Friday, January 29, 2010

Breaking it down: The 1/31 Gubernatorial Fundraising Numbers

If there is one takeaway from the newly released fundraising numbers in the Ohio gubernatorial race, it is this: In the last six months of 2009, John Kasich raised $1.75 million more than Ted Strickland. If Kasich and Strickland show similar results over the next six months, both campaigns will have virtually identical cash-on-hand numbers.

In other words, Kasich has ripped fundraising momentum from Strickland's grasp.

I’ll say it once. And just once.

I told you so.

First, from one of my first posts on the Ohio Guv race almost one year ago:
…much of the fundraising battle is about establishing commitments from your big money donors and organizing a finance committee dedicated to helping to raise dollars. Recharge Ohio undoubtedly has prepared this network and will be ready to fully utilize its capabilities immediately upon announcing.
After the first report was released in July:
It's simply intellectually dishonest to consider Strickland as being a more successful fundraiser when you take into account that he raised a full $100,000 less per month than Kasich, despite his 40 trips outside of Ohio for fundraisers.
But ultimately, I said these four factors would improve Kasich’s fundraising from his initial report and damage Ted Strickland’s ability to raise money.
  1. In June, poll numbers still had Strickland with a massive lead. It wasn't until July 3rd, after the finance deadline, that the Quinnipiac poll came out showing Kasich quicky closing the gap to within the margin of error. Needless to say, it's much easier to raise money when people think you have a serious shot to win.
  2. Since the deadline we've seen a consistent theme in the MSM of targeting Ohio as the state to watch and the one the GOP must win in 2010 election. This means more of a focus and an increased effort at the national level to make sure Republicans are competitive. And that means money.
  3. Fundraisers. Kasich is actually going to have some.
  4. Finally, the high quality of very electable statewide GOP candidates makes it much more difficult for the Ohio Democratic Party to spend the kind of money they want to on Strickland. In order to maintain the apportionment board they'll need to focus elsewhere.
But enough with the I Told You So’s.

Let’s get to the dirty details.

Late this afternoon, on a Friday(i.e., when campaigns release information they want to have minimally covered by the press), Governor Strickland’s re-election campaign released their fundraising totals for the last six months of 2009 and due before the January 31st deadline.

If you’ll recall from my fundraising prediction post in early January, this was my bet:
So what about Jello Ted? Despite his plummeting numbers, you have to assume an incumbent governor is going to improve his numbers. I'm going to guess conservative and bet Strickland improves his fundraising by 20%, coming in at $3 million raised.
The reality?

Total Raised: $2.8 million
Total Cash-on-hand: $6.17 million

If you’ll recall what I said back in July, the easiest way to gauge fundraising ability is how much each candidate pulled in per month.

At the last reporting period, Strickland was raising $416,000 per month.

And now? Strickland is up to a mere $466,000 a month. An improvement of only 12%.

For comparison, Kasich raised $467,000 last June, his first full month in the race. In other words, Kasich was raising more per month in his first month in the race than Strickland has averaged the entire 2nd half of 2009.

And now, Kasich is up to a whopping $758,333 a month. An improvement of 62%.

What else is 62%?

That’s how much more John Kasich raised than Ted Strickland in the last 6 months of the race.

Now, if there is any “bad news” in this race, it’s that Strickland still has a $2.1 million cash-on-hand advantage.

However, if Kasich continues to outraise Strickland at a rate of nearly 3:2, at the end of the day Strickland may be the low man on the fundraising totem poll.

That’s almost too amazing to even consider happening. An incumbent Governor has every advantage in the world. A challenger coming in and absolutely obliterating an incumbent over the course six months nearly a year out from the election simply should not happen.

And yet, it did.

A few more random thoughts:
  • This is the second major campaign announcement since Lis Smith came on as Strickland’s communications director. It’s also the second campaign announcement that Smith has used the news cycle to bury; the first being the re-election event/LG announcement. It says a lot that the first two major news stories of the Strickland campaign need to be strategically hidden from major media coverage.
  • It’s common knowledge that the Ohio Democratic Party has essentially been carrying a large chunk of Strickland’s campaign expenses, thereby enabling his campaign to inflate their cash-on-hand number. Meanwhile, the Kasich campaign has been using their own funds to pay for campaign operations. How much longer can the ODP float their incumbent Governor?
  • There isn't a more significant datapoint that signifies how a race is trending than fundraising. If contributors are giving, they think you're going to win. If they aren't giving as much, things aren't looking that good. The budget fiasco and polling numbers have severely damaged the Governor's ability to fundraise. Meanwhile, Kasich has received glowing coverage and has become a symbol of the 2010 Republican Revolution.
Ultimately, this is a very good day for the Kasich campaign.

More reactions to come as other numbers arrive…


George Will nails it:
Obama's leitmotif is: Washington is disappointing, Washington is annoying, Washington is dysfunctional, Washington is corrupt, verily Washington is toxic -- yet Washington should conscript a substantially larger share of GDP, and Washington should exercise vast new controls over health care, energy, K-12 education, etc.
h/t: AT

Karma's a b****.

Earlier this month, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern was trying to have a little fun on Twitter mocking the reshuffling of Republicans in the Ohio Auditor's race. This is one of several tweets:

Well, with that in mind, this news appeared in the Columbus Dispatch this morning:

A bit more than nine months before the November election, Ohio Democrats appear ready to make a change in their candidate for secretary of state.

State Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern said yesterday that the party will have an announcement next week regarding its candidate. State Rep. Jennifer Garrison of Marietta has been running for the seat since August.

But sources said that Garrison has drawn strong opposition from the party's progressive base for her conservative stands on social issues and that leaders, including Gov. Ted Strickland, are prepared to embrace Franklin County Clerk of Courts Maryellen O'Shaughnessy for secretary of state.

Now these rumors have been going around for weeks, but seeing them in the MSM makes this a lot more real for Redfern.

So now rather than having to find a new candidate because the incumbent advanced up a level as a LG candidate, Redfern has to deal with a giant mess he and Ted Strickland created when they handpicked a candidate that virtually no one in their base likes.

And for an apportionment board seat, at that.

That is something to be embarrassed about.

How's that crow, Chairman?

Sound familiar?

h/t: Tim

Breaking it Down: The 1/24 Ohio News Poll

I’m a few days late in reviewing the Ohio News Poll that was first released in the Dayton Daily News last weekend, but I wanted to wait until I could take a closer look at the demographic crosstabs that were released later this past week.

As we all know, Kasich has a six point lead in the poll, but as we like to do here on 3BP, it’s important to look deeper into the numbers.

The first question asked in the poll is actually just as important as asking for whom people will vote.

It gauges voter enthusiasm. In other words, how likely are Ohioans to actually go vote on 11.2.10?

20% of Democrats and Indies said they were “extremely interested” in voting.

Republicans came in at almost double that, at 37%.

If that margin stays put, Kasich wins. Hands down.

Breaking it down even further, answers from the age groups are particularly interesting. 6% of 18-29 year olds are “extremely interested, 30-45 are at 22%, and 46-54 and 65 and over are at 31% and 32%, respectively.

Now compare that answer with who those subgroups prefer for Governor,

Among 18-29s, Strickland is up 16, but among the other age groups, Kasich is up by 9 on average.

In other words, the only age group that prefers Strickland is the least likely to go vote in November, by far.

Strickland wins African-Americans with by a whopping 88 point margin, which makes you wonder why the Governor is the first to point out his LG’s ethnicity when asked about her ability to serve. After all, he has that vote wrapped up.

Geographical breakdown is about what you’d expect, except in NW Ohio where Kasich is up 53-41. In the most recent Quinnipiac poll late last year, Strickland was up in the same region 47-23.

Economic issues dominated the ‘most important issue’ category, with Economy, Balanced Budget, and Taxes taking the top three spots among 66% of all voters. Considering the state of the economy, that’s not exactly good news for the Governor.

Now pair this with how voters react in judging their approval of the Governor on the whole, and judging his handling of the economy. Disapproval among Democrats jumped 9 points, among Independents it jumped 12, and 9 among Republicans.

As Ohio AG Cordray said yesterday, it’s important to judge a candidate on their record of accomplishment. Now, we all can imagine how bad the answers are for Strickland when the question is asked of whether people are better or worse off than they were four years ago. In fact, only 9% of responders said they were better off.

But the question that drew my interest even more was gauging the voters’ optimism about whether they will be better off a year from now. If, in fact, voters believed Ted Strickland could live up to his promise of Turning Around Ohio, then these numbers should look pretty decent.

Not so much.

Only 19% of Ohioans think they will be better off. Most voters feel they will be worse off or just the same. Considering only 9% said they were better off than they were four years ago, that’s bad news for the incumbent.

The feeling of pessimism is confirmed with only ¼ of Ohioans believing economic conditions are getting better in their state overall.

An interesting question to wrap up the poll asked “who do you blame” for the economic mess. In an answer that is sure to encourage Democrats to continue their attempts to convince Ohioans that Kasich = Wall Street, “Wall Street and Financial Institutions” came in at 23%. But as I’ve reiterated before, it’s one heck of a leap in logic for voters to buy that Kasich was responsible in any way, shape, or form for the financial disaster. Additionally, it will be expensive to spend the kind of money necessary to force that identity onto Kasich, especially when you consider the media’s refusal to buy-in to the Dem efforts.

In the same question, Strickland only comes in at 3%. So, despite so few blaming Strickland for their personal financial troubles, Ohio voters still prefer John Kasich.

I wonder what happens when that 3% creeps up to even just 10% with a few dollars spent on commercials informing voters of how the Governor sat back and did nothing in the face of the crisis.

That 6% lead has room to grow. And it will.

Cordray campaigns for Kasich

Covering a press conference yesterday, Marc Kovac of Dix Newspapers posted this quote from Democrat and Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray:

I think Kovac had to leave out, "This message paid for by Kasich for Ohio" thanks to Twitter's limit of 140 characters.

PREVIEW: 3-C Proposed Trains Released

High Speed choo-choo!

Aye yi yi.

The President's speech in Elyria last week provides a little entertainment this week.

'Nuff said.

3BP's proposal for Green Public Transportation? The Zipcord!

With yesterday's announcement that Ohio will be spending $400 million to create a commuter rail system that no one will ride, you just knew it wouldn't be too long before we heard this:
Transportation officials say they'll look for various ways to pay for a new passenger train system without increasing the tax burden for Ohioans.
Ah, so you didn't think of how to pay for it before applying for the grant? Awesome. That's the kind of foresight I expect to see from government. I guess the only question left is this, how high will taxes go up?


But I have an alternative.

Let's dump this $400 million into something far more efficient, environmentally friendly, and most importantly, far more fun.

The 3-C City-Wide Zipcord Network!

Think of it.

Rather than unloading tons of taxpayer cash into something no one will ever use on a consistent basis, let's make public transportation in our cities much more FUN!

If you have three levels of towers, you can then have large backbone towers that go to smaller distriution towers, that then go to edge towers. Towers could serve multiple purposes of course; centers for public gathering, food courts, shops, and think of the revenue for advertising space.

Travelers, or "Zippers", could be hoisted using energy gathered from wind turbines and solar panels. As for landing, we could create even more jobs by hiring people to engage the Zippers and bring them in for a safe landing - we could call them "Zipper Gropers".

A friend of mine, BCS, put together quite the graphic representation:

There ya have it.

Let's make Ohio the Zipper Groper capital of the world!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Kasich/Taylor 88 County House Party: 7 pm tonight

Tonight, the Kasich/Taylor team takes their message straight to the living rooms of the voters.

If you aren't attending one of the 125 House Parties being hosted for the event, you can still watch live by clicking here at 7pm.

It looks like John and Mary will be taking questions/comments, so feel free to ask via Twitter or by visiting here.

I think we're gonna need a bigger wallet.

At this rate, you are bound to see Gov. Ted Strickland in 30-second TV spots next year far more than you'll see his Republican rival, John Kasich.
That's how Joe Hallett of the Columbus Dispatch started his August 1, 2009 article about the first fundraising numbers reported in the 2010 gubernatorial race.

The day before, I had this to say about how to analyze the numbers reported earlier that day.
Now, it's easy to simply look at the total number and say this or that campaign did better. But that doesn't take into account a number of factors. For example, when did the candidate enter the race and did they transfer any funds from other campaign accounts?
My point was this - it's simply poor analysis to simply look at total raised to judge the quality of fundraising or the state of the race, particularly when two candidates have been fundraising for two completely different periods of time.

In Kasich's case, he filed his paperwork a few days before his June 1st announcement event. That meant over the course of a little over the month, Kasich raised about $467,000 in his first full month of campaigning, and about $526,000 total. Meanwhile, over the course of the full reporting period Strickland raised at a rate of $416,666 per month. In other words, when you look at quality of fundraising, Kasich outperformed Strickland.

Well, the totals reported yesterday have validated my earlier analysis.

Overall, Kasich has raised over $5 million dollars in the 7 months he's been in the race.

In the past 6 months, he's raised $4.48 million.

If you'll recall, my bet earlier this month was Kasich would improve his per month totals by a full 33%, and hit $625k per month for a total of $3.75M raised.

Apparently, I wasn't optimistic enough. Kasich raised an average of $747k a month - an increase of 60% over his one month total in June.

I know, I know - you were told there would be no math.

Now, for comparison, how much did Ted Strickland raise at this point 4 years ago?

His January 2006 report for the 2nd half of 2005 showed Ted having raised $1.95 million dollars, or $325k a month - less than half of what Kasich is raising at the same point 4 years later.

In other words, Kasich is doing a damn fine job raising cash. No, he won't be even close to being even with Strickland's total cash-on-hand, but this far out from actually having to spend the cash, and against an incumbent, that's expected.

Cash-on-hand matters when the ad wars begin. Until then, and as long as Kasich can continue to close the gap, our Republican nominee will be competitive on the airwaves.

Finally, one statistic particularly caught my attention.

3,457, or 29% of all contributions to Kasich, were made online. Once again, the Kasich campaign is winning the internet.

Strickland's numbers will be out on Friday. Look for more analysis then.

Obamacare is Dead, part 27

I know, I know.

It seems all kinds of conservative blogs have been posting about the death of Obamacare. And doing so repeatedly.

But I can't help it. When something is this stupendously awful and has an overwhelming Democrat majority - and it fails? Well, I have to rejoice.

The latest bit of evidence? This poll question from CNN(!):

Nearly 70% of Americans want Congress to stop working on the bill the Democrats have been focusing all their energy upon since July.

Also, as a reminder, Ted Strickland is in the minority. Ha.

When Haley Barbour talks campaign strategy, you listen.

Yesterday, RGA Chairman, Mississippi Governor, and architect of the '94 GOP revolution had this to say about the November election:
"...the environment today is better for Republicans in January of 2010 than it was in January of 1994,” he added. “The important thing I told them was that while today the environment is better than it was in ’94, the elections aren’t for 10 months. Lots can change, and they need to be thinking that nothing is carved in stone.”
He's right. It's easy to get overconfident.

Additionally, the numbers that have looked so good the past couple months are bound to tighten. And when they tighten, the media will likely cover it as a rebound for Democrats. And when the public buys into a Democrat rebound, well then anything can happen.

The lesson? Keep fighting the good fight. And don't relent.

Another mess for Kasich to clean up.

Before the State of the Union speech began last night, and much to my chagrin, we learned that Ohio will in fact be awarded $400 million in stimulus dollars to begin construction of the 3-C Rail Corridor.

This rail system, once built, will shuttle Ohioans by the tens of tens from Cleveland to Columbus, from Columbus to Dayton, and Dayton to Cincy.... 6.2 hours...
...and averaging 39mph.

Additionally, Ohioans are against the plan by a margin of 11 points according to this past weekend's Ohio News Poll.

In other words, there is no overwhelming demand for it. If there is no overwhelming demand for it, any Econ 101 student can tell you there is no foreseeable way this new project can be anything less than a total failure - costing Ohio taxpayers countless millions of dollars far into the future.

Clearly, Ted Strickland believes he can use this project to his benefit in this year's election. But with the majority of Ohioans already shown to be against it, it's far from an easy sell.

Ohioans recognize that just because Strickland is happy to use $400 million in federal dollars, that it's still their money.

And Strickland may regret begging for this choo-choo.

Stay classy, Ted.

We had already figured Ted Strickland would need to go drastically negative to stand a chance in this race.

But we didn't think he'd be this transparent about it.

Sandy Theis, a former Columbus bureau chief for the Plain Dealer, joined the campaign Dec. 1 and will be "focusing mainly on communications," she said.

Since leaving the Plain Dealer in 2006, Theis has been a communications consultant involved in a number of the state's biggest and nastiest fights: utility regulation, casino gambling and the Democratic battle for the U.S. Senate. Theis is a communications consultant for Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner senate campaign. Brunner, of course, faces Strickland's former running mate and Ohio Lt. Governor Lee Fisher.

Now, Theis' reputation is nothing many didn't already know about, but I talked to a longtime veteran of Ohio politics to get more of a scoop on the new Strickland crony.

As anyone who's been around the Statehouse for more than a few years knows, she was the queen of hatchet journalism, gotcha stories, and half-baked attacks--and she prided herself on it. She was not popular with her fellow members of the Statehouse press corps, nor her PD colleagues, and she frequently clashed with PD editor Doug Clifton. She's the perfect person to dig up dirt for Ted.

Clearly, her hire is an indication of just how negative Strickland plans on getting in this campaign. He's resorted to hiring a flak whose specialty is negative attacks and digging up dirt.

But what's particularly astounding is it's also an indication of Strickland's desperation that he hired her...wait for it...despite the fact that she already is working against his sitting Lieutenant Governor!

Makes you wonder how Fisher feels about that.


This evening there are post-mortems galore.

Fortunately, Michael Gerson of the Washington Post has a far more articulate reaction than anything I could write:

After a series of political humiliations, Obama called on Republicans to change their course. Facing a general revolt against Washington, he proudly took credit for posting the names of White House visitors online. Promising to change the tone in Washington, he managed to be petty, backward looking, defiant and self-justifying.

Barack Obama has lost his promise. He has lost his momentum. He has lost his touch. He has lost his filibuster-proof Senate majority. He has lost his first year in office.

Tonight, he lost his grip on reality.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"No Choo-Choo for you!"

At least, that's what I hope I'll be able to say to Governor Strickland by this time tomorrow.

Or maybe we'll even find out tonight if the President announces the winners of the Stimulus High-Speed Rail dollars.....or as I like to call it, A Total and Complete Waste of Taxpayer Dollars.

I've been railing on this plan since last April. I hit the Governor for begging for the plan last June. And I hit it again and again and again and again.

Fortunately, I'm not the only one against the 3-C Rail Boondoggle.

It just so happens that, according to the Ohio News poll released this past weekend, Ohioans agree with me by a margin of 11 points.

So, will Ohioan get stuck with a rail system that they neither need nor want? Well, that's up to whether President Obama wants to try to give Governor Strickland some help by awarding the grant. It's a political and fiscal loser, but I don't think the Democrats realize that just yet.

And I hope we don't have to find out.

BREAKING: Kasich's campaign reports over $5 million raised for Guv race

Just received this heads up from Team Kasich:

“Ohioans are coming out very strong for John and Mary. The campaign's fundraising is going exceptionally well because Ohioans know that we must have new, better leadership, and that with John and Mary we'll deliver it--to create jobs, to transform state government, and to bring prosperity back to Ohio.

“What's also remarkable is that a challenger's campaign like ours, running against an entrenched, supposedly shoo-in incumbent, is seeing such a robust level of financial support so early in the race. This level of strong momentum, this early in the race, speaks volumes about just how fed up Ohioans are with Ted Strickland's mismanagement of Ohio's finances and his tax increase, about how frustrated people are, and about how hungry they are for new leadership. It's very encouraging to see Ohioans' enthusiastic support and I know John and Mary are very appreciative of the confidence Ohioans are showing in them." - Beth Hansen, Campaign Manager, Kasich for Ohio


    • $5,071,901.55 raised
    • $4,680,644.12 from individuals
    • 11,754 total contributions from 9,838 individual contributors
    • More than $300,000 raised online from 3,457 contributions –29% of all contributions were made online
    • 9,321 donations of $100 or less
    • $4,289,434.43 from 10,920 Ohio contributors
More on this later...

But my initial reaction?


Anti-Incumbent or Anti-Democrat?

I first touched on the debate of whether or not 2010 is more likely to be anti-incumbent or anti-Democrat back in November. Then I argued that all signs were pointing towards the election being much more difficult on Democrats than incumbents in general.

I contest that it's less about a national sense of anti-incumbency, and instead a simple growing rejection of left wing policy.

What have been the major policy issues over the past ten months?

A massive, pork-laden stimulus bill, a national job crisis, and Obamacare.

These are two liberal-led policy initiatives and a job crisis firmly in the hands of the Party in power.
Then on the night of the Massachusetts Miracle I got into a very interesting debate on Twitter with Jim Heath of ONN where he pushed the meme that these elections are all about being anti-incumbent. We seemed to agree to disagree....but now I have Stu Rothenberg on my side.

Rothenberg argues that some of the most difficult races will be in Republican primaries, not general elections.
But if those incumbents (and establishment-backed nonincumbents) get past their primaries, they will then benefit from the public mood, which currently looks likely to punish Democrats at the ballot box.

A rash of recent polling, much of it paid for by liberal Web sites Daily Kos and Firedoglake, show Democratic incumbents in horrible shape — about where Republicans were in 2006 and 2008.


Even if only most of these results are close to being accurate, they suggest that other Democratic House incumbents are seeing significant erosion in their numbers from what those same numbers were even a year ago.

Over in the Senate, Democratic numbers are equally terrible.


...when the general election rolls around, unless there is a significant change in the national mood, voter dissatisfaction will be aimed overwhelmingly at the candidates of one party. And that is why Democratic insiders are privately raising their own estimates of party losses.
Sounds about right to me.

Consider the Associated Press Underwhelmed...

It's always interesting to read the post-mortems on speeches like the one Ted Strickland gave yesterday.

My favorite came from MSM standard bearer, the Associated Press:
The state’s dire economic situation was the focus of the State of the State address today, as Gov. Ted Strickland proposed modest initiatives and a number of new committees aimed at pulling Ohio out of the recession.

New spending programs are typically a hallmark of a governor’s annual address to lawmakers. The best Strickland could do was a $40 million investment in green energy technologies funded largely with federal dollars.

I don't think they're that impressed, Ted.

Urgent must not mean what I think it means.

Since last Summer we've been hearing how urgent it was that Obamacare be passed.

We heard it from the President, House and Senate Dems, liberal activists - everyone.

Well, apparently they changed their minds.
With no clear path forward on major health care legislation, Democratic leaders in Congress effectively slammed the brakes on President Obama’s top domestic priority on Tuesday, saying they no longer felt pressure to move quickly on a health bill after eight months of setting deadlines and missing them.

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, deflected questions about health care. “We’re not on health care now,” Mr. Reid said. “We’ve talked a lot about it in the past.”

Ding dong the witch is dead.

About that political environment.

Things keep getting better and better.

Most recently, the trend continued in Rasmussen's latest poll testing the generic congressional ballot - ending the month where we started it with Republicans up 9. This means these results aren't a simple outlier - that massive gap is real.

Of course, we know Rasmussen is awful at this. After all, he was the first one to suggest Scott Brown actually had a chance in Massachusetts. Ha.

But the big news came from the Triumverate of polling analysts - Charlie Cook, Stu Rothenberg, and Nate Silver.

First off, liberal statistician Nate Silver:
[I] think others are too conservative on projecting GOP gains. We don’t have a House model yet, but GOP seems as likely as not to take House.
50/50? From Silver? I'll take it.

Next up, Charlie Cook:
If this level remains constant, you can count on the Democratic majority in the House being toast this fall.
Finally, Stu Rothenberg:
In addition, we can no longer dismiss the possibility of a Republican wave so large that Democrats could lose their House majority.
It's hard to find three more respected people in the political forecasting business than those three.

And I'm liking what I'm hearing.

Ohio, we're in quite a pickle.

"Because there shouldn’t be any neighborhood in Ohio where the only vegetable for sale is the pickle on a fast food hamburger."

My God. Whoever wrote that majestic prose deserves a bonus immediately.

Hell, even Brandon Fraser loved it.


After an evening to reflect further on the Governor's State of the State address, I'm left wondering - was that it?

He's down 8 points in the polls among likely voters. He's being criticized as a do-nothing Governor that has hid under his desk while Ohio goes into a death spiral.

And the best he could come up with was....pickles?

With that said, there were also a couple things I wanted to make sure were clarified.

On wind and solar companies, the Governor said:
We should give those companies every reason to choose Ohio. That’s why I am asking the legislature to erase Ohio’s tangible personal property tax on generation for wind and solar facilities that break ground this year, create Ohio jobs, and begin producing energy by 2012.
While I already went over how ridiculous it is to offer tax incentives to only some businesses, a reader brought something even more amazing to my attention:
As of 2008, the State of Ohio no longer levies personal property tax on the majority of businesses. (if I recall correctly, banking and insurance companies still have to deal with it)

The personal property tax had a 5 year phase out as the gross receipts tax was phased in.

Strickland waiving the personal property tax for wind generators is like Texas waiving its income tax for billionaires to move there. It's already happened.
Sounds like something the media should check up on.

Second, the Governor repeated the same distortion he uttered on 700WLW last week.
Next door in Indiana they are in the process of slashing 300 million dollars in state funds from their primary and secondary schools. In Georgia, school funding was cut by 440 million dollars. And at least twenty other states are inflicting serious cuts on their school systems.

But in Ohio we are not going backward on our schools. Using a combination of state and federal resources, we increased school funding by 5.5 percent in the last budget.
Fun word play you use there, Guv. You blame Indiana for cutting state funding of schools, while ignoring the fact that you cut more than twice that, over $700 million in state funding for FY10/11. Your use of federal stimulus dollars allowed you to kick the can down the road, and will lead to even greater cuts in the future as stimulus funds expire.

Third, the Governor also has put Lee Fisher in charge of another jobs program. After losing 350,000 jobs under his watch as Ohio's jobs czar, I don't think that's the best idea.

Fourth, he brought up Forbes magazine to help defend Ohio's record versus that of Florida. Well Guv, that same magazine ranks Ohio 43rd nationally for economic climate and 48th for economic growth.

Fifth, Strickland bragged about the diversity of his Administration. Governor, most Ohioans don't care if someone is black, white, gay, straight, male, female, and on and on and long as they are qualified to do the job - which is something these folks in your Administration were clearly not.

Finally, after yesterday morning's recommendations for the state of the State is..., I gotta say I'm incredibly disappointed with "unyielding". Though, I will admit it's funny. The use of the word acknowledges the passive acceptance that things are in the crapper.

There's more, but I'm sure you know the rest of the story - no substantive ideas that will truly incentivize businesses of all shapes and sizes to come to Ohio. No solution for the jobs crisis. No hope.

Until 11.2.10.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Right and Wrong Way to Fix Ohio

This post can also be seen on

This afternoon, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland delivered his State of the State speech from the Ohio Senate chamber in Columbus.

With four straight polls showing an average lead of 8 points for his Republican opponent, former Congressman and budget Chairman John Kasich, Strickland needed to take this opportunity to hit Ohio’s jobs crisis head-on.

Instead what did Ohio’s voters get? A speech full of excuses and calls for bigger government.

Governor Strickland likes to say the recession Ohio faces isn’t his fault. Well, Governor, no one said it was. The problem instead lies in how your policies enhanced job loss and how your ‘kick the can down the road’ approach to reforming state government dug Ohio deeper into long-term fiscal ruin.

But don’t take my word for it, here’s John Kasich responding this afternoon to the Governor’s speech.

When the guy known as the architect of the first balanced federal budget since man walked on the moon speaks on how to fix what ails government, you listen.

Kasich’s right, "we need a real balanced budget. A more effective, more efficient government that doesn't cater to special interests. Lower taxes to create jobs, especially for small businesses. Better trained workers. Fewer lawsuits and fixing workers compensation for our small businesses."

Additionally, one aspect of Strickland’s speech particularly caught my eye.

The Columbus Dispatch noted the Governor’s priority of making “green jobs” the central focus of economic recovery.

We are not just sitting back and letting other states pass us by," Strickland said, adding later that, "Our renewal lies before us, not behind us."

The governor said Ohio already has a good start, pointing to a survey by the Council of State Governments that he said shows Ohio ranks 1st among all 50 states in the creation of "green" jobs last year.

So, Governor Strickland believes the CSG report validates his focus on green jobs as a way out of the jobs crisis, using Ohio’s record in producing green jobs as evidence of success.

But a closer look at the CSG report reveals some interesting information.

The report in question, released this past December, highlights the number of “green” jobs produced by President Obama’s stimulus. In fact, Ohio does lead the nation – with only 2,567 jobs.

Of those, 2,296 jobs come from a single grant – the Weatherization Assistance Program. The cost of this grant to taxpayers is $267 million. To be generous, let’s say half of those dollars go to pay for materials. That leaves us with jobs that cost each and every one of us $58,144 each.

Taking into account the number of unemployed Ohioans has increased by 339,900 since the Governor’s inauguration – and under what Strickland defines as a program to be emulated at $58k a job – it would cost taxpayers over $19.7 billion to pay for the jobs lost under Ted Strickland’s watch.


Finally, one passage of the Governor’s speech was particularly frustrating. Speaking of wind and solar energy companies, he said:

We should give those companies every reason to choose Ohio. That's why I am asking the legislature to erase Ohio's tangible personal property tax on generation for wind and solar facilities that break ground this year, create Ohio jobs, and begin producing energy by 2012.

See? Strickland does get it. Almost. Lower taxes attract business. But why must Strickland limit these incentives to only wind and solar businesses? Strickland says he “believes in Ohio”. If that’s the case Governor, incentivize all business to invest in all of Ohio.

With a Business Tax Climate ranking Ohio 4th worst in the nation, businesses are running for greener pastures. The Buckeye State needs a Governor willing to remove the barriers that prevent Ohio from prospering. Ohio needs John Kasich.

UPDATE: The ORP is up with a great video factchecking the Governor's State of the State Address...

Gauging Social Media Enthusiasm

It's hard to oversell the importance of social media in modern politics. Cutting out the middle man and interacting directly with the voters is a new mainstay in campaigns.

So, of the two candidates for Ohio Governor, who is inspiring more enthusiasm?

It's simple to determine, really.

Who has more twitter followers, and how fast are they increasing?

And who has more fans on facebook?

We'll start with Twitter. This graph represents growth in followers of John Kasich and Ted Strickland over the past month.

To be fair, Ted Strickland joined Twitter far after John Kasich. That's why, as of last night, Ted had only 2,807 followers to Kasich's 9,772. But it's the rate of increased followers on Twitter just over the past month that is staggering. In the past 30 days, Strickland has gained only 241 followers. Kasich? 1,075.

What about Facebook? "Fan pages" are popular for politicians. Kasich has 12,457. Strickland, whose facebook page has been around far longer, has 8,168.

These dominating totals say just as much about enthusiasm for Kasich's campaign as it does for the quality of Kasich's social media efforts. The better the social media outreach, the more committed your network of grassroots support becomes, the better your fundraising, and the easier it is to directly communicate your message to the masses.

And Kasich is winning.

Reactions to the SOTS.

If you're interested in 3BP's reactions to the SOTS, check the twitter feed by clicking here.

That is, after you've woken up from whatever coma you were in after watching it.

Governor, your timing is impeccable.

Ted Strickland is about to start his speech. Word is he'll focus on how government can provide energy jobs in Ohio.

Well, it seems the federal government tried that, too.

Today's headline in the USA Today showed the result.

Nice timing, Guv.

Portman drops the hammer.

Yesterday morning I tweeted the following:

Well, a few hours later the Portman campaign decided to put the Fisher campaign out of their misery.

In a press release out yesterday afternoon, the campaign announced that in the fourth quarter of 2009 Rob Portman raised an amazing $1.4 million dollars - nearly 470k a month. That gives them over $6 million on hand heading into 2010.

Meanwhile, Fisher raised a shabby $780k during the same amount of time. While he hasn't released his cash-on-hand number yet, it's safe to say it's downwards of $1.9M - and with Brunner officially filing for the primary, it's safe to say all of that $1.9M will be gone by May.

Even more bad news for the Fisher came today when an article in the Politico debunked their sole point of attack against Portman - the "OMGZ HE WORKED FOR BUSH!!11!!!!111!!!" strategy.
“Voters are pretty tired of the blame game,” said longtime Democratic strategist Steve Hildebrand, a top aide on Obama’s presidential campaign. “What a stupid strategy that was.”

Howard Wolfson, a senior official on Hillary Clinton’s campaign and veteran Democratic communications guru, noted that his party was able to run against Republican Herbert Hoover’s Depression-era presidency for 30 years.

“That doesn’t seem to be the case here,” he said.

Another well-respected Democratic consultant put it simply: “Need a new game plan!”


...there seems to be consensus now in the Democratic consulting community that candidates can’t simply insert grainy footage of the former president into a commercial or say their rivals will “support Bush policies” and hope voters will respond.
Well, so much for that.

Of course, it's nothing that I haven't talked about before, but that's what Dems get for not listening to me.


The state of the State is...

Last night on Twitter some folks had a little fun guessing what Governor Strickland will say after, "the state of the State is..." in his speech this afternoon.

Here are some of the highlights:
  • The state of our State is... LOOK, A SQUIRREL!!
  • The state of our State is...did I mention this wasn't my fault? Seriously, guys.
  • The state of the State is...czzt...chhk...chhhk...mic..chhk...broken...
  • The state of the State is... OMG did you guys see Jack Bauer take out that terrorist last week w/ the ax?
  • The state of the State is...:throws up:...:starts crying:
  • The state of the State is....CHERRY JELLO PARTYYYYY!!!
  • The state of our State is.........................*chirp, chirp, chirp*
  • The state of the State is... what do I care, I'm out of a job in 11 months, just like everyone else.
  • The state of our State is... Pour me a drink, please.
  • The state of the State is... look at all these lights! Anyone like shadow puppets?!
  • The state of our State is...Ter *cough* ri *cough* ble *cough*
  • The state of the State is.... so much better with the SOLID GOLD DANCERS! :cue music:
  • The state of the State is... AWESOME!...:silence:.... ok, you're not buying that, eh?
  • The state of our State is... Hey! Pull my finger...
  • The state of our State is...I just want everyone to know I'm on Team Coco!
  • The state of our State is what? The state is who? The State is whickey whicky Slim Shady!
  • The state of our State is...and now I'd like to announce my candidacy for Ohio Auditor. Thank you.
  • The state of the State is... [this speech is postponed pending federal bailout]
  • The state of our State is... "Mission Accomplished!"
In all seriousness, it's my hope that Governor Strickland offers more than a "campaign speech", as the media has implied. Ohio deserves more than that.

In numbers released yesterday, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels received a 70% approval rating, despite unemployment numbers only 1 point below Ohio's. Meanwhile, Strickland's job approval stands at a measly 43%. Why the massive difference? Because Daniels has refused to give in to calls for tax hikes, he's worked to change how government is run in Indiana, and he's made the difficult decisions necessary to ensure his State is ready to spring out of the gates. All things Strickland has refused to do.

We're watching Governor. After three miserable years, have you finally learned what leadership is about?

This is just getting pathetic.

Yet more evidence of Barack Obama's complete ineptitude is highlighted in the following video produced by a friend in central Ohio.

As many have heard, the President will announce a freeze in discretionary spending at the State o the Union on Wednesday night.

Well, it seems a little over a year ago that the idea was laughable.

As we've said many times before, America doesn't need a President who is learning on the job.

Monday, January 25, 2010

What are Yvette's qualifications, Ted?

Recently, Governor Strickland appeared on 700WLW to talk about a number of topics. First on the list was his new running mate.

I don't remember the host asking, or caring, about what she looks like.

Dave Yost for Auditor

Teachers prove they are smarter than Ted Strickland.

Ted Strickland caught a lot of grief for using massive quantities of federal stimulus dollars to pay for Ohio's education program. Rightly so, many said it will create a massive gap in services when those dollars dry up.

Well, it seems a whole lot of teachers understand how government works a lot better than Ted Strickland.
More than half of Ohio school districts decided against seeking federal stimulus dollars, worried about government mandates and the future of such funding.

Fifty-seven percent of Ohio’s 600-plus public school districts decided not to join the Ohio Department of Education’s application for the government’s “Race to the Top” funding.

The government stimulus packaged included $4.3 billion in competitive education grants for states, who must amend education laws and policies to compete.

Suzanne Larsen, president of the teachers’ union at Middletown schools, which did not seek the money, says teachers were worried about what would happen when the one-time money disappeared.

A little bit of funny.

If you were watching yesterday's AFC and NFC championship games, you probably saw one of the funniest commercials I've seen in a lonnnng time.


Unless you hate clowns.

Other headlines Lis Smith hates to see.

Campaign Press Secretaries hate to see bad headlines. And they know voters like to follow the momentum.

With that in mind, Strickland's press sec probably wasn't too happy with these front pages from the DDN, Toledo Blade, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Youngstown Vindicator, and Cincy Enquirer from yesterday:


Hate to say "we told you so", but....

Last Friday, Jim Geraghty had a great post highlighting the plight of Obama-skeptics:
Look, conservatives spent much of 2007 and 2008 arguing that Obama was a pleasant, charismatic man with few legislative accomplishments, no experience as a manager, few concrete results in any area where he had worked, some naïve beliefs hidden by extraordinary eloquence, and no idea of just how hard the job of the presidency is. He underestimated the intractability of certain problems (Middle East peace), wildly overestimated the effectiveness and efficiency of government programs (stimulus spending), had a bad eye for talent (Biden, Geithner, Richardson, Daschle, Napolitano), often had bad first instincts ("I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother"), seemed to trust those who didn't deserve it (Iran), and had sailed along in the world of politics because up until now, everyone was inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Throughout that time, a large percentage of the American people rejected that argument. "He seems to know what he's doing. His campaign was a well-run ship. Look at that calm temperment. He was editor of Harvard Law Review. He'll be fine, and he'll probably be great," they concluded.

From 2007 to now, the arguments of the Right haven't changed; what has changed is that now the evidence to support the Right's initial perception — collected by watching this president in action — is becoming more and more compelling by the day.

80 down. 316,975 to go.

Demon drop.

That's how the Columbus Dispatch defined Ohio's economic freefall on its front page yesterday.

These are exactly the kinds of articles Governor Strickland hates to see, especially when learning the last four polls of likely Ohio voters have Kasich up an average of 8 full points.

Without question, front pages like that influence voters.

But what has to frustrate voters more are quotes like these from Governor Strickland:
I think dealing with this recession as I have, and we have, I think we've done it responsibly. I think we've done it in a way that really strengthens Ohio when compared to other states, and I think it prepares us for the recovery that will come.
Democrats like to harass Kasich - pleading for "details" about his plan to fix Ohio. And yet here we are with the elected Governor of Ohio speaking in ambiguities about what he's doing to turn around Ohio as he promised. He says he's dealing with the recession. He says we're prepared for the recovery that will come.

Those words say a lot about the Governor.

First, let's focus on his "dealing with this recession".

Take a look at the Governor's own self-defined record of accomplishment, and tell me what you find that "deals with the recession". His list of "accomplishments" are the following: Reforming Education, Health Coverage for Ohio Children, Ohio Jobs Stimulus Bill, Tax Cuts for Senior Homeowners, University System of Ohio, Tuition Affordability, and Advanced Energy.

The Ohio Jobs Stimulus Bill is the only policy designed to "deal with the recession". It was passed a little less than two years ago and the results have been uninspiring, to say the least. The only other piece of policy he's discussed that "deal with the recession" have been his recent efforts to renew Bob Taft's Third Frontier program - a program that brought only 2500 jobs a year to the state.

Nothing. Else.

Strickland also says Ohio is "prepared for the recovery that will come".

This one statement says so much about why Strickland is behind in the polls. He's not a leader. Rather than proactively working to create an environment that will enhance Ohio's ability to attract business, Strickland is simply sitting back and waiting for "the recovery that will come."

But that doesn't stop the Governor's staff from using the Dispatch article to brag about DuPont indicating they will create 80 new jobs at their plant. That's great, Governor. 80 jobs.

But Ohio needs about 4,000 more "DuPonts" to make up for the 317,055 more unemployed Ohioans since Strickland became Governor. And that doesn't even count the other 66,000 that have left the workforce completely.

That is a disaster.

And Strickland has simply sat back and hope it all goes away.

Next time Strickland claims he's "dealing with this recession", I hope a reporter asks for more than simple ambiguities and platitudes. As the elected leader of the state, it's his responsibility to help foster an environment that works to solve this crisis - not simply hiding under his desk until the clouds clear.

The Dave Yost Timeline.

Over the past few days I've seen and heard about some conservatives upset with Dave Yost switching from the AG race to the auditor's race. They are questioning his principles and saying he is unwilling to stand up to the "establishment".

I say he's smart. And principled.

Yost currently serves as Delaware County Prosecutor. Previously, he served as County Auditor. If Dave felt he could contribute to Ohio's greater good at the state level, he could choose between running for AG or State Auditor. Well, at the time of the decision making process, Mary Taylor was planning on running for Auditor and the AG race was wide open. Logically speaking, running for AG was the obvious decision.

Unfortunately for Yost, when he made his decision to run for AG, he didn't have the benefit of having full knowedge of the effect rumors and ultimately the entry of Mike DeWine into the AG race would have upon his own candidacy.

Well, as we all know, from a fundraising perspective, the effect has been devastating. Mike DeWine was able to use his 30 years of relationship building to dominate fundraising and zero out Yost's ability to raise any significant funds, even among his own supporters.

Now, conservatives like to be mad at Mike DeWine, but his politics aside, you can't blame a guy for wanting to make a comeback.

Now, with his cash-on-hand at virtually zero, Yost faced the same challenge Jennifer Brunner currently faces, but without her name ID. Without cash, he had to go up against someone who has repeatedly won statewide. Yes, he lost last time, but that doesn't lessen his name ID. Some conservatives like to think the perceived backlash against DeWine would be enough to force a Yost victory. Unfortunately, that universe only exists for those wrapped inside the political bubble - where politics is something we obsess over day in and day out. The reality is this - DeWine was going to win. He had far superior name ID and Yost didn't have the money to enhance his own ID or highlight his record versus that of Mike DeWine. Additionally, DeWine did have the money to ensure his victory. In other words, Yost didn't stand a chance.

So in facing this political reality, Yost could either stick it out in a race he was virtually assured of losing, or move over to a now open auditor's race - a race in which his resume is perfectly suited. But this time with major contributors committed to backing him.

Yost's decision isn't about giving in to Chairman DeWine or surrendering his principles. It's smart. Plain and simple.

Yost believes he can help the state of Ohio. He can't do that from ending up 2nd place in the AG race.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Trend is Clear

The new Ohio Poll is out and Kasich breaks the magic threshold of 50, up 51-45 over Governor Strickland.

This is the fourth straight poll showing Kasich up between 6-10 points, showing a clear trend in the state of the race.

Once I get a hold of the demographic crosstabs, I'll take a closer look at what the numbers mean.

The political realities of the Ohio Auditor's race...

As things stand right now, it seems Dave Yost is likely to make the jump into the Ohio Auditor's race. This creates a primary between him and Seth Morgan, and possibly Rob Montgomery.

Like I stated last week, all are strong candidates. But there are two overriding factors that Ohio Republicans must consider when deciding who to support in this race:

1) Who has the best chance to win in November?
2) Which nominee would enable the ORP to focus the least amount of manpower and cash in order to assure victory? (this is important because those resources are best served focusing on the Kasich/Portman races as well as any lower tier House/Senate races in highly competitive districts)

As I stated last week, I believe Dave Yost to be the best option to serve as the Party's nominee.

He's a conservative with a fantastic resume that's perfectly suited for a race like this. While he hasn't had much success in the fundraising department thanks to DeWine's powerhouse presence in the AG race, Yost has been working and developing the relationships necessary where money would flow in quick and fast if he moved over to the Auditor's gig. Additionally, he's the only one of these three that has already developed a statewide network of GOP activists working to promote his candidacy. In other words, switching to the Auditor's race wouldn't need near the start-up time that Morgan and Montgomery would require.

I talked to someone very close to the Dave Yost camp in an attempt to answer a couple important political questions about the race. First, how has the grassroots leadership committed to supporting your AG race reacted to the possible switch? Second, how has the network of contributors responded?

The answers:
Most of the leaders in Yost's organization have understood the difficulty of this situation and pledged to back his decision, no matter what is decided or whether he chooses for whichever race they are promoting. That advice has been pretty evenly split between go and stay. Nobody has abandoned ship.

The contributor base has encouraged Yost to run for Auditor. The ORP has helped in that regard. There is some grousing about money already raised for this race that Taylor took with her... but they're going to help.
Ultimately, the question is whether Seth Morgan sees the writing on the wall or not. While it's understandable that he wants to take advantage of the political climate, it's clear that Yost is the superior candidate. 1) He has served as County Auditor; 2) He will maintain his grassroots organization that he built over the past several months during his run for AG; and 3) With previous relationships already established and ORP backing, Yost will have fundraising superiority.

While Seth has his CPA license, there isn't much else going for him in the primary. And like Yost experienced vs. Mike DeWine, he won't raise the money necessary to make his case. He's young and very talented - and losing a primary right now would only damage his potential as a great member of the Ohio Republican farm team. Your time will come, Seth. It's just not now.

The fact is this - Yost as our nominee for Auditor will enable the ORP to focus more manpower and resources on Kasich, Portman, and other conservatives in competitive legislative districts.

Yost for Ohio Auditor helps elect conservatives.

Newspaper informs us of what we already know.

Substantively, Yvette McGee Brown is a poor pick as Strickland's LG.
...she has never run a big organization like Taylor who has served for two years as Ohio auditor. Brown’s administrative credentials involve her current service as president of The Center for Child and Family Advocacy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

Theoretically, Ohio’s lieutenant governor is supposed to be someone who can step into the state’s top job should the incumbent governor be incapacitated. Taylor has the edge on that count. Her experience and the comparative lack of it in Brown, who’s an unknown beyond Franklin County, means Strickland will have a job persuading Ohio voters that he has chosen the right person for his running mate.

In the current lieutenant governor, Lee Fisher, Strickland had a person who had successfully run the office of Ohio attorney general. There was no doubt Fisher was a person with the experience to easily step into the governor’s office. Not so with former Judge Brown who now joins the Democratic ticket.

Once again, more validation that Kasich's pick was superior to that of Strickland.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Calendars hate Ted Strickland.

First, Governor Strickland chose the same day as the Massachusetts Miracle to kickoff his re-election and was swallowed up in the news.

Then he had to move his State of the State address because the President picked the same day as him.

And now, Ted Strickland has to enjoy the massive publicity that comes with a Presidential visit to Ohio to discuss "job generation" on the same day we learn Ohio's unemployment rate has risen to 10.9%.

In fact, Mark Knoller reported Obama will say, "today, because of the actions we took, the worst of this economic storm has passed." Well, Mr. President, almost 11% of Ohio's workforce disagrees with you.

The reality is this - today's event combined with the release of unemployment numbers isn't the kind of publicity that helps people forget the "Turnaround Ohio" promise. And it doesn't help Ted Strickland get re-elected.

So what does the data say?

Since Strickland took office:
  • Unemployment has increased by 102%.
  • Ohio's labor force has decreased by 65,960.
  • 383,015 fewer Ohioans are employed.
Out of curiousity I checked out what New Jersey's unemployment rate was when Corzine lost his re-election campaign.

9.8%. A full 1.1 points lower than Ohio's current rate. And even in deep blue New Jersey, Corzine couldn't pull out a victory. Makes you wonder what will happen in purple Ohio.

Also, and as we've been doing for the past couple unemployment reports, we're checking to see what Ohio's unemployment rate would look like if things turned around the following month at a rate similar to the fastest continuous job recovery in 30 years in Ohio - +0.3% - and continued as such until the campaigns kicked into high gear in September. That formula would put Ohio at 8.5% unemployment in September. Still 57% higher than when Jello Ted came into office.

Finally, one has to wonder if the Governor will be in attendance this afternoon at the President's event. Would a Toxic Ted appearance further damage the President's reputation in Ohio, or will the President's string of bad luck drop Strickland's job approval numbers even lower?

Ultimately, it's hard to imagine any scenario where today's increased focus on bad news in Ohio helps Governor Strickland.

Thanks, President Obama.

Pawlenty is hurting his own cause.

It's common knowledge that MN Governor Tim Pawlenty has already organized a pretty impressive team of strategists to prepare him for a run for the Presidency in 2012.

I just wish these guys would fix his message.

A couple days ago, Pawlenty appeared on Fox to discuss what the Massachusetts Miracle means for Republicans. Pay special attention to the 1:15 mark.

Pawlenty says:
We have to be more than just opposing, now is a good time to start laying an affirmative and positive vision for the country, starting with health care.
Now is a good time to start? Governor, Republicans have been offering up alternatives. And plenty of them. Regurgitating the Democrat talking point that Republicans are the Party of No only damages the GOP brand.

Sure, it's difficult to get your solutions heard by the media and the public when we're so desperately in the minority, but they are solutions nonetheless.

Want a peek? Take a look at these solutions offered up by the House Republicans.

Pawlenty pushed this talking point a few weeks ago and I gave him the benefit of the doubt. But this is now a pattern. Pick a side, Governor.

Is Ted Strickland getting ready to cheat Ohio campaign finance law?

Yesterday, Ted Strickland's campaign manager sent an e-mail to supporters asking them to contribute to his campaign.

Below is a screencap of the letter:As you can see, Pickrell is asking supporters to contribute to the campaign in order to make sure the Governor makes a "show of strength" in the campaign finance report that will be filed at the end of the month. In order to get these contributions counted, he sets a deadline of Sunday.

Except there is one problem.

Ohio campaign finance law states that only contributions received before December 31st may count for this reporting period. Below is a screencap from the Secretary of State's office highlighting the deadline.

Now, if I recall correctly, there is some flexibility on this deadline, but only until January 15th. I admit, I may be wrong on that, but I think it's safe to say that campaigns are not supposed to be reporting contributions made through this Sunday.

If someone that knows campaign finance law better than I is interested in commenting, please do. But based on the information available, it does seem like the Strickland campaign is very publicly going out of its way to skirt Ohio campaign finance law.

Additionally, another aspect of the Strickland letter gave me a little chuckle. Near the end, Pickrell asks for 50(wow!) contributors by Sunday. 50 contributors. In four days. If Pickrell translated this goal out to a whole month, that would be like asking for 375 contributors over the course of 30 days.

For reference, the Kasich campaign had a fundraising campaign looking for 2,010 online contributors in the month of November.

In other words, it seems Pickrell doesn't have the highest of expectations for his boss' contributors.

Probably a smart idea.

So about this whole Auditor situation...

Yesterday, State Rep. Seth Morgan, a CPA, announced his candidacy for Auditor of State.

Additionally, the Dayton Daily News reported ORP Chairman Kevin DeWine is lobbying former Delaware County Auditor and current Delaware County Prosecutor David Yost to switch from the Ohio Attorney General's race to the Auditor's race.

Finally, as has been the rumor for a few days, Rob Montgomery is also being considered as a candidate.

Messy? Yes. A bad problem to have? No.

All three candidates are qualified and bring certain things to the table that must be considered.

Morgan is a conservative with the same CPA license as Mary Taylor when she ran for the office in 2006. That license helped propel her from the Ohio House to a win over a Democrat in a year that proved very tough on Ohio Republicans. It's fair to say that with a similar resume and a better political environment that Morgan could make the same jump. The problem? Fundraising. Morgan is in his first term as a State Rep and has yet to establish a decent fundraising base. Without question, if he is the candidate the Ohio Republican Party will have to carry a very heavy load in order to ensure he raises the funds necessary to win.

Montgomery has proven to be a reliable vote getter in central Ohio. As County Recorder, he's served admirably and has the resume that could translate well to the race. While I haven't had a chance to look up his fundraising history, I'm told he already has a good chunk of change available to kickstart his campaign and wouldn't need near the heavy lift that Morgan requires from the ORP.

Finally, we have Yost. As anyone who reads this blog knows, I'm quite a fan of his. He's a conservative with a fantastic resume that's perfectly suited for a race like this. While he hasn't had much success in the fundraising department thanks to DeWine's powerhouse presence in the AG race, Yost has been working and developing the relationships necessary where money would flow in quick and fast if he moved over to the Auditor's gig. Additionally, he's the only one of these three that has already developed a statewide network of GOP activists working to promote his candidacy. In other words, switching to the Auditor's race wouldn't need near the start-up time that Morgan and Montgomery would require.

Considering the political environment we're currently in, it's not a surprise to find several Republicans wanting to take advantage of the opportunity.

The problem for the Ohio Republican Party is trying to find its nominee much sooner than later.

Without question, a Republican primary for the Auditor nomination is something all Republicans should want to do without. Pepper is running without opposition. We don't want our nominee to waste all their resources on a primary that doesn't need to happen.

Furthermore, and as much as some may hate to hear this, it's in the best interest of the ORP to have a candidate that they feel would need as little heavy lifting from them as possible. Many don't seem to consider that the ORP isn't simply some organization of king makers. Instead, they are responsible for raising and spending millions upon millions of dollars to get Republicans elected - from John Kasich down to State Rep races. A candidate that is able to run and win their race with as little assistance as possible from the ORP is what's best for the Party as a whole. It enables dollars and manpower to be more evenly spread out, or focused on candidates that need the help, rather than on candidates simply looking to take advantage of a good political climate.

Now, if Yost does switch and Morgan backs out, that means Mike DeWine runs without a primary opponent for the Ohio AG nomination. For those viciously opposed to DeWine I say --- so what? As much as I like Yost, the political reality is that he faces an extremely high hill to climb if he wants to beat Mike DeWine. And like Brunner in her race against Fisher, there is no money to make the case to Ohioans that Yost is the better choice. Would a primary against DeWine be hopeless for Yost, no...but it's damn close.

Also something to take into consideration is a quote from Yost's spokesman in the Dayton Daily News when discussing the possible switch, specifically that Yost is “very seriously considering” the auditor’s race. My translation? Yost is likely interested in the idea, provided he won't have to primary against Morgan. So if he wants it, the last thing Republicans that support him should do is try to sabotage the process.

So what's best for Ohio Republicans? Yost for Auditor. He's the strongest candidate in a field of strong candidates.

Ultimately, Ohio Republicans shouldn't get too worked up about how this process works itself out. Fortunately, about 1% of the electorate, and that's an optimistic number, pays attention to the mess we make when building a good sausage. And unlike previous years, Ohio does have a solid slate of Republican and conservative candidates to choose from.

Finally, and most importantly, we have to remember that above it all, what happens at the top of Ohio's ticket will have a greater effect on the Auditor's race than almost anything that a legitimate candidate for Auditor may do. The GOTV efforts organized by both Kasich and Portman will be essential if Republicans want to swing into office on their coattails. And what helps those GOTV efforts? Money and manpower. The same money and manpower that shouldn't be used up unnecessarily on an Auditor's race.

Look who popped up.

No sooner do I post about Ganley not taking the Senate race seriously, and there he is a few hours later with an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer about how he's promising to push some more money into the race.
Car dealer Tom Ganley's campaign for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate is set to shift into first gear.
Ha ha. Amusing jab from the PD with the "first gear" comment. Portman's been running in high gear for months.

Campaign spokesman Jeff Longstreth said Ganley raised nearly $1.5 million in the fourth quarter and his campaign has nearly $1.3 million ready to spend.

Longstreth said he couldn't yet answer the one interesting question about the figure: How much of the fourth-quarter money comes from Ganley?

"I don't have that number," Longstreth said.

Wait. What?

Maybe Longstreth means he doesn't have that number physically on his person. Because trying to tell us that he has no idea how much Ganley has contributed to his own campaign is hogwash.

The fact is this - Ganley promised months ago to drop at least $7M of his own cash into the race. Even if all $1.5M of the cash he raised in the 4th quarter is his own, that clearly shows Ganley's willingness to only dip his big toe into the political pool.

With Portman likely to show upwards of $6M on hand in his 4Q report, that $1.3M on hand for Ganley looks that much more weak.

Additionally, Ganley’s few attempts engage conservative and grassroots leaders in Ohio have failed. Most recently I heard about Sheriff Rick Jones of Butler County. Jones is well known for his strong opposition to amnesty and any weakening of our immigration laws. And guess what - he recently endorsed Rob Portman, despite the Ganley campaign’s attempts to portray Portman as weak on immigration.

Ganley has also done what he can to woo the Tea Party crowd. I wonder what they would think about his history of supporting government intervention for his own benefit.

Finally, from what I've heard, Ganley has shown absolutely zero ability to build any semblance of a statewide grassroots organization. Portman, however, has more than 130 volunteer chairs and co-chairs throughout Ohio’s 88 counties and more than 9,100 individuals have contributed to Portman’s campaign through the end of 2009, 81% of whom are from Ohio, showing the tremendous support he has from Ohioans who are looking for the conservative solutions and leadership he offers.

I dunno what Ganley's deal is. Maybe he just wants to sell more cars.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I have Governor Envy.

The Indy Star has a fascinating look at what it's like to have a Governor with vision and leadership:
The overriding question before Indiana now is how to respond amid the storm.

House Speaker Pat Bauer argues that the state should spend money to create jobs, in part by tapping into a $500 million trust fund to pay for bridge construction.

Daniels, as he did again Tuesday night, favors a more conservative approach, one that centers on preparing the state to capitalize on growth once the economy eventually rebounds.

Under Bauer, the state would borrow against its future in an attempt to alleviate today's problems. Under Daniels, the prescription is to suffer through some pain today in order to be in a better position to capitalize on opportunities in the years ahead. In short, pay the bills, cut where necessary, don't raid the trust fund and don't raise taxes that will slow economic growth in the future.

That's not exactly the boldest course for a risk-taker. But it is one that offers the best hope for positioning the state to one day sail out of roiled waters at a steady clip.
I want.