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Tuesday, October 24

Atty Gen: Dann (D) Endorsed by Vindicator

The Youngstown Vindicator today joins the Toledo Blade (Oct. 15: "Ohio needs a watchdog, not a partisan lapdog, as attorney general") as major Ohio newspapers endorsing State Sen. Marc Dann (D-Liberty Township) over Auditor Betty Montgomery (R-Perrysburg). These are the papers that know the two candidates the best (Dann is from the Youngstown area and Montgomery hails from the Toledo area), and the Blade won a Pulitzer for its reporting on the Bureau of Workers Compensation/Coingate scandal.

The Vindicator cites Montgomery's ties to Tom Noe, who "hobnobbed with President Bush, Gov. Bob Taft and other high-ranking Republicans" but now "represents the worst of the pay-to-play culture that has permeated state government under Republican control," standing trial in Toledo for massive fraud and theft. Noe "has said that key Republicans knew what he was doing," which the editors indicate may prove to include Montgomery, although she insists otherwise. But Dann, "whose dogged pursuit of the investment scheme known as coingate has put him in the public spotlight throughout the state, insists that Montgomery was less than aggressive in her pursuit of coingate because of her friendship with Noe." Because the editors cannot "respond with an unequivocal 'no'" to the question of whether Montgomery is implicated in the Noe scandal," they conclude that "an endorsement of Montgomery would be too risky."

The editors acknowledge that Dann received a sanction from the Ohio Supreme Court for not adequately representing a client, but state that they "have been impressed by his commitment to not only get to the bottom of the investment scam, but to expose the pay-to-play culture that has marked state government under the Republicans." They hope Dann "will continue to be the watchdog of state government and will use his position as Ohio's lawyer to uncover corruption wherever it may exist and to go after lawbreakers, regardless of party."


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