General Assembly Races: News and Notes
More items of note in local legislative campaigns:
7th Senate District: The Kentucky-based Community Press offers a look at the contest between challenger Rick Smith (D-Cincinnati) and incumbent Bob Schuler (R-Sycamore Township) today that has the former sounding ambitious and the latter jaded. Smith admits it's difficult campaigning in "the most Republican district in the state" but believes people want change. "I am willing to think out of the box to fix our most difficult problems," he said. He wants to expand insurance coverage to the thousands of area uninsured and would support alternative medicine and the creation of "penalties in the Medicaid and state-administered group plans for smokers and obese citizens." His five-part plan for job growth includes creating an industrial plan and raising the minimum raise. Schuler believes the economy and job creation go hand-and-hand and that Ohio needs to replace manufacturing jobs with jobs that require a higher education. Schuler said unlike his opponent he has experience working to solve the state's problems and will continue to look for "practical results." He won't attempt to solve all the problems in the state with ambitious plans and programs. "No one person can do that, but inexperienced people think they can," Schuler said.
9th District: In a race I don't know much about the Cincinnati Enquirer last week endorsed recently appointed incumbent Eric Kearney (D-Cincinnati) over Tom Brown (R-Norwood). Kearney is an attorney and media executive, praised by the editors for his "professional accomplishments, legal skill, record of service with community organizations, political connections and ... abilities in party fund-raising." In his short tenure he has "managed to submit a dozen or so bills in the Senate" and established a set of issues on which to focus, including "children's issues, small business health care incentives, brownfield redevelopment, [and] crime prevention."
13th Senate District: On Monday the Elyria Chronicle Telegram commented on negative advertising in this race between Sue Morano (D-Lorain) and Martha Wise (R-Avon) for the open seat of term-limited incumbent Jeffry Armbruster (R-North Ridgeville). Wise said that there has been a "definite negative tenor" in the race and complained that Morano has been "lambasting my age” and “hasn’t been very civil in trying to blame me for things that aren’t my fault.” Wise claims that she told the ORP to stop bashing Morano after a commercial and mailer accused Morano of walking out on her patients during a nursing strike she led in 2000. Morano said she’s been concentrating on grassroots efforts and will continue to do so. “I feel pretty comfortable where I’m at, but not extremely comfortable,” Morano said. “I know what I have to do.”
In a separate story, the same newspaper reviewed last week's campaign finance numbers, noting that Wise received about $175,000 in cash and in-kind contributions and Morano brought in nearly $200,000, with Wise having about $10,000 left and Morano almost $50,000 left.
In the 2002 election Morano’s opponent [Armbruster] outspent her by 80 percent. The bulk of Wise’s in-kind donations came from the Republican Party and were used to purchase television ads and to send out mailers. The party donations show the faith the Republicans have in the campaign, Wise said. “I was chosen for this position by (state Senate) President Bill Harris and the Senate Republican Campaign committee for this race,” Wise said. Morano, a union leader at Community Health Partners where she is a nurse, received the majority of her in-kind donations from the Democratic Party. But her war chest was filled in part by several large monetary donations from unions around the state, including $20,000 from her union, Service Employees International Union, $2,500 from the United Auto Workers, $10,000 from the Ohio Education Association and $2,000 from local fire unions. “I’ve worked very hard to establish a good relationship with the unions around the state,” Morano said, pointing to her support of a living wage and her fight for better health care.13th District: Rep. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood) gets a nice endorsement from the Cleveland Plain Dealer today. The editors wrote that he "works hard at obtaining little legislative victories in areas related to prescription drug prices, consumer protection, the environment and renewable energy" and that his position as ranking minority member of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee "places him in a potentially powerful position should his party someday recapture control of the Ohio House." They also praise him for voting against the law that stripped local governments of the power to require local government employees to live within the municipalities they serve. Opponent John Hildebrand (R-Lakewood) "did not respond to requests for an interview." This Cuyahoga County district includes Lakewood and Cleveland Wards 17, 18 and part of Ward 14.
43rd District: This hotly contested race between attorneys Stephen Dyer (D-Green) and Christine Croce (R-Green) for the open seat of state auditor candidate Mary Taylor (R-Green) is profiled in the Akron Beacon Journal today. Dyer says that fixing Ohio's unconstitutional school funding system is the key to long-term improvement of the economy, because "the road to economic prosperity begins in the classroom" and "minds are our most important resource that we have in this state." He advocates looking to other states who have dealt with the problem, making government more efficient to conserve resources, and deriving school funding from a variety of sources. Croce approaches improving the economy from the perspective of furthering Republican tax cuts and assisting existing small to medium businesses in order to encourage them to create more jobs.
46th District: Low-budget challenger Mark Dansack (D-Monclova Township) issued the second installment in his closing argument against incumbent Mark Wagoner (R-Toledo) today, this time addressing the topic of taxes. Dansack accosts Wagoner for supporting Taft-endorsed House Bill 66, which "increased the level of taxation on middle class taxpayers." After 16 years of one-party (Republican) rule, Ohio has the "second or third highest tax burden in our nation." H.B. 66 increased the sales tax from 5.0 % to 5.5 % and imposed the new Commercial Activities Tax on the gross receipts of businesses, "including your local grocer." The net effect is that "Ohioans are paying a tax on their groceries for the first time since the Great Depression." These measures constitute "a regressive tax that hits lower and middle income taxpayers the hardest as they spend a greater percentage of their take home pay on these consumer goods than do the very wealthy. How's that for progress from these so-called fiscal conservatives who have been running our state (into the ground)?" Dansack advocates looking for ways to reduce property taxes and better oversight of state agencies to eliminate what he calls the "corruption tax." He also supports repeal of the CAT. "My opponent has been very vocal about taxes in this election, but he simply hasn't been telling the truth. His tax relief helps the very wealthy at the expense of the middle class and I'll lead the fight for ordinary hard working men and women in District 46 who are sick of special interest groups reaping the rewards of a corrupt, ineffective state government".
57th House District: The Elyria Chronicle Telegram article on campaign finances also covers this contest between Matt Lundy (D-Elyria) and Rep. Earl "Marty" Martin (R-Avon Lake). The incumbent has raised more than four times the challenger, about $192,000 to $43,000. Martin has $18,098 left for the final days of the campaign, Lundy has $11,624 on hand. Martin gave $80,000 to the Ohio Republican House Campaign Committee but got $108,034 of in-kind funding (advertising) from the group. “I thought we would get outspent six or eight to one," said Lundy. "He is going to need all that money if he is going to cover up his poor record in Columbus."
58th House District: Donations in the race between Matt Barrett (D-Amherst) and appointed incumbent Dan White (R-Norwalk) for the open seat of retiring Kathleen Reed (R-Norwalk) are much closer. White received about $34,000 while Barrett brought in a little over $40,000. White has $3,229 left in his war chest and Barrett has $5,420 left. I'm very surprised that these numbers are not much higher. White is a retired business owner and Barrett is a personal injury attorney making his second run for the seat.