Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Wednesday, February 22

OH Gov: Strickland (D) Touts Lead, Blackwell (R) Blasts Petro (R)

On his campaign web site and in an email to supporters, gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ted Strickland (D-Lisbon) is trumpeting this new Rasmussen poll that shows him leading Republican front-runner Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R-Cincinnati) by twelve points, 47% to 35%, with 12% undecided. This is an eight point increase from Rasmussen's January poll, which showed him leading Blackwell 44% to 40%. Strickland leads the other Republican candidate, Attorney General Jim Petro (R-Rocky River), in the new poll 44% to 37%, essentially unchanged from January.

On the Republican side of the race, Blackwell has unleashed a scathing 30-second TV attack ad and a similar radio spot against his opponent. The TV ad, described by the Toledo Blade here, starts with indicted Republican fundraiser Tom Noe, moves on to current Republican Governor Bob Taft's conviction on ethics violations last year, and then links Noe and Taft to the ongoing FBI investigation of allegations that Petro threatened attorneys with losing state legal work unless they contributed to his political campaign. The ad concludes: "Petro's ethics are worse than Taft's."

Taft's disastrously low approval rating of 16% makes it plain that the Taft name is a powerful political weapon, but it's shocking to see one member of Taft's own administration try to use it against another. As to the Noe scandal, Noe contributed to both Blackwell and Petro in prior campaigns. However, Blackwell hopes that Petro will be especially tainted on the theory that Petro, as Attorney General, failed to take prompt legal action against Noe.

Denunciation of Blackwell has been swift and furious. As reported in the Cleveland Plain Dealer "blog" Openers, Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett denounced Blackwell's smear tactics, saying that Blackwell "knows the accusations in these ads are politically motivated, and this kind of guttural [sic] politics doesn't win votes. If we can't win with substantive ideas for leading Ohio, we don't belong in the race." Petro's campaign manager, Bob Paduchik, said "Ken Blackwell's campaign of lies will not distract voters from his failed policies and his out-of-control spending record."


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