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What you need to know about tonight’s Ohio governor debate: Capitol Letter

September 19, 2018

What you need to know about tonight’s Ohio governor debate: Capitol Letter

Rotunda Rumblings

Debate Night in Ohio: It’s fight night in the governor’s race this evening as Republican Mike DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordray meet on the debate stage for the first time this election. The two have been locked in a close race since the May primary, with most polls showing the race almost dead even. The contest starts at 7 p.m. on the University of Dayton campus. We’ve got you covered: Can’t make it to Dayton to watch the debate live? Don’t worry. Check cleveland.com for the live stream later tonight, including live analysis from chief political reporter Seth Richardson.

The other debate: Ohio Issue 1, the constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would lessen criminal penalties on some drug crimes and emphasize treatment, is the subject of a debate hosted by the Youngstown Vindicator at 10 a.m. today on vindy.com. True blue? Axios has identified eight races across the country that “will help determine if the ‘blue wave’ will be strong enough to live up to the hype.” The Ohio governor’s race made the list. Axios’ Alexi McCammond quotes Kyle Kondik of Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “If Democrats are winning Ohio’s governorship they probably are winning at least 4-5 of the 6 Midwest governorships at play (maybe all 6).” Dealing in hypotheticals: DeWine said in a radio interview that a person caught with 1,000 pounds of fentanyl would only be charged with a misdemeanor and no jail time if Issue 1 passes in November, the Columbus Dispatch’s Randy Ludlow reports. The proposed amendment would not change drug trafficking laws, Ludlow writes.

Cordray cops an endorsement: The Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the second-largest police union in the state, endorsed Cordray for governor, according to the Democrat’s campaign. The union endorsed DeWine for attorney general in 2014.

Doing time: New Ohio Medicaid rules would ban some people from ever becoming providers or make them wait years before they can. The mental health community say the rules are problematic for former addicts who now work in drug recovery centers, writes cleveland.com’s Laura Hancock.

OMG WTF: That’s the new acronym of a PAC looking to elect Democratic governors, attorneys general and secretaries of state in six states: Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, Texas and Florida. (Get it? O, M, G, etc.) Per Variety, Ben Sheehan of Funny or Die is the founder of the project. The PAC’s website says they’re throwing “non-boring events” and implores people to “stop f***ing around” and register to vote.

Emergency meeting about Aftab probe: The Hamilton County Board of Elections has called an emergency meeting Wednesday related to a “campaign finance investigation” into 1st Congressional District Democratic nominee Aftab Pureval, according to Sharon Coolidge and Scott Wartman of the Cincinnati Enquirer. The meeting notice didn’t provide further details, though questions have raised about whether $30,000 donated to Pureval’s clerk of courts campaign was illegally spent on his congressional race. Unusually, the memo lines of the donation checks – most of which came from Pureval’s mom -- were redacted. 

Harbaugh pays the man: Ohio Democratic congressional candidate Ken Harbaugh said he wrote a $3,800 check this week to settle Republican questions over a property-tax exemption he’d received on a house in Connecticut, cleveland.com’s Andrew Tobias reports. Harbaugh qualified for the exemption, available to Connecticut military veterans, when he bought the house in 2005, but his campaign said the Harbaughs forgot to update their taxes when they moved to Ohio in 2009. Harbaugh is challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs.

Fee fight: The family of Michael Moritz, the namesake of the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University, is firing back at the university for taking fees up to 1.3 percent out of endowments to the school. These endowments fund scholarships and faculty chairs, but the fee takes away a significant portion of the donations. Cleveland.com’s Emily Bamforth explains that the Mortiz family views these fees as unfair.  Harris speaks at women’s summit: The fourth annual Women’s Leadership Summit in Cincinnati will feature Democratic U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California. Harris will give the keynote speech on Oct. 6 at Xavier University, reports cleveland.com’s Mary Kilpatrick.  Testing, testing: A new proposal seeks to change high school graduation requirements in Ohio. The Plain Dealer’s Patrick O’Donnell explains the alternatives to taking tests, so students may still receive a high school diploma through an unconventional path. 

Superintendent salary bump: The State Board of Education voted Tuesday to raise state Superintendent Paolo DeMaria’s salary by 2.75 percent to $189,571, according to the Dispatch’s Catherine Candisky. Board members also gave DeMaria a $20,000 bonus. 

By the dozen: The state announced Tuesday that NMG Ohio LLC in Huron in Erie County was the 12th recipient of a provisional medical marijuana processor license. The Ohio Department of Commerce is authorized to award up to 40 provisional licenses. 

Full Disclosure

Here are five things we learned from the April 9 financial disclosure of state Rep. John Barnes, a Cleveland Democrat: 1. In addition to his $60,584 legislative salary, in 2017 Barnes made $1,000 to $9,999 from Clear Channel for rental income and received less than $1,000 from the Diplomacy Group Inc.

2. Barnes serves as president of Embassy Realty Investments, Globaltwo Capital Investments LLC and the Diplomacy Group, Inc.

3. He has two investments: a mutual fund in Ohio Deferred Compensation and a retirement fund in the Ohio Public Employees Retirement Fund.

4. At some point in 2017, Barnes owed $1,000 or more to these creditors: Bank of America; Chase; Citi; American Express; FsL,NeV,& dTS; and Discover.

5. Barnes was reimbursed $4,461.60 by the Ohio House last year for travel between the Statehouse and his home. He also received travel expenses from the National Conference of State Legislatures for $1,168.48 and the Ohio Chamber of Commerce for $138.01.

On The Move

Ukraine Orthodox Patriarch Filaret gave U.S. Sen. Rob Portman the Order of St. Volodymyr medal in recognition of the Republican’s work in support of the country in the face of Russian aggression, Portman’s office said in a statement.

Birthdays

Rep. Rick Perales  Rep. Mark Romanchuk

Straight From The Source

“It is not fair to the institution, it is not fair to Judge Kavanaugh and it is not fair to Dr. Ford the way this has been handled.”

- Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, speaking with reporters Tuesday about sexual abuse allegations made by California college professor Christine Blasey Ford against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that have sidetracked his Senate confirmation.

Capitol Letter is a daily briefing providing succinct, timely information for those who care deeply about the decisions made by state government. If you do not already subscribe, you can sign up here to get Capitol Letter in your email box each weekday for free.

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