All eyes on Ohio for 12th District special election: Capitol Letter
All eyes on Ohio for 12th District special election: Capitol Letter
Nearing the finish line: Republican Troy Balderson and Democrat Danny O’Connor are making their final pitches to 12th Congressional District voters ahead of Tuesday’s special election – the most competitive congressional election Ohio has seen in years. As cleveland.com’s Jeremy Pelzer reports, both candidates said the race will be decided by which side can turn out the most supporters, rather than which candidate can win over the most swing voters.
How to vote: Polling places in the 12th District will be open Tuesday from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Voters can find their polling locations, check their registration and view a sample ballot by going to MyOhioVote.com/VoterToolkit.
What to watch for Tuesday night: Be sure to follow cleveland.com’s coverage. Election returns will be updated in real time on vote.ohio.gov. Keep an eye on O’Connor’s victory margin in Franklin County – he needs to run up the score there to offset likely Balderson victories everywhere else. Balderson, meanwhile, needs sizable wins in the other two large counties in the district: Licking and Delaware counties.
Celebrity cameos: While political A-listers like President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have campaigned for Balderson in the closing days of the race, O’Connor is getting help from some celebrities. Actress Kathryn Hahn (who played a campaign manager on the show “Parks and Rec”) campaigned for O’Connor in the district Monday, while singer John Legend led a virtual phonebank for the Democrat. Both events were arranged by Swing Left, a left-leaning grassroots group.
Big picture: A picture snapped by Pelzer of two Delaware County residents wearing “I’d Rather Be A Russian Than A Democrat” T-shirts during last Saturday’s Donald Trump rally in southern Delaware County has gone viral on the Internet. As Pelzer writes, author/model Chrissy Teigen even used the photo to troll her anti-Trump father on his birthday.
Ohio, Ohio, Ohio: The opening line of Monday’s Politico Playbook newsletter pretty much sums up the intense national interest in the special election: “The story that matters the most this week is in Columbus, Ohio... This race will give us a good sense of the landscape at the moment.” A sampling of the national media coverage:
- Politico’s Alex Isenstadt writes, “The entire Republican Party machinery has converged on this suburban Columbus district for a furious eleventh-hour campaign aimed at saving a conservative House seat and averting another special election disaster.” - The New York Times’ Alexander Burns reports on the GOP’s strategy “intended to polarize the electorate and exploit the national Democratic Party’s leftward shift.”
- CBS News talked to Jeffrey Sadosky, a Republican strategist and veteran of Ohio campaigns, who talked about the challenge faced by GOP candidates like Balderson, who has endorsements from both President Donald Trump and Gov. John Kasich, a vocal Trump critic. They are “wedged between Trump and Kasich, needing one to earn credibility with the base and the other to provide some independent cover,” Sadosky told CBS News.
Dettelbach deets: Democrat Steve Dettelbach works for a large law firm that’s representing one of the companies named in Ohio’s opioid lawsuits. He and the firm say the candidate for attorney general has been “walled off” from accessing information or talking with colleagues about the case. Cleveland.com’s Jackie Borchardt has more about the “firewall” agreement that Dettelbach says prevents him from having a conflict of interest in prosecuting the opioid cases if elected.
Fair weather: Ohio State Fair attendance was up 13 percent this year, and General Manager Virgil Strickler attributed the uptick to good weather. The fair’s statement neglects to note that last year, attendance was down 13 percent after the Fire Ball ride came apart mid-air – killing Tyler Jarrell and injuring seven others.
Party pooper: Green Party members on Monday publicly disavowed any association with or support for James Condit Jr., a far-right candidate who is running as a Green in Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District. Condit, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist who has posted statements about a global “Jewish shadow government,” admits he disagrees with the Green Party’s platform but is using it just to get on the ballot. “Condit is an opportunist using subterfuge and manipulating the backwards ballot access laws of Ohio in an attempt to elevate himself and his reprehensible platform,” Green Party State Central Committee member Dan Amann said in a release.
Outside forces: Labor and environmental groups plan to spend at least $3.1 million “to mobilize voters in Ohio, Arizona, Nevada and Montana elections whose outcomes will help decide control of the U.S. Senate,” cleveland.com’s Sabrina Eaton reports. That includes half a million dollars in support of Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, facing a challenge from GOP Rep. Jim Renacci. So far, the race hasn’t attracted a lot of spending by outside groups, Eaton writes.
I quit: Casey Burgat analyzed the highest congressional staff turnover rates for the Washington Post and found that “in some offices, turnover is regularly quite high — and often an indicator of problems in the workplace.” Among the Congress members with the highest staff turnover rates from 2001-2017? Former Rep. Betty Sutton, the current Ohio Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor. Current Ohio members who also had high turnover rates were Democrat Joyce Beatty and Republican Bob Gibbs.
Fighting words: Michael Avenatti, the colorful attorney for adult film actress Stormy Daniels, headlined the Mahoning County Democratic Party’s annual dinner Monday night and said Democrats need to be more aggressive when they take on Trump, cleveland.com’s Seth Richardson reports.
Five things we learned from the March 30 financial disclosure statement of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Michael P. Donnelly, a Democrat who is facing Republican Craig Baldwin, a state appellate judge, for a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court.
1. Donnelly reported income last year from the state and Cuyahoga County for his work on the bench. He said the Ohio Supreme Court paid him to be a bar examiner. He doesn’t have to report income on the form, but the Ohio Treasurer said his 2017 income was $119,727.
2. He has a pension with the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, a 457(b) retirement plan with Ohio Deferred Compensation and stock options from Steris Corp. He reported his wife having a Vanguard 401(k).
3. He’s a board member of the Cleveland Baseball Federation, a nonprofit that assists the city’s recreation department in the children’s baseball program. He formerly served on the board of the Western Reserve Fire Museum.
4. He reported $9,179.55 in travel expenses associated with Cuyahoga County. He had $648 in travel for his work on the Board of Bar Examiners. He had $1,914.40 in travel for the Ohio Judicial Conference.
5. He owed at least $1,000 in 2017 to the following: Dollar Bank for his home mortgage, a GMC auto lease, and credit cards with Key Bank, Chase Bank, Home Depot, Sears, Bank of America, Brooks Brothers and First Bankcard.
On the Move
Gov. John Kasich last week appointed Findlay attorney Jeffrey E. Fort to the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission through Oct. 14, 2019. The Toledo Blade reports Fort specializes in oil, gas and environmental law and formerly worked as an attorney for Marathon Oil Co.
Straight From The Source
“Grateful to one of my heroes, @KingJames, for again showing what leadership, service, and class look like. #IPromise”
-Ex-FBI Director James Comey, referring to the Akron public school that the LeBron James Family Foundation is helping to fund.
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.