An Interview with David Esrati

Disclosure: David Esrati is a founding member of Reconstructing Dayton

On Friday we sat down and talked with David Esrati, candidate for Ohio’s 10th Congressional District. Esrati has been a fixture in Dayton politics for years due to his perpetual appearance on local ballots despite the fact that he has yet to win. He argues that this experience makes him best equipped to face Mike Turner in the general election, while also touting his business experience and work as a “citizen journalist.”

Esrati spoke at length about his idea for an election “donation portal” that would be run by the FEC and allow for voters to track all political donations. The idea certainly sounds ambitious, but it seems like an idea that would be difficult to convince other members of Congress to go along (as is true with pretty much any proposed reform of Congress itself). However, Esrati was undeterred by any legal or logistical hurdles, insisting that his ideas for campaign finance reform are necessary to make elections fair.

Esrati also told several anecdotes about his history with incumbent congressman Mike Turner. Their paths have intersected several times since they both ran for the Mayor of Dayton in 1993. After Esrati was eliminated in the primary, Turner barely won over incumbent Mayor Richard Clay Dixon, and he has turned that victory into a political career lasting decades. Although Esrati never defeated Turner on the campaign trail, he notes won in court after then-mayor Turner had Esrati removed from a city commission meeting for staging a political protest.

Unlike Baxter Stapleton, who made supporting Wright Patterson Air Force Base a staple of his campaign, Esrati argues that the standing investments in Wright Patt will make it a consistent economic force in the Miami Valley for the foreseeable future. He also criticizes the development of conventional weapons systems, insisting that the future of warfare will be in cyber and biological weapons.

Esrati certainly pushes for unconventional solutions, and his campaign largely sounds like a plea for voters to prioritize issues that don’t typically receive a lot of attention. Should he make it through the primary, he would definitely be a unique pick for the Democrats.

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