From LeBrongate to Coopgate.
Amazing the lengths Democrats go to avoid talking about their record the past four years, eh?
But I digress.
If you've not been paying attention, two days ago, Strickland's LG candidate gave a speech claiming credit for the crappy state of Ohio's cites. In response, Kasich's spokesman stated, "having grown up in a chicken shack on Duck Run, [Strickland] has all but ignored our cities' economies and their workers."
Clearly, the spokesman didn't mean it as an insult to rural Ohioans, but I can see how it could be read that way, and that's why it was an incredibly poor choice of words.
Appropriately, the Kasich spokesman apologized and explained himself. Then Kasich came out and said he disapproved of the comment.
Ohhh but that didn't stop the Strickland campaign from slobbering all over themselves to play yet another round of class warfare.
To be completely honest, with a statement like that from the Kasich campaign, I honestly can't blame them.
Think about it.
If you had been rapidly losing support amongst what should be your geographical base, you'd abuse whatever rhetorical advantage you could get to win their votes back, too.
And he has lost support. Just look at the data.
1. Party Switchers
Despite a high profile Democratic Senate primary and no major contested GOP primaries in the region, 15 Southern and Southeastern Ohio counties saw a net gain of 2,845 Party switchers in the May primary. Of those 15, none saw any net gains for Democrats. And this was in Governor Strickland's geographic base. With those incentives for Democrats to come to the polls, there is no rational reason for net GOP gains in Party switchers other than Democrats losing support.
2. Primary Results
In the May primary, Kasich took more votes than Strickland in 10 of the 14 counties that Strickland represented from 1992-1994 and from 1995-2002, and in six of the 12 counties that Ted Strickland represented from 2002-2006. Remember, Kasich name recognition was amazingly low in SE Ohio in the May primary. With the Dem Senate primary incentive, Strickland still showed major weakness among his geographic base.
3. Low-dollar contributors
One of the best ways to gauge support among the grassroots is to take a look at how many low-dollar contributions you earn. A rough review of the campaign finance data from Southeast and Southern Ohio since Kasich entered the race shows Ted earned a grand total of only 308 contributions of $25 or less. As if you couldn't figure it out yourself, only 308 in over a year in your geographical base is frighteningly low. If his base wanted him, they'd at least throw $10 bucks his way, right?
4. The Polls
In the latest Ohio Poll, Strickland's job approval sits at an even 50% in the SE region, tied with Central Ohio for the lowest rating of all regions. It's even worse on the economy, with Strickland getting only 46% approval, 2nd worst only to the Central Ohio region. Remember, SE Ohio is supposed to be his geographic base. This is where he should perform strongest, and he's very clearly not getting the job done.
All this data spells out one very clear fact: Ted Strickland is losing his geographic base.
And what's his strategy to win them back? Attacking the spokesman for his opponent about a comment regarding chicken coops that the aforementioned spokesman had already apologized for and explained.
What's he up against? An entire of region of people averaging upwards of 12% unemployment.
You tell me what matters more to Southeastern Ohio.
UPDATE: Let's make this post a bit more timely. Here's Strickland's reaction to the Kasich comment, told in World Cup Soccer form...