Tags: Ted Strickland

The Brightening Outlook for Ohio Governor John Kasich


Since the moment he took office as Ohio’s governor, John Kasich represented a big target for Democrats. And when voters rejected a the Republican-passed law restricting the collective-bargaining rights of public employees in a public referendum in November 2011, Ohio Democrats licked their lips, perceiving a quite vulnerable incumbent.

Today . . . not quite so much. Kasich isn’t quite secure in his bid for a second term, but his outlook is considerably brighter.

But while a recent Quinnipiac Poll showed voters still don’t believe Mr. Kasich has earned a second term, his numbers have slowly improved in recent months. His job approval rating recently moved into positive territory.

“Barring some unpredictable issue, time is on the governor’s side,” said John Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron. “Most people believe the economy will continue to improve. It may be a rocky road in a general sense, but most believe we’ll continue to see improvement. That helps the governor.

“One of the reasons polls show criticism of the governor is he had tried a lot of policy innovations to get the economy moving,” he said. “Some were popular. Some were very unpopular. But the more time he has, the more opportunity for those policies to work.”

And in something of a surprise, the man Kasich beat in 2010, Ted Strickland, declined a rematch in 2014, issuing a 395-word statement that never quite mentioned why he was not running again. Whatever the reasoning was, Ohio Republicans want the decision to be interpreted as a response to Kasich’s improving record.

State GOP chairman Bob Bennett said:

Ohio has made giant leaps in progress in two short years under John Kasich, and it will be hard for any Democrat to argue why he shouldn’t continue to create jobs for hardworking Ohio families and put Ohio back on the right track.

Strickland’s decision is likely to set up a contested gubernatorial primary for Democrats:

Most party sources agreed Tuesday that [Cuyahoga County Executive Ed] FitzGerald, 44, has the strongest claim to the nomination given his heavily Democratic base in Cuyahoga County and the preparations he already has made. But others could be drawn into the race now that Strickland is out of the picture. The possibilities include former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of the Youngstown area and Betty Sutton, the recently unseated congresswoman from Copley Township.

Lightning might strike twice for the Ohio GOP; a nasty primary with lingering resentment hurt that state’s Democrats in the 2010 Senate race, as well.

Tags: Ed Fitzgerald , John Kasich , Ted Strickland

Columbus Dispatch to Ex-Gov. Ted Strickland:
Stop Embarrassing Yourself


The Columbus Dispatch is unimpressed with the behavior of their former governor:

There is a long tradition in American politics in which an outgoing elected official says his goodbyes and then clears the stage for his successor. Even after bitterly fought campaigns, losing officeholders who take the high road during and after the transition are respected for their graciousness and dignity. At the very least, this conveys respect for the office, and equally important, it shows respect for the will of the voters who decided that someone new should take the helm. . . . Sadly, former Gov. Ted Strickland has not taken that high road, instead choosing almost from the moment the November ballots were counted to try to torpedo his successor, Gov. John Kasich. Of course, this is his prerogative. He is an Ohioan fully entitled to participate in politics and express his views. But most politicians do not choose to end their careers and cap their legacies by engaging in sour-grapes sniping and public efforts to undermine the successor whose administration is barely under way.

Don’t go away mad, Mr. Strickland. Just go away.

Tags: John Kasich , Ted Strickland

Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Not Coming Out in Big Numbers


Over in Ohio, Third Base Politics sends word that the Board of Elections director says Cuyahoga County — the one that includes Cleveland — is on pace for 430,000 out of about 978,000 registered voters, roughly 43 percent turnout.

For perspective, the county made up almost all of Obama’s margin of victory in Ohio in 2008. Obama won 458,422 votes in this county in 2008, and beat McCain by 258,542 votes; Obama’s margin in Ohio was 262,224.

Democrats Ted Strickland and Lee Fisher needed big margins out of Cleveland, and so far, it’s not coming together for them.

UPDATE: The prediction is now revised downward: 410,000.

Tags: Lee Fisher , Ted Strickland

Where Were All the Cleveland Democrats?


You can overthink and overstate indicators like this, but I think Third Base Politics has the tone right in noticing the 8,000 who turned out for a rally in Cleveland featuring President Obama and underdog Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland:

From WKYCThe event drew a crowd of 8,000. Cleveland State’s Wolstein Center holds 14,000. There were contingency plans in place for a possible second event at Krenzler Field to handle an overflow crowd that never materialized.

Now don’t get me wrong. 8,000 is a heckuva turnout for a normal, gubernatorial campaign rally. It’s one any statewide candidate would love to have. But this event was with the leader of the free world. 

This event was in the heart of what’s supposed to be ground zero for Democrats in Ohio. This event was supposed to have far more than 14,000 people. Instead, they had just over half that. One thing is clear - Cleveland isn’t energized to a level that the Strickland campaign expects. If it was, 14,000+ would have shown up. They didn’t. Not by a longshot. And that’s bad news for Strickland.

And just think, the Cleveland Browns had the bye week.

Tags: Barack Obama , Joe Biden , Ted Strickland

Quinnipiac: GOP’s Kasich Leads Strickland in Ohio, 50-41


Quinnipiac ruins the narrative that Ted Strickland is making a dramatic comeback:

Republican John Kasich holds a 50 – 41 percent lead over Democratic incumbent Ted Strickland among likely voters in the race for Ohio governor, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.  This is down from a 54 – 37 percent Kasich lead September 16.

President Barack Obama’s trips to Ohio to campaign for Democrats have not been helpful in attracting voters to Gov. Strickland, as only 14 percent of likely voters overall and just 6 percent of independent voters say the president’s visits make them more likely to vote for the Democrat, the independent Quinnipiac University survey finds.  In all, 33 percent of likely voters and 39 percent of independent likely voters say an Obama visit made it less likely they would vote for Strickland.

The two candidates are holding onto their party faithful, with Kasich getting 88 percent of Republicans and Strickland getting 86 percent of Democrats.  But Kasich’s 62 – 29 percent lead among independent voters is responsible for his overall lead.  

Tags: John Kasich , Ted Strickland

If You Advertise, They Will Come


MSNBC’s Chuck Todd explains why the GOP’s John Kasich is barely ahead in Ohio’s governor’s race, while the GOP’s Rob Portman leads the Senate race easily: “[Ted] Strickland topping Kasich 2-1 in spots aired; while Portman has nearly a 6-1 advantage in spots aired last week over [Lee] Fisher.”

That will do it. Republicans hope Kasich is ready to saturate the airwaves in the final month.

Tags: John Kasich , Lee Fisher , Rob Portman , Ted Strickland

Quinnipiac: GOP’s Kasich Leads Strickland in Ohio, 54-37


Turn out the lights in Ohio?

Republican challenger John Kasich has a 54 – 37 percent lead over Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland in the race to be Ohio’s next chief state executive, with much of his lead due to overwhelming support among independent voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters released today.

Tags: John Kasich , Ted Strickland

President Obama’s ‘Underwater Tour 2010’ Dates Announced


The AP tells us

President Barack Obama is coming to a swing state near you this fall.

The Democrat known for packing stadiums from coast to coast plans at least four major rallies in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Nevada before the Nov. 2 midterm elections.

He also plans to host a teletown hall event in October to fire up backers of his 2008 presidential campaign in hopes they turn out for Democratic candidates this fall. That’s according to the Democratic National Committee.

Obama plans to host a rally in Madison, Wis., on Sept. 28; Philadelphia on Oct 10; Ohio on Oct. 17, and Las Vegas on Oct. 22.

Party aides say the White House also could add more presidential appearances in the run up to the elections.

Let’s unpack this: Wisconsin is to help Feingold and Tom Barrett in the governor’s race. Philadelphia is presumably to help Sestak and Onofrio in those statewide races, and maybe the swing districts in the Philly suburbs. Ohio is one that he technically has to do, even though support for Ted Strickland and Lee Fisher looks pretty anemic right now.

And the final one, closest to the election, is Nevada, to help save Harry Reid and maybe help Rory Reid avoid an embarrassing landslide. Maybe a House race or two.

Not much on offense, really; no Florida, no Missouri, no New Hampshire, no effort to help out a Democratic challenger in Louisiana or North Carolina. Obama’s underwater in Ohio, underwater in Pennsylvania, underwater in Nevada, and a little underwater in Wisconsin. (I guess it’s not that surprising when you’re underwater nationally.)

Tags: Barack Obama , Harry Reid , Lee Fisher , Ted Strickland

The NRA Will Still Be Heard This Cycle


Over in the Corner, Kathryn notices the NRA’s non-endorsement of Harry Reid.

(Unfortunately, whatever I write on this subject is often attributed to one of my best buddies. So let me preface this by saying this analysis is based on much more than our conversations.)

The NRA believes they are best served by having friends on both sides of the aisle. They define themselves as a single-issue organization; while many of their members would identify themselves as conservatives and many are Republicans, the organization believes that any lawmaker who takes the right stances and votes should be supported by the organization, regardless of their views on non-gun issues. This is perhaps best illustrated by the NRA’s “A” rating for Howard Dean while he was governor of Vermont. 

This is not to say that Wayne LaPierre, Chris Cox, and the rest of the NRA’s leadership don’t have strong opinions about other issues; merely that they believe that the organization must always keep its eye on job one: protecting Americans’ Second Amendment rights. In their mind, considering a lawmaker’s overall governing philosophy or votes on other issues would mean the organization’s mission would get fuzzy and indistinct. (One rare exception to this is the group’s opposition to most campaign finance reform efforts; they feel that limiting gun owners’ right to support their preferred candidates is as abominable as limiting their Second Amendment rights.)

A moment of conservative resurgence like this one ought to be a great, triumphant moment for the NRA. But certain Democratic lawmakers have figured out that in order to get elected in non-inner-city parts of the country, they have to be resolutely, consistently, and loudly pro-gun. So in a few of the cycle’s most high-profile races, the organization has found itself contemplating an endorsement of a Democrat loathed by many of their Republican members.

On paper, the NRA doesn’t have a lot of reasons to be upset with Harry Reid, even if many of their Nevada members are irate at Reid about “the war is lost,” runaway spending, support for the Obama agenda, obnoxious comments, etc.

In Ohio, Ted Strickland has been precisely the kind of governor the NRA would like to see. John Kasich, by comparison, supported the Assault Weapons Ban back in 1994. He insists he’s learned from his mistake, but the NRA never forgets a bad vote, and endorsed Strickland.

In Florida, the NRA’s state officers have a long and happy working relationship with Charlie Crist, and he’s given the organization little reason to complain.

Many races this fall will feature what we’re used to seeing – a highly-rated pro-gun Republican against a poorly-rated anti-gun Democrat. It’s just the NRA’s luck that two of their longtime allies – Reid and Crist – are among the biggest targets of grassroots conservatives this cycle.

The NRA has stated they will not endorse in the Nevada Senate race. However, whether or not the NRA endorses in a particular race, they grade every candidate who answers their questions. Reid’s Sotomayor and Kagan votes will probably cost him an “A.” In the state legislature, Angle was pro-gun and it’s hard to imagine her suddenly embracing any gun control programs at this point. While she may not get endorsed, she may get graded higher than the incumbent.

Tags: Charlie Crist , Harry Reid , John Kasich , Sharron Angle , Ted Strickland

John Kasich Catches Fire. (In the Good Way.)



Republican John Kasich now holds an eight-point lead over incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland in the race for governor of Ohio, shifting the state from a Toss-Up to Leans Republican in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Gubernatorial Scorecard. Kasich earns 48 percent of the vote, while Strickland picks up 40 percent support in the latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Ohio Voters. Six percent (6%) prefer some other candidate, and seven percent (7%) are undecided. Two weeks ago, Kasich was barely ahead 45 percent to 42 percent, but the race has been close for months . . . When leaners are included in the new totals, Kasich’s lead grows to 10 points. With the leaners, 52 percent favor Kasich, and 42 percent are for Strickland.

And next door in Pennsylvania:

Republican Tom Corbett remains ahead in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial contest with his support still hovering around 50 percent. A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in the state finds Corbett earning 48 percent of the vote, while his Democratic challenger, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, earns 38 percent support. Five percent (5%) prefer some other candidate, and nine percent (9%) are undecided. Last month, Corbett, the state’s attorney general, led Onorato by a 50% to 39% margin . . . When leaners are included in the new totals, Corbett’s lead grows to 11 points. With the leaners, 50% favor Corbett and 39% Onorato.

There are a lot of key House races in Ohio and Pennsylvania, where vulnerable Democrat incumbents will be looking for help from the top of the ticket. Look elsewhere, guys.

Tags: John Kasich , Ted Strickland

Rasmussen Brightens the Mornings of Boxer and Kasich


This morning, Rasmussen has Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer leading Carly Fiorina by 5 in California’s Senate race and the GOP’s John Kasich leading incumbent Ted Strickland by 3 in Ohio’s governor’s race. They’re pretty much in line with what we’ve seen in other recent polls.

Tags: Barbara Boxer , Carly Fiorina , John Kasich , Ted Strickland

Cleveland Rocked


It’s not a traditional political topic, but I saw a lot of cultural symbolism in last night’s news, as suggested in this morning’s Jolt:

LeBrocolypse Now

I’m sure some folks are sick of the topic, but I found the epic hype and buildup to LeBron James’ free agency decision a pretty fascinating portrait of the intersection of sports, money, celebrity, and cities’ identities. (It also is a minor factor in the governor’s race, and James Pethokoukis notes that the Cleveland Plain-Dealer is looking at the tax angle: “James, the Cavs’ all-time leader in scoring among other categories, potentially could be leaving as much as $40 million on the table by not signing a maximum contract with the Cavs and instead going with the Heat. It is believed Miami officials attempted to get around this fact by pointing out the difference in state income tax rates. Florida has none and Ohio’s is six percent. James would have to pay out-of-state income tax for most of his 41 road games per season, but none of his home games. That is a difference that could save James millions over the next five years when also including his endorsement earnings, which are believed to be about $15-20 million per year.”)

Like I said, I didn’t have much dog in this fight, but it’s not hard to feel bad for Cleveland. Here you have the classic Rust Belt, working class, no-glamour all-grit city that already had its football team taken away from it once. (What other city names its largest newspaper, “The Plain Dealer”?* You might as well call it the “Northern Ohio Nothing Special.”) Now the kid from Akron has left, in the most high-profile, endlessly hyped manner possible, to go to arguably the east coast’s biggest party town, the city of beaches and palm trees, bikinis, Crockett, Tubbs, Cuban sandwiches and the glamorous tropical life. He goes from one of the nation’s most diehard sports town to a place already overstuffed with celebrities and that has a hard time selling out Dolphins games (and they only have eight home games a year). Yes, LeBron James wanted to win championships and be on a better team. But he also ditched an adoring fan base, who now confront the fact that they will probably have to wait years or decades before they get a comparable talent. The message of his move is clear: nobody wants to play in Cleveland, and that relates in part because nobody with options really wants to live there.

The fact that LeBron James put his fans through months of speculation and a media frenzy that made Brett Favre’s annual to-retire-or-not-to-retire Hamlet routine look underplayed was, deliberate or not, an unnecessarily cruel twisting of the knife on his way out the door.

I’m reminded of a quote from Allahpundit after Nike put out the ad with Earl Woods’ voice: “The time is right, my friends. We’ve got a porn star running for Senate (as a Republican!), we’ve got a formerly wholesome sports icon nailing everything within a hundred-foot radius — heck, we’ve even got Spitz’s own hookers writing for major metropolitan newspapers. And of course we’ve got a new governor in New York who’s somehow made himself seem even scummier than Spitzer is. America 2008 was an innocent place. America 2010 is ready to party.” This was April, when he was speculating about a political comeback for Eliot Spitzer. Now Spitzer’s gotten an even bigger prize: America has 50 governors, but only Bill O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann can say that like Spitzer they host 8 p.m. cable news shows.

* I’m informed that the local newspaper in Wabash, Indiana, is also named The Plain Dealer.

Tags: John Kasich , Ted Strickland

The LeBron Factor in Ohio’s Governor’s Race


The upcoming decision by NBA star LeBron James on free agency is technically a bit outside of the beat of this blog, but there are a few political ramifications.

If LeBron chooses to leave Cleveland, what do you think the right track/wrong direction numbers for Ohio voters will look like next month?

Ted Strickland, the current governor of Ohio and a Democrat, appeared in a video, singing a parody of “We Are the World,” urging LeBron to stay.

I’m not going to give Strickland much grief for a lighthearted moment, but John Kasich, the GOP nominee, actually didn’t think that LeBron’s decision was worth much worry to a governor, what with unemployment above 10 percent. Ohio Democrats think they’ve really got Kasich in a bind here:

If LeBron stays, the incumbent will probably get to joke that his singing helped keep one employee from moving out of state. If LeBron does depart to New York, New Jersey, Miami, or somewhere else, Kasich will note that the governor needs to do more than sing to make Ohio a state where people want to work and live.

Of course, President Obama made a sales pitch for his hometown favorites, the Chicago Bulls, while Vice President Biden guaranteed that LeBron would stay in Cleveland during an appearance in that city.

UPDATE: Team Kasich wants to make sure the full quote is out there:


“Alan, we’ve lost 400,000 jobs out here and the last guy I worry about is LeBron James. You know I mean, we all hope he’ll stay in Cleveland. We think we’ve got a great guy there that can turn everything around, but we got some serious problems,” Kasich said.

Kasich, flashing a bit of sports knowledge, did sympathize with Cleveland fans who are still waiting for a championship from the Cavs, Browns or Indians.

“It’d have been so great for the Cavs to be playing because Cleveland has struggled with its sports teams and we need a little, we need a little victory so we might need to steal some players out of New York to help us out,” Kasich told Colmes.

I’ll bet Ohio Democrats left off the rest of the quote because they were sick, waylaid by LeBronchitis.

Tags: John Kasich , Ted Strickland

Rasmussen Sees a Fairly Consistent Ohio Governor’s Race


Most pollsters have seen a close race or a small lead for Ted Strickland, the incumbent Democratic governor of Ohio. But Rasmussen sees John Kasich getting a nice pop in his numbers, leading 47 percent to 40 percent. Of course, in March, Rasmussen had Kasich up 11 and in June they had him up 5.

Tags: John Kasich , Ted Strickland

We Don’t Really Like Him, Let’s Elect Him


I began the day scratching my head over the Quinnipiac poll, showing Democrat Ted Strickland leading Republican John Kasich in the Ohio governor’s race, even though Quinnipiac finds Strickland with some strikingly high negatives.

I end the day looking at Public Policy Polling, where John Kasich leads, 43 percent to 41 percent, even though only 28 percent have a favorable opinion of Kasich and 30 percent have an unfavorable one.

I think this is just a day full of weird polls.

Tags: John Kasich , Ted Strickland

We Hate Him, Let’s Keep Him


Quinnipiac offers a strange contradiction in their latest poll:

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland holds a slight 43 – 38 percent lead over Republican challenger John Kasich, statistically unchanged from 44 – 38 percent in April, and 43 – 38 percent in March, at least partly because Kasich remains unknown to half of Ohio voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today… 

Despite Strickland’s lead in the horse race, voters disapprove 54 – 33 percent of his handling of the economy and give him a 52 – 31 percent failing grade on handling the state budget.  Voters say 48 – 31 percent that the Governor has not kept campaign promises.  These are Strickland’s lowest scores on all three questions.

I think Kasich will gain ground quickly as Ohioans tune into the race more closely in the fall. But you might think that the voters’ low opinion of Strickland would translate to a smaller base of actual voting support . . .

Tags: John Kasich , Ted Strickland

Ted Strickland vs. John Kasich on Guns


The National Rifle Association makes its first general-election endorsement of the year: Ted Strickland, governor of Ohio, a Democrat.

I understand why the NRA operates as a single-issue organization; Strickland has given the NRA no real reason to oppose him. But with Ohio’s unemployment rate at 10.9 percent — above 14 percent in 13 counties! — there are probably a lot of Ohio gun owners who would like to see a better economic future for their state, a better economic future that Strickland has failed to deliver.

Beyond that, how often do you hear a politician say, “I was wrong”? Because that’s precisely what Strickland’s GOP rival, former congressman John Kasich, said about his vote for the assault-weapons ban back in 2004.

Tags: John Kasich , Ted Strickland

Maybe a Lot of Ohio Democrats Skipped That Line on Their Ballots


Fascinating. As noted yesterday, Ohio Democrats had a competitive Senate primary Tuesday, while Ohio Republicans did not. In fact, contested and competitive races for the GOP were few and far between in the Buckeye State this week.

Yet among the gubernatorial hopefuls, Republican John Kasich had 735,790 votes in his uncontested primary.

Incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland had 620,963 in his.

Kasich and his running mate, Mary Taylor, had more votes than Strickland in 70 out of the state’s 88 counties.

That really shouldn’t be happening under normal circumstances, and suggests a major disparity in enthusiasm between the parties at this moment.

Tags: John Kasich , Ted Strickland

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