The Campaign Spot

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.


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