Monday, October 30, 2006

Nice final ad.

Sorry for the lack of posting, but you can always find me over at Buckeye State Blog.

This is the final ad for the Strickland campaign. I like the plea to the voters to support him so that Strickland can bring Ohio together and address Ohio's problems. One component of leadership that has been in short supply that voters have been wanting are politicians who can bring people together and develop common-ground solutions.

Blackwell doesn't even proport to offer that. His leadership style is more reflected by opportunism, inflexible dogma, and leadership by edict. I think voters have seen enough of that type of leadership in Washington and don't want to see more of it in Ohio.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Congrats Ohio Bar passers

Being one year removed from today's announcement of the July Bar results, I remember what a great day (crappy weather aside) this is.

Tip O' the Hat: When I was deciding on law schools, I was torn between the University of Cincinnati and the University of Toledo (who offered me a conditional full-ride.) I chose U.C. Glad to see both law schools had the highest bar passage rate among Ohio law schools for first-time takers this summer at a record 93% passage rate, beating The Ohio State University which has traditionally single-handedly held that distinction for the past few years, but drops to a tie in third place with Cleveland State University behind Case Western Reserve University.

Wag O' the Finger: The University of Dayton cannot be proud that their July bar passage rate for first-time takers was 78%, behind Ohio Northern's 81%. The overall bar passage rate for first-time bar examiners in July was 85%, which means these two Ohio schools did worse than average on getting their students to pass the Ohio bar exam than students did from law schools outside of Ohio.

I know I'll take alot of heat for this, but I think it's ridiculous that Ohio has nine law schools.

But congratulations to the 1,000 soon-to-be newly minted Ohio-licensed attorneys!

Monday, October 23, 2006

The national Republicans *HAVE* abandoned the DeWine campaign

It's been nearly a week since the RNC Chairman denied the New York Times report that the party was pulling the financial plug on Mike DeWine's campaign. Scott Pullins and RAB derided the story and pointed out a Federal Election Commission Report showing the RNC making a $727k ad buy (the RNC publicly committed to spending at least another million on the race.)

So now that we're 14 days until the election, what has the RNC and the NRSC done with its money since then?

Well, according to the available FEC reports, the two groups have spent money on four different Senate races: Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio, and Rhode Island.

Since the RNC's last paid media purchase for DeWine, the RNC has had to report six separate notices of expenditures in Missouri, three in Tennessee, and one in Ohio. The NRSC has filed two notices of expenditures in Missouri, one in Tennessee, three in Rhode Island, and ZERO in Ohio.

Now, what's the dollar figures?

Well, again, since the RNC's last ad buy for DeWine, the RNC has spent an additional $1.9M in the Missouri race, over half a million in the Tennessee race, and less than $8,000 in Ohio. The RNC has spent nothing in the Rhode Island race lately.

And the NRSC? Well, they've spent nothing on DeWine's race. Over $87k in MO, almost $120k in Tennessee, and a little over $215k in Rhode Island.

So national Republican Party spending on Senate races since the RNC's last ad buy for DeWine looks like this:

  • Missouri: $2,030,106.21
  • Tennessee: $673,856.85
  • Rhode Island: $215,057.86
  • Ohio: $7,964.74
    (Source: 24-Hour Notices filed by the RNC and NRSC as of close of business 10/23/06.)

If I were Senator DeWine, I wouldn't be waiting by the mailbox for that check to come in...

R.I.P.- "Stay the Course" Campaign '04-10/22/2006

"Success has a thousand fathers; failure is an orphan." -President John F. Kennedy on the Bay of Pigs fiasco.

May peace find you during your eternal rest, "Stay the course," we hardly knew ye.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Blackwell's campaign is sliding backwards

Don't blame me, that's the lede in the weekend Blackwell campaign road report from the Associated Press:

BELLEFONTAINE, Ohio - Ken Blackwell is campaigning backward.

In the two weeks leading up to the Nov. 7 election, the Republican candidate for governor is concentrating on his base after weeks of trying to cut into Democratic leads in Ohio's urban counties. The move comes amid reports that conservatives have grown weary of the GOP in light of scandals in Washington and Columbus.

On Saturday, he rallied the faithful in Logan County, which voted better than 2-1 for President Bush in 2004. Over the weekend, he also visited Marion, Findlay, St. Marys and other GOP strongholds, as well as a couple of Columbus churches.

Recent polls have found Blackwell trailing Democrat Ted Strickland by double digits. The winner will give his party an edge in the 2008 presidential race in the state that gave Bush the push he needed to win re-election in 2004.

Blackwell is running in a difficult year for Republicans, with scandals surrounding U.S. Reps. Bob Ney of Ohio and Mark Foley of Florida and Ohio Gov. Bob Taft. Recent reports have Republicans worried about turnout, especially among Christian conservatives who were instrumental in Bush's success in Ohio and elsewhere two years ago.

Blackwell gave a motivational speech to Logan County Republicans on Saturday, telling his troops that polls have been wrong before. Indeed, in a late October poll in 1994, when he ran his first statewide campaign for treasurer, Blackwell trailed his opponent by 5 percentage points. He won that election with 54 percent of the vote.

To see why Blackwell's tale of 1994 is misleading (Some would say, a lie, be sure to read this story I posted on Buckeye State Blog.

"People don't understand your neighbor-to-neighbor, church member-to-church member, family member-to-family-member networking," Blackwell told the crowd of about 100 at Logan County Republican headquarters. "Once again, the pundits are saying it's a miserable year for the GOP."

He said he wasn't making any special pitch to religious conservatives, as he did in his primary victory over Attorney General Jim Petro. He typically winds up campaigns reminding Republicans of the importance of getting out the vote, he said.

"My strategy in all my campaigns has been to work back to my strength," he said.

However, some party stalwarts have noticed a difference.

"There is no doubt in Ohio that we have been kind of kicked down," said David Knight, 63, who is unopposed for re-election as a Logan County commissioner. "That notwithstanding, what we're about is the future, not the past."

It's not just Ohio Republicans who are getting kicked. National Republican Party Chairman Ken Mehlman was compelled to send a pick-me-up e-mail to supporters and the media last week after reports that the GOP's conservative base is less than enthusiastic about campaigns this year.

"Despite the media hype, an examination of all the facts makes it clear: the Republican base is active and engaged," Mehlman wrote.

Religious conservatives in Ohio have less enthusiasm for the ticket this year than in 2004 because Bush is not running and Taft's approval rating has sunk to the low teens, said John Green, a senior fellow in religion and American politics at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Strickland also has made some headway with those voters because of his status as an ordained United Methodist minister, Green said.

"He (Blackwell) has worked very hard in appealing to religious voters, but the political winds are blowing in the Democrats' direction," Green said. "It's not as easy as it was in 2004 and 2002."

Blackwell discounts the notion that his base is restless.

"As I've crisscrossed the state over the last three weeks ..., we've had record turnouts. So it's news to me that we've lost any intensity or enthusiasm. It's even more than we saw in 2004," Blackwell said after his speech.

Does anyone believe this? After national exposure of his upcoming rally in Cincinnati, Blackwell only got roughly 200 people to show up. Did Bush ever have a crowd that small in Ohio in 2004? And do I need to remind everyone of this post, too?

Strickland plans to wind up by visiting 72 of Ohio's 88 counties over the next two weeks. He spent Sunday in GOP-rich rural Ohio.

"One of the things that gives me hope for having an effective administration if I win is the fact I've received so much support from Republicans. Ohioans want someone who will be a unifying force instead of a divisive force," Strickland said Sunday by telephone en route from Delaware to Newark in central Ohio.

So to recap, both nominees are running in heavily Republican areas. Blackwell it trying to tell folks that this is just like 1994, except polling showed him ahead at the time. And Strickland is going to visit 81% of the counties in Ohio during the remaining weeks. This is not a campaign that is letting up at all.

I'm a Democrat

Best political ad that hasn't been aired:

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Which campaign do you think is in better shape?

Blackwell's campaign rally:


Strickland campaign rally:



I report, you decide. (But to me, I don't think the Republicans "legendary" GOTV efforts can turn the tide on this race.)

Canton Repo Endorses Strickland

"Ted Strickland is The Repository’s choice to be the next Ohio governor. We urge readers to elect him on Nov. 7.

"Ohio has been through a lot in recent years. An anemic Democratic party has contributed to one-party Republican rule. Too much of one thing for too long led to sloppiness, excess and criminality. The scandals in state government were the result. The same could have happened under one-party rule by Democrats. It is a function of too much unchecked power.

"Voters have a sense for knowing when enough is enough. That is why public opinion favors so many Democrats in their races for statewide office. Heading this change is Strickland, a veteran U.S. congressman who has a good record of accomplishment by cooperating with Republicans, the majority party in the Congress, to solve problems for his district.

"This ability will serve him well if he becomes governor and has to work with a legislature that probably will remain in Republican control.

"Strickland’s opponent, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, is a hard partisan with extreme views, often about the control he should be able to exert over local matters. His Tax Expenditure Limitation amendment, which might have been on the Ohio ballot this fall if his fellow Republicans had not saved Blackwell from himself, is an example. Not only would it have limited Ohio state government spending, but it also would have imposed a straitjacket on local governments.

"Fortunately, knowing that TEL would be a political catastrophe, the Legislature gave Blackwell his controls on the state but declined to impose spending limits on townships and villages and school boards. Blackwell withdrew TEL.

"More ideas involving exercise of state power over local matters are in Blackwell’s briefcase. One of them is his assertion that 65 percent of every school dollar should be spent in classrooms. In many cases, the percentage already exceeds 65 percent, yet elected school boards, not education bureaucrats in Columbus or Blackwell, ought to make local spending decisions.

"Blackwell’s ties to the religious-political right wing of his party, in Ohio and nationally, make us nervous. Strickland, while an ordained minister, doesn’t flaunt his faith or exploit the political fringes. We think Ohio is fed up with that kind of politics anyway.

"This is a time when Ohioans need to be invited toward a moderate middle place where the extremes don’t dominate debate and serious people of good will can solve the state’s education, economic and social problems. Strickland is the leader for this effort."

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Does Deborah Pryce love pedophiles?

I must admit that I am amused by the conservative movement's sudden and recent outrage (again) over the re-discovery (for the tenth time) of Congressman Ted Strickland's "present" vote in 1999 on House Concurrent Resolution 107 "Expressing the Sense of Congress Concerning the sexual relationships between adults and children." To hear the conservatives phrase it, this piece of congressional legislation earns a spot next to the Civil Rights Acts, Title IX, ADA, and the PATRIOT Act. Frankly, anything that comes out of Congress claiming the Congress has the sense of anything, common or otherwise, is a farce. And so is this legislation.

Like so much of what Congress has been "legislating" this very Congress, H. Con. R. 107 in 1999 was all fury, signifying nothing. What, other than create a political attack that Republicans have been using against Strickland for the past seven years, did passage of this resolution achieve? Did it provide any additional counseling to victims of pedophelia? Did it strengthen any criminal penalities for pedophelia or even child pornagraphy? Can anyone truly say with a somber face that by passing this resolution Congress had done something to protect our children?

Would it matter if I pointed out that while Mark Foley was likely in between sending House pages instant messages "grooming" them to be his next sexual conquest, he bothered to take a long enough break to go down to the House floor and vote in FAVOR of this resolution? Does his vote on this resolution make anyone think any better of Mr. Foley?

Which gets me to Congresswoman Deborah Pryce, fourth ranking Republican in Congress, who, just a month ago. told a Columbus magazine that Mark Foley was one of her closest friends in Washington. Deb Pryce, who now, suddenly says that with all her facetime with Foley she had absolutely no forewarning of Foley's predatory habits of House pages despite the fact that apparently Tom Reynolds knew, his staff knew, the Speaker's staff knew, John Boehner knew, Congressman Kolbe knew in 2000, the Republican chairman of the Page Board knew, and the past House Clerk all knew for quite some time. Apparently, so many Republicans knew for so long of Foley's "inappropriate activities" that they have just assumed, without any evidence, that the Democrats by now knew, too, and waited to pounce on it at the opportune political time. Oh, and Congressman Alexander knew, too.

If Ted Strickland's "present" vote makes him "soft" on pedophilia, what's Deborah Pryce's relationship and lack of leadership on Mark Foley make her? Are we to believe that in all the time Pryce and Foley hung out, she not once heard any rumor of her good friend's drunken late-night vists to the pages' dorms? She didn't see once some vaguely young familiar face with the Congressman? That in all of those leadership meetings, not once did she hear any discussion about the issue? That in all those flights back from Washington, D.C. she and Boehner not once talked about it?

The manufactured blustering and outrage over Strickland's vote in 1999 would seem more realistic if the bombastic conservatives had enough present mind not to direct it solely to Strickland alone and included one of their own for similar outrage. After all, if this legislation truly was a watermark day in history when politicians were forced to either stand up for or against pedophelia, then what do you say about Congresswoman Deborah Pryce, who didn't even bother to show up to vote at all on H. Con. R. 107.

Where's the conservatives bluster and outrage that one of their own leaders is not only a close personal friend of Congressman Foley, but didn't even bother to show up to work to take a stand on this vital piece of legislation? And not only Deborah Pryce failed the victims of pedophelia, mind you, countless other Republican leaders at the time didn't even bother to vote on this resolution. In fact, although several other members who were not present for the vote later placed their votes into the Congressional record, here we are, some seven years since, and we still don't know where these Republicans stand on this vital issue for Ohioans.

Here's the list of the Republican Wall of Infamy, remember their shame well:

House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Congressman (and Clinton Impeachment manager) Bob Barr, Sonny Bono, Helen Chenoweth, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, Congressman (and now disgraced Kentucky Governor) Ernie Fletcher, Paul Gilmor, (Fox News Host) John Kasich, and as I mentioned, Deborah Pryce.

Burn their dishonored names into your brain!

I look forward to Matt Dole (Lincoln Logs), Tom Blumer (Bizzy Blog), and Matt Hurley's call that Deborah Pryce immediately resign her leadership position in Congress and not wait until the election for her to do so. The children of American cannot permit a coddler of pedophiles a place of such vital leadership in the people's House. After all, as Tom Blumer said, "[t]here’s a big difference between serving 600,000 people in Congress and governing an entire state of 11 million people." Deborah Pryce is seeking to serve 300 million people of the United States as a leader of Congress!

I know they'll do the right thing. It's not like their "outrage" over this seven-year old resolution is one of political expediency.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Blackwell campaign attempted to use phony journalist to shape media coverage

Apparently, an attempted dirty trick by the Blackwell campaign has further called the presently scheduled fourth gubernatorial debate in doubt. Here's the story from the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Openers blog:

Moments later, Strickland sounded like he wasn't willing to face Blackwell again as he accused his opponent's campaign of "breaking faith" and "engaging in behavior that is unacceptable" at last week's debate in Cincinnati by sneaking a Blackwell supporter into the post-debate "spin room" reserved for media members only.

The unidentified Blackwell supporter who posed as a reporter was removed by security at the Cincinnati event, according to reporters who attended.

"It's just the fact that when you make an agreement you ought to honor that agreement, " sniffed Strickland.

Ken Blackwell's campaign has gotten so desperate that they've been reduced to trying to plant their own supporters as phony journalists at press conferences to shape the coverage they want.

Is it any wonder why people don't trust Ken Blackwell?

Monday, October 09, 2006

National Republican Organization ditches Blackwell

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Openers blog, the Republican Governors Association, the national Republican Party organization dedicated to electing Republican Governors, is no longer focusing their efforts in Ohio.

In other words, the RGA has decided that Ken Blackwell's campaign is a lost cause. He's not turning the corner, but like a true Bushite, he's stayed the course to defeat.

In recent email to supporters, RGA chairman and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney urges volunteers to work in critical battleground states in the final four to six days before the election.

“The lesson of the 2002 and 2004 Republican victories is that volunteer efforts the weekend prior to election day will make the difference between winning and losing close elections,” Romney writes.

Romney, who helped Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell with his health-care plan, recommends six states.

And Ohio is not one of them.

Strickland has consistently led Blackwell by double-digit leads. In a Rasmussen poll published last week -- the most favorable of the recent surveys -- Blackwell trails by 12 points.

About the six states – Iowa, Maine, Oregon, Illinois, Arkansas, and Michigan – Romney writes: “All of them are states where a strong Republican '72 Hour' get-out-the-vote effort can make the difference between winning and losing.”

So it would appear that as far as the RGA is concerned, the Republicans '72 Hour' GOTV effort is not the difference between winning and losing.

This is an embarassment to the conservative wing of the party. Ken Blackwell was supposed to be a sign of a new kind of conservative Republican emerging on the national scene. As one of only three African-American Republicans running in statewide contests, Blackwell was supposed to symbolize a turning point in Republican racial politics. During the primaries, Blackwell supporters crowed about how Blackwell was a national figure in the Republican Party of such influence that he would automatically be on the short list for running mate of any serious Republican contender in the 2008 Presidential election.

In the end, Ken Blackwell will be remembered like T.O. was this weekend in Philly: All mouth, no real delivery.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

[UPDATED] For Ken Blackwell, it's the worst week ever

Here's the week in review of what matters in the Ohio Governor's race. All in all, it's a bad week for Blackwell with precious little time left to change things around.

Foley: It has to be said. Has there ever been a major party candidate in Ohio who has built his campaign strategy relying on turning out the evangelical conservative vote more than Blackwell (perhaps Bush/Cheney '04). Having Bob Woodward's book suggest that the President called Blackwell a "nut," and have the Foley scandal erupt leading many to believe that the evangelical vote will stay home aren't the kind of things the Blackwell campaign wanted to see.

Money race: The September fundraising figures came out earlier this week, and it showed yet another month where Strickland's fundraising has continued to be solid while Blackwell's ability to raise money has continued to drop off. Blackwell raised nearly half a million dollars less in September than he did in August. Strickland, on the other hand, raised $2.5 Million, thus raising over twice what Blackwell did. As I've said, this is the second consecutive month showing Blackwell's fundraising has been dropping. It should also be noted that if it weren't for in-kind and monetary donations from the Ohio Republican Party. Blackwell's fundraising would look actually much worst.

Strickland goes into the last few weeks of the campaign with a multi-million dollar cash advantage, so he can counter Blackwell's message. Also, Blackwell's drop in fundraising suggests that national leaders and other outside conservative groups probably won't be coming into the district to help Blackwell out. The people who write the checks for Republican candidates have increasingly decided that their money would be better spent in other races, such as Ohio's closer Senate race.

Ad buys: During this phase of the campaign, retail politics takes a back seat to paid media. This is the time period where the air campaign is at its climax. According to the Columbus Dispatch, the Blackwell campaign is "lagging in the polls, money raised and crucial television advertising time purchased," and therefore, is "losing momentum."

Blackwell, it appears, is currently been running a small TV buy in his political base of SW Ohio (which, if true, demonstrates that Blackwell's campaign is more concerned about protecting his strong showing in SWO than becoming more competitive elsewhere in the state. This is the actions of a defensive campaign looking to avoid embarassment on election night, not a campaign on the march to victory.) Strickland is buying up ad time like he's the one who gets the commission. He's buying roughly $40,000 per T.V. station in Columbus for the final month.

Blackwell's campaign has bought no ad time for much of October in Columbus, which is normally a battleground. He's spending 80% of his entire general election paid media budget in the final week of the campaign in Columbus. Blackwell will run 272 commercials during that week in Columbus compared to Strickland's 186.

Strickland also bought TV time throughout the end of September and October, and nearly doubled the amount spent by Blackwell for TV ads for the entire fall campaign. While it's true that the Republican Governors Association is running ads in northern Ohio, those ads are on gay marriage, and have been largely panned as ineffective to reshape the race to make it more competitive.

Debates: The debate on the economy earlier this week in Cincinnati may be the final debate, unless a sponsor for the already scheduled Columbus debate can be agreed upon in time. Although the third debate, this was the only one which occurred after business hours, and therefore, was probably the most watched debate.

The debates were supposed to be where Blackwell would turn the race around. He hasn't, and his campaign knows that it didn't. Sure, they did the usual press release praising the race. But when your campaign blog's only comment on the debate is a self-congratulations on how well the Ohio College Republicans was able to stage a "rally" of College Republicans from across Ohio, you know that they don't believe what actually occurred at the debate helped their cause.

Polls: Rasmussen latest poll shows that Blackwell has closed the gap, but it still shows Strickland with a double-digit lead over 50%. It also shows that over a third of voters have a highly unfavorable opinion of Blackwell. While 48% have an unfavorable opinion. That creates a strong amount of resistance for Blackwell to break into victory while Strickland's popularity is very strong. In the end, the poll may suggest that the results in August were too optimistic, and this is a correction as they tend to follow the numbers throughout the campaign since the primary.

The more significant poll comes from the Ohio Poll of the University of Cincinnati which shows that likely voters give Democrats double digit leads on which party can be trusted to improve Ohio's economy, create jobs, and improve public education. In fact, Democrats have advantages with voters on tax and controlling government spending issues as well, traditionally Republican issues.

Endorsements: A month ago, Strickland got the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, a traditionally expected endorsement for Republicans. Strickland also got endorsed by the Ohio Associated of General Contractors, another traditional Republican endorsement. Blackwell hasn't gotten any endorsements that Republicans aren't expected to always get (unless you're radioactive like Mark Foley.)

Today, Strickland was endorsed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Columbus Dispatch. Remember the last time the Dispatch endorsed a Democrat for Governor? Me neither, and that's the bigger point.

Here are the highlights.

From the Columbus Dispatch:

"[Ohio]requires a governor who can work with red and blue Ohioans, who can cool the fever of partisanship with moderation and common sense. Between Strickland, who currently represents Ohio's 6th Congressional District, and Republican candidate and Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell, Strickland is the one who has exhibited these qualities to a much greater degree. Blackwell has proclaimed that he is the candidate of bold ideas. That's true. But his ideas alarm a significant portion of the electorate, including many in his own party. Boldness is not the test of leadership; sound judgment is.

"His proposed constitutional amendment to limit government taxing and spending spoke to Ohioans' frustrations with the state's outdated tax structure. But as people began to examine the measure closely, they could see it meant devastating cuts to police, fire, education and other local services.

'The weaknesses were so obvious that fellow Republicans in the General Assembly rushed through legislation to remove the embarrassment from the ballot and replace it with a face-saving but toothless statutory replica.

"Because this plan was not a careful, thoughtful piece of work, it calls into question the thoughtfulness and care of its creator. Blackwell's suport for the so-called 65 percent solution, which proposes to fix problems in the state's schools by ordering every district to devote 65 percent of its budget to classroom instruction, is a similar big idea that simply brushes aside the details, such as the myriad differences in need among more than 600 Ohio school districts.

"Strickland acknowledges that his ideas lack the flash of Blackwell’s. But they are more carefully conceived. Strickland proposes to continue and to expand some of the best policies to come out of the governor’s office and the legislature in recent years. He has endorsed Gov. Bob Taft’s Third Frontier proposal, which uses state money to nurture 21st-century technologies and proposes to expand such efforts. He also wants to allow the tax reform passed last year to play out until its effects can be judged. He pledges that all of his initiatives, including changes in health care, contain the means to pay for them and do not require tax increases.

"On K-12 education, Strickland proposes to lead an effort to reach a consensus solution on how to retool funding. Yes, this could become just another go-nowhere, blue-ribbon commission, but given the emphasis each candidate has put on this issue, Strickland would be held accountable if he fails to follow through as governor.

"Of course, anything the next governor proposes will require the cooperation of the General Assembly, and on that score, too, Strickland has the edge. Blackwell is a polarizing figure, even within his own party, and his bull-in-the-china-shop approach to politics is as likely to alienate the legislature as win it over. Strickland's moderation and consensus-building style are more likely to be effective regardless of the legislature's political makeup.

"Strickland also has the superior running mate. Lee Fisher, who served well as Ohio attorney general, state senator and 1998 Democratic nominee for governor, is experienced and knowledgeable. Tom Raga, Blackwell's running mate, is a third-term state representative who is bright and promising but untested at this level.

"Ohio's future will be built one brick at a time and will require all hands. Strickland is best equipped to lead the state forward."

Cleveland Plain Dealer:

"Blackwell reeks of recklessness. His long record in public office suggests that he would freely engage in the exploration of potentially destructive ideas, even as he uses the governorship to make political mischief and sow social division on a grander scale than ever.

"The deep contrasts in their temperaments and level of political maturity should make Strickland's election a fairly easy call. Besides, the ideas Strickland has been willing to advance so far are solid, and we are relatively confident he will continue to surround himself with smart people who can help him implement and expand upon them.

"The same cannot be said of Blackwell.

"We believe Strickland has a better chance to accomplish good things for Ohio because he and his running mate, Lee Fisher, understand the state's needs better than their Republican opponents. Fisher is an urban Democrat from Greater Cleveland who has long championed the needs of cities and knows the challenges of job creation. Strickland, a product of Appalachia, has lived the struggles of rural Ohio and grasps the troubles of the poor.

"Together, these men have a chance to take the helm of a state that has become known for too many of the wrong economic indicators. Doing so will require active political imagination, keen economic vision - and a certain amount of care.

"The question before Ohioans is, which candidate for governor is best equipped to carry the state forward without dropping it. The only answer, then, is Ted Strickland."

[UPDATED:] I apparently missed the Toledo Blade's endorsement of Strickland today as well. The editorial basically writes off Blackwell's attempts to claim that he is a Republican outsider from a Republican Party that has lead this state for the past twelve years with Blackwell on the ticket.

He truly would be a governor from the “Other Ohio,” and it’s about time. Moreover, his running mate, Lee Fisher, is extraordinarily qualified to serve as governor if ever needed.

We certainly understand how difficult it is for many Ohioans, and many good Republicans, to accept what has become of their party. They put their faith in Republicans for 16 years, and that faith was badly abused.

Here in Ohio, the Party of Lincoln has become the Party of Noe. For the Republicans, the Three C’s have become “Complacency, Corruption, and Coingate.” Ohio is enduring a true crisis of ethics, and it can only be fixed by change.

Forget about party labels. Democrats, Republicans, and independents should understand that they have a greater calling than partisanship this time. They need to join together to give their state a fresh start.

They can do that by electing Ted Strickland as Ohio’s 68th governor on Nov. 7.

Although the Akron Beacon Journal hasn't made it's endorsement in this race. Today's editorial regarding Ken Blackwell tax platform is as much of an indictment against his candidacy as the endorsements were. The ABJ calls Blackwell's part of his "easy answers" which proposes to do something that states which also lag behind the rest of the nation in economic growth do.

Blackwell's plan would lead to eventual tax increases on the middle class and require nearly a billion of dollars in cuts in state spending (which Blackwell has yet to explain where he would make those, nor the spending cuts he would need to make for the promised increase of the percentage of general revenue funds dedicated to public education.)

With only four weeks left, Blackwell can't afford a week when his campaign is described as floundering, his ability to govern questioned, and his platform highly criticized as a stealth tax increase on the middle class.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Republican bloggers' legal malpractice

Cross-posted at BSB:

First, Lincoln Logs recycles the same evidence he was using three months ago about the Stricklands claiming a property tax credit for their condo in Franklin County as a "new development." Then, he tried to whip the entire right-wing blogsphere in a frenzy over a complaint being filed in Columbiana County over Strickland's voting registration in Lisbon, where the Stricklands also reside in an apartment. (By the way, despite assurances to the contrary for months now, nobody has offered any evidence that the Stricklands do not also reside in their Lisbon apartment.)

Second, despite Matt's assurances to the contrary, the person objecting is hardly the "objective" Democrat he claims:

"[Columbiana GOP county chair] Johnson said he was pleased with the actions of Ms. Long, whose son, Larry Long Jr., is an outspoken supporter of Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell."
The person's complaint would have seemed less partisan if it was immediately joined by a press release from the Columbiana County Republican Party and pushed by Matt at Lincoln Logs, RAB, Weapons of Mass Destruciton, and then by the Blackwell's campaign blog.

The article also establishes that Strickland, in fact, frequently stays at the Lisbon apartment:

Dennis Johnson said the elections board will give the complaint a fair hearing, but he said anyone who lives in Lisbon can tell you that Strickland stays at his apartment when in this part of the district, especially the employees at the Steel Trolley Diner, which he frequents.“You can talk to the people at the diner who would see him late at night” when Strickland stopped in for a piece of pie, he said.

WARNING: BORING LEGAL CONTENT AHEAD

Matt then asserts, with no legal authority, that Strickland is guilty either of voting fraud or tax fraud simply because Strickland applied for a tax credit for the condo as an owner-occupied home. Dole asserts that the form shows that the Franklin County property is Strickland's primary residence. However, Ohio election law doesn't require you to vote from your "primary residence." In fact, there's nothing in the Ohio Revised Code that comes anywhere near the term "primary residence" for voting purposes.

Also, apparently Matt doesn't know the definition of "residence," or else he'd know that a person can have only one domicile, but can have more than one residence.

So for the purposes of the uneducated, here's the difference between the two:

Residence: Bodily presence as an inhabitant in a given place.

Domicile: Bodily presence as an inhabitant in a given place with the intention of staying permanently. [Source: Black's Law Dictionary, 7th ed.]

The Ohio Revised Code provision that lays out the standard for voting residency, R.C. 3503.02, states that a residence is a person's habitation which is fixed and, whenever the person is absent, has the intention of returning. Note, it doesn't say the place where the person intends to permanently live. The Stricklands said they bought their Columbus condo to have a place to stay whenever they were traveling outside of the district while he was in Congress. Since Strickland will not be in Congress much longer, I'd say his stays in Columbus is pretty temporary. Also, as the article above points out, Strickland does return to the Lisbon apartment quite often. Statute satisifed.

In State, ex rel. Lakes v. Young, (1954), 161 Ohio St. 341, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that a candidate, whose wife and child lived in Dayton, received mail in Dayton, and a registered letter address to his voting address could not be delivered, and the fact that other people were currently renting his voting residence, was not sufficient to find that candidate was not eligible to run for office in the precinct where he was registered to vote. The candidate ate, slept, and received visits from his wife within the precinct, and planned to return to the premises after the current tenants moved out. In that case, the Ohio Supreme Court overturned a Board of Elections decision to remove the candidate from the ballot.

In State, ex rel. Klink v. Eyrich (1952), 157 Ohio St. 338, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the Hamilton County Board of Elections' decision to affirm the right of a candidate to run for office from his contested voting residence. The Court affirmed the Board decision. In his concurrence, one noted justice of the Supreme Court found that the evidence in the case required the conclusion that the "place where . . . [his] family . . . resides is in Franklin County." However, the justice noted that the question still remained if Franklin County was the only place where the candidate could vote.

The justice wrote:

"[T]hat very evidence discloses that, whenever [the candidate] is away, even when he is in Cincinnati, he has the intention of returning to Franklin County. On the other hand, [R.C. 3503.02] represents a modification of paragraph a of that statute. Admittedly, [the candidate] at one time fixed his habitation in Cincinnati.

There is also substantial evidence of [the candidate's] intention eventually to return from Franklin County to Cincinnati. Also, there is evidence that he has not gone to Franklin County for permanent purposes. If the antithesis of 'permanent purposes' is 'temporary purposes, and the words in [subsection] c of the statute tent to indicate then the rule stated in [subsection] b of the statute would support the board's position."

The justice then looked at what is now R.C. 3503.02(F) which states "if a person removes from this state and continuously resides outside this state for a period of four years or more, the person shall be considered to have lost the person's residence in this state, notwithstanding the fact that the person may entertain an intention to return at some future period."

The justice wrote:

"This paragraph provides only for the effect of 'remaining . . . an indefinite time' where there is removal 'to another state,' not to another part of the state. There is no similar provision [to R.C. 3503.02(H) which holds that a person loses their Ohio residency upon exercising their right to vote in another state] about losing a residence in one part of the state because of going into another part and voting there. Therefore, even if [the candidate] could have voted in Franklin County, it would not follow, under the words of paragraphs f and h of the statute, that he could not later vote in Cincinnati, even though he was living in Frnaklin County for an indefinite period.

"In making provision for the place where an elector may vote, the General Assembly has not specified that he may vote only at his place of domicile. Instead the words "resident" . . . and "residence" . . . have been used. A man may have more than one residence although he can have only one domicile.

"The mere fact that the ordinary meaning of the provisions of the applicable statutes may give a particular individual a choice of more than one place as his voting residence is no reason for determining that those statutes should be so construed as not to permit that. Obviously, such individual can vote only once at the same election.

"Apparently, the General Assembly, in providing for voting at the residence and setting forth rules for determination of such residence, recognized that there would be instances in which it would be difficult for an individual to determine where his domicile was or what his only voting residence was, if no leeway was given him to determine that for himself within certain limitations. The rules which the General Assembly specifed were apparently intended to enable an individual in such a situation to select as his residence some place which fairly conformed with one or more of the several rules specified, even though it might not conform with some of the other rules so specified or might not be his domicile."

And who was that Justice? None other than Justice Kingsley A. Taft. (Poor Ken Blackwell. The Taft family is a curse upon him!)

Oh, and before the Republicans think that even if their challenge succeeds means that Ted Strickland won't be able to vote in four weeks, they really should have read R.C. 3503.30 which states:

"When by mistake a qualified elector has caused himself to be registered in a precinct which was not his place of residence, the board of elections, on full and satisfactory proof that such error was committed by mistake, may, on his personal application and proof of his true residence, correct his registration form. The board may correct all errors occurring in the registration of electors when it finds that the errors subject to corrections were not of fraudulent intent."

No wonder the Cleveland Plain Dealer has already called Lincoln Logs legal malpractice "lame."

Poor Matt Dole, he's been wrong about Bob Ney's innocence, Chuck Blasdel's electibility, the NRCC's promise to pump paid media dollars in OH-06, and this (yet again.)

Can't imagine what he'll say when this complaint fails. And I sure as heck hope Matt and all these other Republicans never voted absentee while away from college. Unless, they intended to move back home with his parents after college, they're guilty of a fourth degree felony under their radical interpretation of this statute which has already been rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Shouldn't let Blackwell be Blackwell

When the first polls in the gubernatorial race came out, they showed Secretary of State Ken Blackwell winning the nomination, but doing poorer against Congressman Ted Strickland in the general election. But you can't count on polls seven months out, said the Republicans. And once people get to know Strickland and his record.

When the first polls came out after the May primary, they showed Congressman Ted Strickland with a healthy six-point lead over Ken Blackwell. But you can't count on polls six months out, and once people get to know Strickland and his record . . .

Over the summer, as Strickland began making himself known to Ohioans and launching his Turnaround Ohio plan, his lead in the polls doubled. But you can't count on polls three months out before the campaign starts in earnest after Labor Day, and once people people get to know Strickland and his record . . .

Now, it's post-Labor Day, and the Blackwell campaign and its allies have spent millions advertising on their version of Ted Strickland's record. In the past week, we've seen six different polls which all show Strickland with an average 18-point lead. For awhile, the right-wing blogsphere discounted any poll that wasn't the Ohio Poll (until it became "unreliable" upon showing a double-digit lead.) Show us Mason-Dixon polling, so we can show the non-believers the true nature of the race . . .

And not only does the Mason-Dixon poll show Strickland with a crushing seventeen point lead and confirms the basic finding of just about every other poll, but it confirms last week's Columbus Dispatch poll showing Blackwell dragging the entire ticket down. But you can't on polls . . .

Six weeks out, and it's difficult to imagine a scenerio in which Blackwell can win. He still has an unfavorability rating nearing 50% and substantially higher than his favorability rating. He's losing nearly a quarter of the Republican vote while Strickland has his base and the independent vote solidly behind him. Blackwell's effort to threaten Strickland's hold on his base by getting the African-American vote never materialized.

Now the why. Blackwell was able to win statewide elections handily for the past twelve years. What's the difference? Well, this is the first time we've truly seen Blackwell the open social conservative run. While some think the Blackwell is having trouble with his parties base because he's an extremist, I believe a bigger problem is he's an opportunist. Blackwell likes to talk about himself in Reaganesque terms, but nobody has violated Reagan's 11th Commandment of not speaking ill of another Republican than Blackwell. Whenever it was politically expedient for Blackwell to do so, he was more than happy to push another Republican under the bus, whether it was Governor Bob Taft or primary opponent Attorney General Jim Petro.

You can't push that many people from your party under the bus and not get some payback. And, also, his positions are outside the mainstream of a significant segment of his own party. Together, that makes it very unlikely that there was anything Blackwell could do to get his base back. If there was, he would have done it by now.

And second, and this can't be said enough, Blackwell was more myth than an actually strong candidate. Before his statewide tenure, Blackwell wass mreore successful getting political appointments than winning elections. At best, he was able to win open seat races for Cincinnati City Council, but he lost more races than he won.

I have no idea where Blackwell the Closer ever came from. If there's evidence that Blackwell is able to be a strong closer and come from behind in a race, I'm not aware of such a campaign. And, second, Blackwell the Communicator has turned out to be an overstated characterization of Blackwell's political strengths. So long as the gubernatorial races remain a draw, Blackwell loses, and it doesn't appear that Blackwell is the Debate Heavyweight his supporters made him out to seem. His campaign has been uninspiring and has not had an effective communication strategy since winning the primary (an achievement that Blackwell has been plotting for the past twelve years.)

Blackwell must have assumed that the Democratic Party would be in no position to mount a strong campaign this cycle. He must have assumed that the winner of the Republican gubernatorial primary would coast to an easy win in the general. After all, the 1990, 1994, 1998, and 2002 gubernatorial elections would all bear it out. Unfortunately, this election cycle is a break from that 16-year trend. Ted Strickland is no Robert Birch or Tim Hagan. And 2004 is nothing like 1998. How else do you explain Blackwell's "go for broke, win the primary at all costs" strategy?

Blackwell clearly thought winning the primary and throwing Taft under the bus would be enough to guarantee him an election. It wasn't as people can't ignore Blackwell's history with Tom Noe and the Ohio Republican Party, and not even Republicans can ignore what lengths Blackwell would go to win. In the end, it's not which candidate has the "right" position for the moment, or even which has the best plans for Ohio. In the end, it's a matter of character. And in five weeks, the people of Ohio will end this campaign with a verdict. It should be a short night.