Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Wednesday, November 1

Statewide Races: News and Notes UPDATED

The latest in the statewides:

Governor: The think tank Policy Matters Ohio has updated its analysis of the flat income tax proposal of Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R-Cincinnati) and it's even worse than first thought.
Forty-five percent of Ohioans would end up paying higher taxes while only 30 percent would see taxes lowered. ... Meanwhile, the richest Ohioans would each eventually reap thousands of dollars on average in annual tax savings, and the state would lose more than $800 million a year in revenue. State funding would be slashed leading to cuts in programs, increases in local taxes, and other eerie consequences.
Attorney General: State Auditor Betty Montgomery (R-Perrysburg) is ramping up her assault on State Sen. Marc Dann (D-Liberty Township) over a single criminal defense he handled five years ago, despite protests by the judge who oversaw the case (a registered Republican, he says that Dann did an outstanding job and should not be criticized) and the Ohio Bar Association (it's president denounced political attacks based on serving as criminal defense counsel on Monday). Montgomery is hammering Dann with public statements, ads, and a new website. It all comes down to Dann saying at a sentencing hearing that a man convicted of attempted pandering of obscenity to minors had "perhaps initial good intentions" in interacting with the children. Montgomery omits the remainder of Dann's statement, when he said "that’s just not an appropriate role for him in the community."

UPDATE - In her column today, Ann Fisher of the Columbus Dispatch ranks Montgomery's ad as one of the five worst of this election year, reminding readers that in 1994 she called this type of ad (when used against her by Lee Fisher (D-Shaker Heights)) "the worst type of gutter politics."

UPDATE - Auditor: The Elyria Chronicle Telegram endorsed State Rep. Barbra Sykes (D-Akron) today over State Rep. Mary Taylor (R-Green). The editors note that Sykes was the first black woman ever elected to Akron City Council, was elected state representative three times, and worked 12 years as a deputy auditor for Summit County. Although "it couldn't hurt" to have a CPA like Taylor as state auditor, the editors state that "it's not a job requirement" because neither the current nor any former state auditor was a CPA. On the other hand, "after 25 years of public service, Sykes appreciates the value of government's records to the public" and as auditor "she would insist on total transparency so that all work papers produced during state-sponsored audits would be made available to the public." Also, the editors "think Sykes is less likely to put party before public interest" because she "had the courage to step away from her party in 2003 and vote for a tax increase pushed by Gov. Bob Taft, a Republican." They expressed approval that Sykes "spent three weeks in Texas last year to help victims of Hurricane Rita," and disapproval that Taylor "conducted a push poll in which voters were asked how they felt about Sykes being president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus," a question that had nothing to do with the auditor's race "except, of course, race.

2nd UPDATE - Russell at BSB and Lisa Renee of Glass City Jungle are both reporting that Dann's internal polling shows him only 3 points behind Montgomery, and her stuck at 41%.

Secretary of State: Jennifer Brunner (D-Columbus) has a hard-hitting new TV ad about the negligence of Greg Hartmann (R-Cincinnati) in leaving private information exposed in documents accessible through his Clerk of Courts web site, leading to multiple cases of identity theft by a ring of criminals:

[NOTE: I have removed the embedded link, but the video is available here.]

“My opponent continues to insult the intelligence of the voters with obvious acts of desperation in his campaign ads,” said Brunner in announcing the ad. “I have chosen to highlight my opponent’s lack of attention to detail and his inexperience, problems strikingly similar to those of the man he wants to succeed—Ken Blackwell. It is imperative that Ohio citizens have the utmost trust in the Office of Secretary of State and that they can rest assured that their private information—including their voting information—will be protected.”

Treasurer: Legendary former senator John Glenn (D) stumps for Rich Cordray (D-Grove City) in a new TV ad that will run from now to election day:

[NOTE: I have removed the embedded link, but the video is available here.]

Supreme Court: Yesterday the Toledo Blade endorsed both Republican candidates. Robert Cupp (R-Lima) is from northwest Ohio, and the editors cited geographic balance as one reason to support him over Ben Espy (D-Columbus). Although not mentioned in their endorsement of incumbent Terrence O'Donnell (R-Rocky River), his opponent William O'Neill (D-South Russell) declined to attend the endorsement interview or otherwise seek the newspaper endorsement because of a labor dispute between the Blade and its employees.

UPDATE - The Youngstown Vindicator endorsed both Democrats today. The editors specifically criticize O'Donnell for the Ohio Supreme Court's recent rulings on executive privilege and eminent domain, and then base their endorsements squarely on the need for political balance:
Ohio's Supreme Court has become a more politically polarized court in recent years, with campaigns run on almost open promises that past precedents would be cast to the winds in exchange for political support. It's time to restore some balance to the court. Give Paul Pffiefer, the court's most moderate Republican member, at least a chance to restore the kind of balance that was once championed by former Justice Andy Douglas, something of a maverick on the court. ... The Vindicator endorses O'Neill and Espy for the Supreme Court in the firm belief that the court is in need of, at the very least, strong dissenting vocies.


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