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After a long campaign season, early voting officially starts: Capitol Letter

October 10, 2018

After a long campaign season, early voting officially starts: Capitol Letter

Rotunda RumblingsGet your ballots ready: Nov. 6 is almost here, folks. Early voting for the Nov. 6 midterm election officially begins today, and cleveland.com’s Laura Hancock has a handy guide on how to cast your ballot. Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Director Pat McDonald estimated 6,000 people will vote early in person in the county, with another 155,000 voting by mail before Election Day. And Mark Kovac of the Columbus Dispatch reports that nearly 89,000 people had requested absentee ballots, outpacing the 2014 total by more than 3,000.

New poll position: Tuesday, on the eve of early voting, Baldwin Wallace University released new polling that says Republican Mike DeWine continues to hold a narrow lead over Democrat Richard Cordray in the governor’s race, 40 percent to 37 percent, per cleveland.com’s Rich Exner. That’s within the margin of error. Polling in early December by BW showed DeWine up, 42 percent to 37 percent. Separate polls released last week by Ipsos/Reuters and NBC News/Marist College had DeWine up by one percentage point, and tied.

Let it ride: Exner also reports gambling revenue is up 4 percent year-over-year. The state’s seven slots-only racinos bolstered the growth, posting an 8.1 percent revenue increase, while revenue at Ohio’s four casinos fell 0.9 percent.

Shifting ahead: Cleveland.com’s Jeremy Pelzer has a breakdown of GOP state Sen. Frank LaRose’s shifting positions on high-profile issues in the secretary of state’s race. LaRose’s recent statements don’t always line up with what he’s said in the past about topics like the voter purge, automatic voter registration and same-day voter registration.

Cash injection: Cash-strapped Republican U.S. Rep. Troy Balderson got some help from the Trump administration Tuesday, per the Dispatch’s Jessica Wehrman. Vice President Mike Pence headlined a fundraiser at the Trump International Hotel in Washington for Balderson, who’s had trouble raising money for his general election rematch against Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor. 

The forgotten ones: DeWine declined a gubernatorial debate offer from the Toledo Blade, per the Blade’s Liz Skalka. Cordray accepted the offer. Toledo was left out of the debates this cycle in both the gubernatorial and Senate races.

Solid B: The libertarian Cato Institute gave Gov. John Kasich a B in its Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors. The institute likes the Republican’s tax cuts over the years. It noted that general fund spending rose briskly when he first took office but has flattened out in recent years. 

For the courts to decide: An ad claims Democratic congressional hopeful Aftab Pureval “abused the powers of his elected office” to silence a former employee who signed a severance agreement when she left the Hamilton County clerk of courts office. PolitiFact’s Stephen Koff dug into the claims, and instead of making a judgment of its truthfulness, provides insight into how the former employee and others were let go. 

Treading lightly: Pureval met with the Enquirer’s editorial board Tuesday and while he was perfectly willing to bash Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi, he refrained from outright attacking President Donald Trump, per the Enquirer’s Scott Wartman. Pureval is running in a tight race against GOP U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot in a district Trump won by 7 percentage points.

Thank you, sir, may I have another? Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, practicing his best reverse psychology, told a crowd in Akron he’s actually happy with Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s onslaught of attack ads against him, per the Akron Beacon Journal. “I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, sure. Sherrod Brown, keep running those ads, because people are starting to figure out who Jim Renacci is,’” Renacci told a crowd at the Akron Press Club.

Survey says: Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Travis Irvine is ready to go up on cable – well, kind of. Irvine sent an email missive asking supporters to vote on one of three commercials to air on cable. The catch? He’ll only air the winning commercial if he raises $10,000 by Saturday.

Full Disclosure

Five things we learned from the May 14 financial disclosure of state Sen. Joe Uecker, a Republican from the Cincinnati area. 

1. Uecker listed four sources of income in 2017: As a state senator, he earned $60,584. He received $50,000 to $99,999 from an Ohio Public Employees Retirement System pension, $1,000 to $9,999 as a member of the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review and less than $1,000 from Chase Bank for interest on savings.  

2. At some point in 2017, Uecker owed more than $1,000 each to Chase Bank Visa and U.S. Bank Visa. 

3. Last year he attended a retreat with the Ohio Republican Senate Campaign Committee, which cost $172.25. He was reimbursed $4,076.80 for mileage between Columbus and his Loveland home. He attended the Ohio Chamber’s Policy Conference at Salt Fork in September 2017, which cost $276.02. 

4. He reported receiving gifts from the RSCC and the University of Cincinnati. 

5. His campaign committee owed him over $1,000.  

On The MoveMohammed Ahmed has joined the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio as the executive transmission adviser to the chairman. Ahmed comes to PUCO from American Electric Power, where he was a transmission planning manager and an electrical engineer.Straight From The Source

“Woof, woof.”

-U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s dog Franklin in the senator’s latest campaign ad, signaling his approval of Brown’s fight to remove tainted Chinese dog treats from store shelves.

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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