Ohio’s 4th Congressional District isn’t the longest in the state nor the most convoluted. Nor does it have the most disenfranchised voters. It’s near the top of all three categories, but it also has the distinction of being home to one of the most liberal communities in the country represented by one of the most conservative members of Congress.
Five years ago, few people in Ohio were paying close attention to the claim that political consultants – armed with partisan power, increasingly sophisticated computer technology and big data – were in a position to hijack democracy.
It was a chilly winter day in North Akron, just a few blocks from the Sand Run Metro Park. Out in a straight line, heading just 4 miles southwest from this spot, you could travel through all four of Summit County’s Congressional districts.
Ian Yarber, a former Oberlin school board member, considers himself a knowledgeable voter. He lives at the northeast end of Ohio’s 4th Congressional District, which stretches south and west nearly to the Indiana border.