Friday, March 31, 2006

Strickland is blowing the wheels off the Blackwell Express (and Flannery is too!)

We now have two national polling firms showing Congressman Ted Strickland growing a larger and larger lead in the race against the GOP in the Ohio Gubernatorial campaign. Earlier this week, Rasmussen, a popular and generally relied on polling company in conservative circles, released this press release on their Ohio gubernatorial general election poll. It shows that Congressman Ted Strickland has established a benchmark of 50% support in the general election.

Once a candidate begins polling over 50%, the challenger suddenly finds fundraising and party enthuisasm for their candidacy dry up. Add to a divisive primary and controversal constitutional amendment proposal (TEL), and Blackwell may find himself getting the short shriff in assistance come the general.

According to the most recent Zogby poll, Strickland again shows a commanding and growing lead from Blackwell on the head-to-head general election matchup. What's even more telling is that even if long-shot Bryan Flannery was the Democratic nominee, he'd be beating Blackwell despite little to no name recognition.

You can read some GOPers fretting and dismissing the poll here on Right Angle Blog. Apparently, some in the GOP just can't believe that Ken Blackwell, who is so well-known, could be behind a virtual unknown such as Flannery. However, perhaps they should take a closer look at some of Blackwell's other polling numbers. Although he is showing to be more competitive against Strickland than Petro (which I can only theorize is because Petro may generate lukewarm support from the red meat conservative base), Blackwell by and large has the lowest favorability ratings between Petro, Strickland, and Blackwell according to the Rasmussen poll.

One thing is for certain, expect the GOP to hit Strickland the day after the primary if not before. They not only need to soften him up, but they need to change the general trend of Strickland breaking away.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bryan Flannery Secures Tin-Foil Asshat vote

Bryan Flannery apparently believes that facts and the truth shouldn't get in the way of a good political smear.

Bryan Flannery is a former failed Secretary of State candidate who believes that despite being out of the public eye for four years, he will do better against Ken Blackwell than the twenty-point spanking he took in 2002. So, he has decided to run for Governor, and continued to run, despite no endorsements, money, name-recognition, or grassroots support. His one and only issue is education funding reform. But his proposal is so unpopular that the education community has not endorsed it and it's failed to make the ballot as a constitutional amendment initiative twice.

Due to his poor fundraising and lack of name recognition (and those who do recognize him remember him from his past failed statewide election campaign), Flannery hasn't even registered as so much as a statistical blip on the polls, even though he is the only other Democratic candidate for Governor besides Congressman Ted Strickland. AP decided in February that it wouldn't even cover his campaign.

So shortly after recruiting Eric Fingerhut's gubernatorial campaign manager, Anthony Fossaceca, who apparently did such an amazing job during the month-long Fingerhut Gubernatorial campaign to be hired as Flannery's Communication Director, Team Flannery sent out this press release in which, among other baseless and unattributed allegations, accused someone on Strickland's behalf of illegal removing public records from the Athens County court system to hide a former staffer's criminal record. Flannery demands in a letter to the county prosecutor to investigate the records' "disappearance."

Upon presented with the truth, Flannery alleges he's a victim of a conspiracy by Strickland, a county prosecutor, a sitting judge, and the Ohio Revised Code.

If Flannery's plan was to have the press release wound Strickland and get Flannery enough attention to boost his support, it failed spectacularly. Most state media groups reacted with the same indifference it has to the Flannery campaign all along and didn't report it. Those that did report it focused more on the breathtaking sleeze and political cravenness of Flannery. Clearly, Flannery expected and hoped that the smear would have a lengthy news shelf life; that's why he asked for the investigation by the Athens County Prosecutor so that the smear could come back in future news cycles. However, within hours of the press release, the Strickland campaign effectively killed whatever newsworthiness Flannery's smear had. It was Flannery's campaign, not Strickland's, that suddenly found itself on the defensive.

Conservative blogger Michael Meckler called it a "stunning . . . unsubstantiated rumor" of "questionable" relevance. The general consensus was not that Flannery had wounded Strickland as much as shot himself in the foot. As Steve Hoffman of the Akron Beacon Journal blog stated, either Flannery knew he was making a reckless allegation based on unsubstantiated rumor or his campaign is incompetent. "Neither is particularly flattering."

Surprisingly, even after being presented with evidence that the criminal court records had not been illegally "stolen" but were legally sealed by court order, Flannery then demanded a special prosecutor investigate the matter.

Why a special prosecutor, Mr. Flannery? To investigate what all evidence suggests was a lawful expungement? Instead of admitting that he was wrong to suggest that Athens County is a hillbilly kangaroo court system of spectacular corruption, Mr. Flannery began to insist that his political attack failed, not because he was wrong, but because the county prosecutor (who was not the prosecutor at the time the alleged criminal activity occurred) and a sitting judge were part of the conspiracy.

You can read all about Flannery's tin-hat conspiracy theories and the rather annoyed and insulted responses from the Athens County Prosecutor and Judge from this Athens News article.

In it, Flannery suggests that the records could not have been sealed because he cannot find any record of it being sealed. Having already publicly embarrassed himself with his legal ignorance once, Flannery states, "Check the Ohio Revised Code. There is no evidence that this (case) was ever expunged, and there should be. And that's what people should be looking into."

As a lawyer, I decided to take up Mr. Flannery's challenge by checking the Ohio Revised Code.

R.C. 2953.32(D) states that inspection of the sealed records "may only be made available to the following persons or for the following purposes:

(1) By a law enforcement officer or prosecutor, or the assistants of either, to determine whether the nature and character of the offense with which a person is to be charged would be affected by virtue of the person's previously having been convicted of a crime;

(2) By the parole or probation officer of the person who is the subject of the records, for the exclusive use of the officer in supervising the person while on parole or probation and in making inquiries and written reports as requested by the court or adult parole authority;

(3) Upon application by the person who is the subject of the records, by the persons named in the application;

(4) By a law enforcement officer who was involved in the case, for use in the officer's defense of a civil action arising out of the officer's involvement in that case;

(5) By a prosecuting attorney or the prosecuting attorney's assistants to determine a defendant's eligibility to enter a pre-trial diversion program established pursuant to section 2935.36 of the Revised Code;

(6) By any law enforcement agency or any authorized employee of a law enforcement agency or by the department of rehabilitation and correction as part of a background investigation of a person who applies for employment with the agency as a law enforcement officer or with the department as a corrections officer;

(7) By any law enforcement agency or any authorized employee of a law enforcement agency, for the purposes set forth in, and in the manner provided in, section 2953.321 of the Revised Code;

(8) By the bureau of criminal identification and investigation or any authorized employee of the bureau for the purpose of providing information to a board or person pursuant to division (F) or (G) of section 109.57 of the Revised Code;

(9) By the bureau of criminal identification and investigation or any authorized employee of the bureau for the purpose of performing a criminal history records check on a person to whom a certificate as prescribed in section 109.77 of the Revised Code is to be awarded;

(10) By the bureau of criminal identification and investigation, an authorized employee of the bureau, a sheriff, or an authorized employee of the sheriff in connection with a criminal records check described in section 311.41 of the Revised Code.

When the nature and character of the offense with which a person is to be charged would be affected by the information, it may be used for the purpose of charging the person with an offense."

So Mr. Flannery, again, the reason you cannot find any evidence that the records were legally expunged is because, under the Ohio Revised Code, you have no lawful purpose of viewing the evidence of the records' expungement.

Maybe now Mr. Flannery will take off his tin-foil hat and act like a responsible leader and admit his mistake and fire Anthony Fossaceca for making such a politically irresponsible political smear.

But Mr. Flannery won't do that. He's still insisting that he's right and countless journalists, lawyers, and judges don't understand the law as well as he does. However, the fact that Mr. Flannery does not have the press release at issue , nor his allegations of missing evidence of sealed records, on his campaign website raise the question of how much even Mr. Flannery believes his own conspiracy theories. Nor has Mr. Flannery had the intestinal fortitude to repeat his claims in any of the recent public debates (such as last weekend's "Meet the Blogger's" debate) and forums he has had recently with Congressman Strickland.

Mr. Flannery, if you have any decency, then fire Anthony Fossaceca!
If Mr. Flannery truly believes that "the very foundation of government is honesty" and that "he exemplifies the highest degree of honesty and character," then he should immediately apologize to Athens County for his mistake and hold his staff accountable for making such false accusations. Otherwise, Mr. Flannery's smear won't be the only lie he's been spreading during this campaign.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Update: Has AG candidate Marc Dann gone AWOL?

Where have all the ODP-endorsed candidates gone? Long time passing......

Just because I didn't want to get accused of blaming someone for running a non-existent campaign without actually going out and trying to find information about the campaign committees, I decided to go to Marc Dann's campaign website to check his campaign's "Public Calendar".

Only problem is that it's blank. All of March is blank. So is April. So is May. They don't even have the primary election day on the calendar. Now, if you're going to put a calendar on your website, that tells me you intend on letting me know where and when you're campaigning. And by not having anything on it for the next three months, that tells me that you aren't planning on campaigning. Apparently, I presumed too much. I assumed that by putting on a public calendar on your website you meant to convey to me that you intend on campaigning. For that faulty assumption, I apologize to State Sen. Dann.

And where is Barbara Sykes? Apparently the shadow people on her website are looking for her, too! And yes, that is Sykes' website as linked to on the ODP page which lists all the Demcratic candidates. We are less than sixty days away from the primary!!!!

Beyond MTB events, does anyone know of either Sykes or Dann making any public campaign appearances? If so, let me know. I'd like to know why I should be supporting them. Sure, you're in uncontested primaries, but now is the time you get your base to support you so they can go out and help you convince independents and, yes, even Republicans, to vote for you in the general. By May, you should have a Democratic base energized to work for you to get OTHER votes besides the 30% any body with a Democratic Party nomination is going to get in an Ohio general election.

But what do know? I don't have a public calendar on this site.

Subodh Chandrha Endorsed by Warren County Democratic Party while Marc Dann is AWOL

During last night meeting of the Warren County Democratic Party, the county party officially endorsed Subodh Chandra for Ohio Attorney General last night. Just as was the practice with the Ohio Democratic Party, Warren County did not make a dual endorsement in the race. So that's at least the second Democratic county party to make an endorsement different from the ODP since the ODP endorsements.

For the record, I have been impressed with Subodh as a candidate and as a campaigner. Despite hearing much from Dann on the blogsphere during the height of the Coingate scandal, Sen. Dann has been AWOL on the campaign trail. If he has a campaign presence in southwest Ohio, then it must be a staff of campaign ninjas, cause I can't see them.

For what's it worth to the ten people who read this blog. I also endorse Subodh Chandra over Marc Dann. In a year when one of the biggest issues in the Attorney General's race is about lax ethical enforcement, having a candidate who has been publicly reprimanded by the Ohio Supreme Court as an alternative muddles our message. Subodh is a strong candidate and show he has the campaign work ethic to tirelessly campaign throughout the State. This election isn't going to be won on the blogs but by ol' fashion shoe leather. And I'm going with the candidate who is not only highly qualified, dedicated to the office he is seeking, but will be a tough campaigner over the next year.

Like I said, for what it's worth.....GO SUBODH!