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The Ohio governor’s race isn’t as boring as expected: Capitol Letter

October 11, 2018

The Ohio governor’s race isn’t as boring as expected: Capitol Letter

Rotunda Rumblings

It’s more fun than it looks: The biggest gripe everyone has against gubernatorial hopefuls Mike DeWine and Richard Cordray is that they’re boring. But a closer look at the governor’s race from cleveland.com’s Seth Richardson shows the race to succeed term-limited Ohio Gov. John Kasich is anything but a dull affair.

Dems, Issue 1 look good in poll: A new Suffolk University/Cincinnati Enquirer poll shows Cordray leading DeWine 46 percent to 40 percent, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Jackie Borchardt writes. The survey also found Democrats ahead in the races for U.S. Senate, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, and state auditor. Issue 1, the proposed constitutional amendment to reduce penalties for non-violent drug crimes, has the support of 43 percent of likely voters polled; 38 percent oppose the measure.

Top ten: The Washington Post analyzed the top 10 governor’s seats most likely to flip parties. Ohio just made the list at number 10. 

Thank you for your service? In a meeting before the cleveland.com/Plain Dealer editorial board, Republican U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs and Democratic challenger Ken Harbaugh had an interesting exchange regarding Harbaugh’s Naval service. Harbaugh said he swore an oath to the Constitution and risked his life for that oath. Gibbs responded saying he swore an oath to the Constitution as well, adding, “Apparently we’re risking our life in Congress too, but that’s beside the point.” Oops: Harbaugh took offense to the line, and Gibbs seemed to regret his statement almost immediately. “You’re going to make that comparison?” Harbaugh asked. “It was kind of a joke. Don’t worry about it,” Gibbs responded.

We need you: Cleveland.com is participating in Electionland, a project involving news organizations across the U.S, tracking election problems – long lines, voting machine problems, voter fraud allegations. Laura Hancock has information about how you can report your voting experiences.  

Black mark: Hamilton County Board of Elections Deputy Director Sally Krisel will lose two weeks of vacation time as punishment for blacking out the memo lines of four checks from Democrat Aftab Pureval’s clerk of courts campaign, according to the Enquirer’s Scott Wartman. The checks are being investigated by the Ohio Elections Commission to see whether Pureval illegally used money from his clerk of courts campaign on his congressional race.

Judge rejects voter purge challenge: “A federal judge ruled Wednesday that notification forms Ohio sends to voters in its process to remove inactive voters from its rolls are compliant with federal law, dealing another blow to a group challenging the state’s voter purge process,” reports cleveland.com’s Eric Heisig. Senior U.S. District Judge George Smith ruled against voting-rights groups, who claim voters deleted from Ohio’s rolls between 1995 and 2016 were removed unlawfully because the state’s notices for removal didn’t comply with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

Playing good cop? House District 24 Republican nominee Erik Yassenoff on Wednesday wrote Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken criticizing an attack mailer the party sent out against Democratic opponent Allison Russo, according to cleveland.com’s Jeremy Pelzer. Democrats speculated the letter was a ploy to get good PR for Yassenoff, who’s in a tough race to hold outgoing GOP Rep. Jim Hughes’ seat in suburban Columbus.

Dems grill Ohio judicial hopefuls: “In its first hearing after Brett Kavanaugh’s divisive U.S. Supreme Court nomination, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday debated whether to approve a pair of controversial Ohio federal court nominees,” writes cleveland.com’s Sabrina Eaton. “Ohio Solicitor General Eric Murphy and Chad Readler - who currently oversees more than 1,000 as head of the U.S. Justice Department’s civil division - ran into flak from Democrats over positions they took in controversial cases.”

Speaking of court nominations... President Donald Trump on Wednesday nominated an Ohio appellate judge based in Portsmouth to serve as a federal judge in Dayton. Matthew McFarland, who has served on the 4th Ohio District Court of Appeals since 2004, was recommended by U.S. Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown for the federal seat.

Reporter investigation: Portman on Wednesday signed onto a letter asking Trump to investigate the disappearance of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and explore sanctions against Saudi Arabia if it’s found that he was the victim of foul play, according to Eaton. Khashoggi -- who was living in self-imposed exile in the United States -- disappeared on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he was obtaining paperwork that would allow him to marry his Turkish fiance.

Water projects bill spurts ahead: The U.S. Senate on Wednesday signed off on legislation authorizing federal spending for water projects and demanding that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers promptly release a long-awaited final report on keeping Asian carp out of the Great Lakes, Eaton reports. The bill now heads to President Donald Trump for his signature.

Senate debate dates set: Dates and times were announced Wednesday for the three U.S. Senate debates between Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and his GOP rival, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci. The first debate will be at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 14 at the Idea Center in Cleveland, according to a Renacci release. The other two debates will be, respectively, in Columbus at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20, and at Miami University in Oxford at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26.

Bipartisan bromance renewed: Govs. John Kasich of Ohio and John Hickenlooper of Colorado held another joint appearance on Wednesday, bucking their respective parties’ stances on immigration and free trade during a Brookings Institution event in Washington, D.C. “If you don’t like immigrants here, send them to Ohio,” Kasich said, according to the Columbus Dispatch’s Jessica Wehrman, who added that the two joked and praised each other about being a presidential ticket in 2020.

Power play: Community leaders from Ottawa and Lake counties have formed the Ohio Clean Energy Jobs Alliance in an attempt to save the struggling Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants along Lake Erie. As the Toledo Blade’s Jim Provance explains, the leaders have eight months before the plants are scheduled to be permanently decommissioned.

Coming soon to a Dem near you: A coalition of liberal groups in Ohio on Wednesday touted their efforts to organize what they said will be the largest “get-out-the-vote” program in state history. The coalition, which consists of America Votes, For Our Future Ohio, Conservation Ohio and Planned Parenthood Votes Ohio, is gearing up to knock on more than 1 million doors in 10 counties through Nov. 6 to turn out Democratic voters.

Full Disclosure

Five things we learned from state Sen. Jay Hottinger’s April 4 financial disclosure statement. Hottinger, a Republican from Newark, is seeking re-election in Senate District 31. 

1. He reported income last year of $50,000 to $99,000 each from his Ohio Public Employees Retirement System pension and Truck One Inc., where he was a vice president of sales. As a senator, he earned $69,109.52.

2.  He is on the board of Ohio Deferred Compensation, the 457 retirement plan for state employees. 

3. He has a plan with Ohio Deferred Compensation. Other investments include his state pension, a retirement IRA and simplified employee pension IRA with TD Ameritrade, college savings with Edward Jones and a savings account with Park National Bank. 

4. He attended the Farmers Insurance Open – receiving credentials worth $600 and shirts worth $150. He received $119.92 in food and beverages from an event with the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies. The Ohio Cable and Telecommunications Association gave him Indians tickets worth $288 and $56 in food at the game. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce paid for a $58.12 tour and transportation to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Public Children Services Association of Ohio gave him an award worth $69.63, plus paid for his $18 lunch at the event where he received the award. 

5. The state reimbursed him $2,109.12 for mileage between his Licking County home and Columbus. Ohio Deferred Compensation paid $1,903.69 for his travel to a conference and for mileage and a meal for a meeting.

Straight From The Source

“If you’re going to compete with football, you’d better be a president.” The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Scott Wartman, paraphrasing Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell’s comment about how President Donald Trump’s scheduled visit to the Warren County Fairgrounds led at least one area high school to reschedule its Friday night football game.

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