes up for non-Hyde Park voters' current lack of familiarity with her (although I'm a bit disturbed that she doesn't seem to have a campaign website yet).
Tony Fischer, also Mallory-endorsed (almost certainly Dem-endorsed, and perhaps Obama-endorsed by the end of the campaign) has to be viewed as a strong contender (of course, he might not be a non-incumbent by election time). I also think Lemarque Ward is a candidate to keep an eye on. He's known by a lot of Cincinnati leaders, and I'll bet he puts together a strong grass-roots force. I don't know if he's seeking the Dem endorsement, and if so, whether he'll get it. And Nicholas Hollan, a Driehaus-endorsed candidate (which may foreshadow a Dem endorsement) will likely enjoy strong West Side support. Finally, Reverend Charlie Winburn, 2007's first runner-up, has to be the early non-incumbent favorite.
How about the opposite--non-incumbents without a prayer? Again, it's hard to know. But one candidate who is apparently trying to stake out a last place spot for himself is newcomer Daryl Cordrey, a Republican who did not gain his party's endorsement. Based on his website, he will seek a seat on Council employing a troika of poor grammar, typographical errors, and race-baiting (in the sole entry on his blog, he tells us he is running because Cincinnati is on "the brink of becoming another Detroit" and refers to "the Jesse Jackson wanna be [sic] Chris Smitherman"). Looks like we've found our 2009 fringe candidate.
What are your thoughts? Who am I missing? Who's doomed to fail? Who will keep us entertained? What are the issues that are going to drive the campaign?