Capitol Square is abuzz with speculation about the political marriage. It makes sense on a number of levels. Kasich would benefit from having a woman on the ticket who has political strength in voter-rich northeastern Ohio (Taylor lives in the Akron suburb of Green). As the sitting auditor, Taylor also would have the credibility to press the case for Kasich that Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland has mismanaged the state's economy and budget.Some critics have surmised that because Taylor is such a strong candidate, it shows the weakness of the Kasich campaign; that they need someone as high profile as Mary to shake things up.
Yes, you read that messed up logic right, folks.
Kasich may pick the best possible LG candidate for a number of reasons, but mostly because he's supposed to pick the best possible LG candidate!
Plus, no LG candidate will ever shake up a race. Can the LG help shape the race by providing a high profile surrogate with credentials to back up quality talking points? Absolutely. But shaking up? Not so much.
Now why wouldn't he pick Taylor? As some Republicans I've spoken to agree, it puts into question the Auditor's race, and in turn, the apportionment board.
For those that don't know, the Ohio Apportionment Board is an administrative body which draws the single-member legislative districts for the Ohio General Assembly every ten years following the census. Each of the 33 senate districts is composed of three contiguous of the 99 house of representatives district.
The board has five members; the Governor of Ohio, the Ohio Secretary of State, the Ohio State Auditor, a member selected by the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives and the senate leader of the same party, and a member selected by the house and senate leaders of other party.
A Kasich/Taylor ticket further strengthens a gubernatorial campaign that is up 9 among likely voters per Rasmussen, tied among registered voters(!) in Quinnipiac, and all before Kasich has ran a single comparative ad.
Husted is clearly out in front in the Secretary of State race and vastly outfundraising the opposition.
The House and Senate split.
So, if Kasich & Husted win, no matter what happens to the Auditor's seat, Republicans win the apportionment board. Sure, 4-1 is better than 3-2, but a majority is a majority.
And right now I don't think any serious pol from either side would bet against both Kasich and Husted winning in November.
But, with that being said, if Kasich selects Taylor, a serious candidate must be chosen to run for Auditor. With Pepper only able to raise about 140k a month in his first two months of running, he isn't a threat to spend his way to victory - especially considering the Pepper family funded a little over 1/5 of his slight fundraising haul. So a Republican able to quickly raise money, or self-fund the race, seems essential. That leaves someone like Josh Mandel moving over from the Treasurer's race or DeWine moving over from AG to take over. Either would be ridiculously difficult for Pepper to beat.
If DeWine moves over, the fundraising floodgates open for Yost and he gets his chance to see what he can do against Cordray.
Either way, as long as the Auditor nominee is legit, it's hard to imagine a down-ticket race somehow bucking the GOP trend that is rearing its head in Ohio, and nationally, these days.
Finally, what about Mary's ambitions to run for Senate? Well, if she decides to run against Sherrod, doing so from the LG position will only benefit her. Sure, folks that follow this stuff like you do(you are reading this little blog, right?) understand that the Auditor is far more important a position than LG, but for the average voter it's tough to disagree that Lieutenant Governor sounds stronger than Auditor. Along with the lesser responsibilities, she'd have more time to devote to raising the money she'll need to take on Brown in 2012.
Ultimately, I'm sticking to my bet that Taylor's the pick. Yes, it makes things a little more fun for everyone in this crazy political game to see who would get the Auditor gig, but ultimately, I think it's worth it.