Statewide Races: News and Notes
The latest in the statewide contests:
Governor: Rep. Ted Strickland (D-Lisbon) swept up four more newspaper endorsements this weekend: the Youngstown Vindicator (“Strickland has brought a touch of class” to the governor’s race), the Dayton Daily News ("not just because he’s been the better gentleman, but also because he’s right about what [the] job needs to be"), the Chillicothe Gazette ("a principled fighter who possesses drive and determination"), and the Lake County News Herald (“Ohio needs leadership now more than ever, and Strickland will provide it”).
Attorney General: State Sen. Marc Dann (D-Liberty Township) continues to display his tenacity in rooting out corruption in state government. Since early this month he has been seeking release of an internal audit at the Bureau of Workers Compensation directed at allegations that powerful state officials have intervened in the rate setting process, securing favorable rates for politically connected employers. Dann renewed his demand at a press conference last week, and on Saturday it was reported in the Cleveland Plain Dealer that BWC Administrator William Mabe has asked for the audit to be expedited and released by Wednesday. "Dann said a confidential source at the BWC has told him that unnamed legislators were able to reduce the medical insurance rates paid by 'politically connected employers arbitrarily, manually, without any actuarial analysis done.' He said the source said the reductions occurred 'on a repeated basis over the last 10 years.'"
Dann answered questions on the national blog Fire Dog Lake on Saturday.
Today Dann said the controversy swirling around the new voter identification rules for absentee ballots highlights the need for the Voter Integrity Division he will create within the Attorney General's office when he is elected. "Thousands of Ohioans may be disenfranchised because the Republican Secretary of State and the Republican Attorney General are once again playing politics with the right to vote," Dann said. "If we are going to have voter ID requirements, they should be enforced equally and equitably in every county. No one should lose their right to vote simply because they happen to live in a county where the rules are not being applied as they should be, as the evidence in this case suggests."
Auditor: The Cleveland Plain Dealer endorsed State Rep. Mary Taylor (R-Green) over State Rep. Barbara Sykes (D-Akron) on Sunday, swayed by her status as a CPA. However, the editors praise Sykes as an "earnest, smart legislator who has rightly questioned Taylor's subtle attempts to inject race into this contest."
Sykes was endorsed by the Lake County News Herald today. The editors wrote that "the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation investment scandal has transformed the race for state auditor into a quest for restoring public confidence in the office," and Sykes' twelve years as a deputy auditor for Summit County is a better background to deal with this challenge.
Secretary of State: Jennifer Brunner (D-Columbus) will answer questions in a live blog session on DailyKos tomorrow, October 31st, at 11:00 am. Brunner will answer as many questions as possible for an hour. Brunner's campaign indicates that topics of discussion are likely to include "the recent voter ID rulings, the state of elections in Ohio, and Brunner's ideas about how to improve our elections process." Participants can click here at 11:00 am tomorrow and they will be redirected to the live blogging thread. Anyone can ask a question early by sending it to liveblogquestions-at-jenniferbrunner-dot-com.
Treasurer: There will be an "Ohio is in Jeopardy" party for Rich Cordray (D-Grove City) on Thursday, November 2nd, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Harry Buffalo restaurant on E. 4th Street in downtown Cleveland. (Cordray was a five-time Jeopardy champion, back when that was the limit.) Tickets are $25 and $50.