Statewide Races: News and Notes
Crunchy bits with chewy centers about statewide races:
Attorney General: State Sen. Marc Dann (D-Liberty Township) sent a new public records request to the Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) in the wake of the release of a draft internal audit on allegations some employers' BWC rates and assessments were reduced after they complained to their state legislators. Dann also sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney requesting an investigation. "The audit released yesterday raises more questions than it answers," said Dann. "It is crucial to have an outside investigation from the U.S. Attorney to determine if political influence was used to help lower some employers rates, while other businesses were forced to pay higher premiums." Dann was supported by State Sen. Robert Hagan (D-Youngstown), who wrote to BWC administrator William Mabe and called upon him to release the names of businesses that received special treatment and the names of bureau officials or elected officials that requested such special treatment. Hagan wrote, "When you were brought before the Ohio Senate last year for confirmation of your appointment as Administrator/CEO of the BWC, you assured my colleagues and I that you would be forthcoming with information that would assist us in ascertaining the needs of the department and the businesses for which it serves."
Dann will debate Betty Montgomery (R-Pwrrysburg) at the City Club of Cleveland tomorrow from 12:30 to 1:30 pm. The debate can be viewed online or heard live on Cleveland radio stations WCLV (104.9 FM) and WCPN (90.3 FM). It will also be aired on PBS-WVIZ (Cleveland) on Sunday at 10:00 am.
Secretary of State: ProgressOhio reports that Greg Hartmann (R-Cincinnati) is throwing stones from a glass house when he criticizes Jennifer Brunner (D-Columbus) for allegedly lenient sentencing while she was a judge. While an assistant prosecutor, Hartmann apparently refused to prosecute a man indicted for rape who later killed his victim. So, why did he even attempt this scurrilous line of attack?
Brunner issued a press release today praising the consent order entered in the voter ID lawsuit last night, calling it a significant victory" that "eas[es] some of the restrictions that would have hindered some voters from having their votes counted." She tells the story of Pamela Denton, a graduate of Spellman College who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and whose cousin was killed in the bombing of a Birmingham Church. Voting became a right she holds dear and "it is a critical part of carrying on the legacy of her parents and Dr. Martin Luther King." Denton is homeless and she has only her social security number for identification. Now, because of the consent order, she can vote in person at the board of elections before Election Day, and she knows her vote will be counted. “While there is more that will need to be done to protect people’s rights to vote, this is an important first step in ensuring every eligible voter who wants to vote can vote without hindrance,” said Brunner. “The consent decree will allow the boards of elections to proceed with a settled interpretation of the new law in time to instruct poll workers so that everyone operates with the same rules statewide."
Supreme Court: The word on the street is that the Ohio Democratic Party is going to find some money for TV ads for Ben Espy (D-Columbus). Perhaps they should look in the trunk of Justice Terrence O'Donnell's car?