In the Republican primary, Buckeye RINO endorses Sandy O’Brien for Ohio Secretary of State.
Sandy O’Brien won a statewide Republican primary in 2006 in the Ohio Treasurer race. She lost in the general election. She was not endorsed by the Ohio Republican Party in 2006, and thus the party barely lifted a finger to help her, even though she was the nominee.
She is not endorsed by the Ohio Republican Party this year, either. If she wins the primary, she can win this November, anyway, even if the ORP doesn’t back its own nominee
For independent voters, they want a less partisan Secretary of State overseeing Ohio elections. Independent voters are really flexing their political clout this year, as evidenced in Massachusetts when Scott Brown was elected. Scott Brown doesn’t pass purity litmus tests that Southern conservatives would measure Republicans by, but independent voters wanted a more independent candidate, and they didn’t see Martha Coakley as that individual. Anointed candidates aren’t guaranteed victories this year.
Sandy O’Brien won’t be hyperpartisan, like ACORN ally Jennifer Brunner. The Democrats had an opportunity to field a more centrist candidate, Jen Garrison, that would likely have been appealing to independent voters, but the left wing of that party torpedoed Garrison in favor of an SoS candidate that would be as hyperpartisan as Brunner has been. Finally, Sandy O’Brien won’t owe the Ohio Republican Party any favors because they haven’t done her any favors, so she is not beholden to cater to their every whim.
She can be independent. Those who attend 9-12 group meetings and Tea Party rallies throughout the state, who tend to be less partisan, can certainly embrace O’Brien.
Cleveland’s Plain Dealer printed an article with a video clip of a Husted primary campaign advertisement, quoted an individual who pointed out the lies contained therein, referenced the ORP’s attempt to co-opt the Tea Party movement for their own gain, and Kevin DeWine’s (they don’t name DeWine, but we know what’s going on, don’t we?) heavy-handed endorsement tactics in contested primary races.
The Husted advertisement attempts to make these points: 1) the image of the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag associates Jon Husted with the Tea Party movement; 2) Jon Husted is a conservative; 3) Jon Husted stood up to liberal ACORN to stop electoral fraud; and 4) Husted wants to stop immoral government debt to protect our children’s liberty. These four points are lies.
Point number one: Jon Husted has resisted a number of invitations to appear before 9-12 groups to be vetted. He is not active in, takes no leadership role in, and does not want to be held to the standards set by the Tea Party movement. Tea Party activists are among the most outspoken against Husted’s candidacy.
Point number two: Jon Husted is not fiscally conservative. The biennial budgets he passed as Speaker of the House would not be sustainable in Ohio’s current economy. Expenditures still increased over what had been spent by his predecessors. He played a shell game on taxes, decreasing some, but implementing others, like the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT). Wouldn’t we like to see more commercial activity in Ohio? In essence, he’s been criticized by rank-and-file Republicans for governing like a Democrat. He’s been criticized by the Tea Party movement for making government bigger, less sustainable, less accountable to the people, and less accessible during the decision-making process.
Point number three: Ill-conceived changes to election laws enabled ACORN to game the system in the first place. “No-fault” absentee voting that changed Election Day into Election Month Plus was enacted by Husted while he was Speaker of the House. A window that still hasn’t been closed is the one between the start of the early voting period and the end of voter registration, allowing persons to vote at the same time as they registered at the Board of Elections. That window gave rise to a number of suspicions that ACORN was attempting to game the system. There is still no action to allow election observers to monitor early voting polling places even though we now have Election Month Plus instead of Election Day. The only mandate in that regard is to allow election observers at polling places on Election Day. To think that, of all things, he’s running for Secretary of State this year. This, in and of itself, is enough to disqualify Husted for the position.
Point number four: Husted supports Ohio’s debts. Ohio is required to balance its budget, which means budget deficits are not permitted. But Ohio does incur debts. The debts are called bonds. In the past, Husted has supported Ohio’s bond issues, like this one as recently as last November. Not only that, but he currently favors a bond issue that’s on the Ohio ballot right now: Issue 1. Repaying the bonds with interest absorbs a chunk of the general fund, the same fund that must be tapped for qualified children’s Medicaid, the same fund that must be tapped to sustain Ohio’s public universities that lead to better employment opportunities for our children, and, most obviously, the same fund that must be tapped for our children’s voucher-subsidized education, charter school education, and public school education.
Husted is lying about the 4 points he raised in that advertisement. Period.
Husted is not principled, though his propaganda is designed to advance the facade that he is principled. He was one of the most prolific fundraisers in the Ohio House when Larry Householder was Speaker of the House, and that had something to do with why Husted was tapped to be Householder’s successor. In order to raise funds like that, Husted engages in pay-to-play politics, so he’s squishy on issues (even squishy on his residency–Kettering, or Upper Arlington?) according to what can elicit donations. Legislation can be fast-tracked or sitting on a back burner based on campaign donations, regardless of the merits of any particular piece of legislation. Picking winners and losers in the marketplace can be driven by donations. Want an example? Payday lenders had a field day for a while without a lot of regulations while they were ponying up donations. Republicans in the Ohio House resisted, for several years, making any changes, though Democrats were making a stink over the issue. The Republicans, when they finally did make changes, even went beyond the changes proposed by Democrats. Banks, who wanted to curtail competition from payday lenders, ponied up more donations to Republicans to pave the way for those changes. In the end, Ohio voters were asked to decide Issue 5 back in the fall of 2008. There really wasn’t neutral ground. Neither side was for a free marketplace. Your vote on Issue 5 was either awarding an advantage to payday lenders, or awarding an advantage to banks. Such are the marketplace distortions driven by politicians and their need for campaign donations.
What other Husted agenda could be lurking in the shadows?
What if a pact was made between close buddies, Kevin DeWine and Jon Husted, while they both served in the Ohio House of Representatives, that if they played their cards right, DeWine would chair the ORP and Husted would be governor by 2014? When Strickland was first elected in 2006, it appeared he was quite popular, and envisioning a gubernatorial challenge to Strickland’s re-election bid might have seemed a tall hill to climb. Getting elected to some other statewide office might be an effective springboard to gun for an open governor’s race in 2014.
OK, let’s test the hypothesis that there was such a pact made that would get Husted elected to governor in 2014, shall we? Let’s make a checklist and see if all the ducks line up in a row for a Husted gubernatorial run in 2014, and if Kevin DeWine is the tool for that agenda.
First, it’s assumed that Strickland would run for re-election in 2010. He is. Check.
If Strickland wins in 2010, then term limits mean that the seat is open in 2014. Check.
Get Kevin DeWine in as GOP Chair. Check.
In case of competition in the primaries, change GOP state central committee bylaws to allow endorsements in contested primaries. Check.
Be very selective in who sits on the state central committee all the way up to 2014. Blackball anyone who might make even the slightest attempt to derail the Husted express. The ORP chair himself, if necessary, will put up his own slate of state central committee candidates and issue his own endorsements to make that happen. Check.
Get Husted a springboard for governor in 2014 by electing him to a statewide race. He’s chosen the Secretary of State race. As an Apportionment Board seat in a census year, the SoS race is one that should receive heavy donations (donations! extremely important!) because in the other Apportionment Board races, the only other race aside from Gov. is the Auditor’s race, and Mary Taylor appeared to lock that down back in 2006. The Secretary of State race would allow Husted to build a statewide campaign that can be used again in 2014, drive up name recognition, and milk donors for everything you can get because of the Apportionment Board seat. Check.
He can’t control what happens on the Democrat side (but he’s probably glad Garrison isn’t in it, nor is Brunner seeking re-election), but on the Republican side, there is a wrinkle with the previous item on the checklist: Sandy O’Brien is running, too. How to deal with O’Brien? Smother her so she can’t make a peep. Get all the mainstream media to shut up about O’Brien. Get the county party chairs to shut up about O’Brien. Don’t let O’Brien raise money to get the word out on her own. Silence bloggers from writing about O’Brien. Use the endorsement authority of the state central committee to nip O’Brien’s challenge in the bud and settle the matter in Husted’s favor ASAP. If not everyone will keep silent then put out the word that O’Brien couldn’t win in the general elections of 2006, and therefore she is not viable in 2010. Ordain Husted as the only electable Republican in the 2010 Secretary of State general election. Check.
Or maybe not quite. It looks like the Tea Party has taken up the cause of O’Brien. Then co-opt the Tea Party. Create an image of Husted as being one with the Tea-Party. Put Tea Party symbols in ads as much as possible. In ads and venues where Tea Party symbols are not authorized for use by the Husted campaign, mimic Tea Party rhetoric and counterfeit the Tea Party logo. Check.
If Strickland wins,or loses, then who would be the Democrat nominee in 2014? Richard Cordray? If it’s Cordray, and he’s got a sizable campaign fund this year against a less-funded Republican, then it would be hard to neutralize Cordray’s funding advantage in 2014. Initially, a strategy might have envisioned a challenge to Cordray in the Treasurer’s race for 2010, since that’s the office he was elected to in 2006. The Republicans weren’t ready for the special election for Attorney General when Marc Dann vacated the office under immense pressure, so no one with high name recognition was fielded by the Republicans for that special election, and Republicans still had to get someone in the pipeline for 2010, which turned out to be Yost. Cordray won that special election, so now the Cordray funding advantage that has to be neutralized is in the AG race. Cordray has two choices to make in 2010 against a less-funded Republican: either he can donate from his largesse to other Democrat candidates, currying favors that are owed to him in 2014; or he can bank his excess funds for the race in 2014. If Yost couldn’t match funds with Cordray and couldn’t make Cordray spend the lion’s share of his funds in 2010, then someone with bigger funds than Cordray had to be recruited for the AG race. Enter Mike DeWine. At Kyle Sisk’s blog, Sisk has asserted, multiple times, while Yost was still in the picture, that Republicans should support Mike DeWine for AG simply to draw down Cordray’s war chest and weaken a Cordray bid for governor in 2014. Sisk said DeWine could win the election and Yost wouldn’t. The big thing is, if DeWine is in the race, and he loses, he still forced Cordray to spend money in 2010 that won’t be banked and won’t be used to owe favors in 2014. DeWine for AG in 2010 to neutralize Cordray funding advantage in 2014. Check.
The only problem for that prior checklist item was that Mike DeWine couldn’t gain traction against Yost. Yost was garnering support and endorsements left and right in the AG race. Yost winning a primary would probably not cause Cordray to spend down as much. Yost was so formidable to DeWine in the primary that Yost had to be cleared from the AG race. Clearing DeWine from the AG race was never an option if the whole intent of fielding a candidate for the AG race is to weaken Cordray’s pocketbook for a 2014 gubernatorial race. Yost was cleared from the AG race. Check.
In 2014, Husted might have had to face Portman for gov. Voinovich helped Husted out of that jam, whether he intended to or not, because Portman is running for Senate in 2010, and, if elected, won’t be interested in gov. race in 2014. Check.
The wrinkle with that is that Mary Taylor might also jump into the Senate race. NOoooooo! Need. To. Get. Portman. In. Senate. So, make calls to potential donors, warn them that Taylor might go rogue if they donate to her in order to sour her fundraising, and keep her put. She’s not in the Senate race. Check.
The other wrinkle with that is that Tom Ganley jumped into the Senate race. He can self-fund, so cutting off donations won’t work. Need.To.Get.Portman.In.Senate. Redirect Ganley to 13th District Congressional race against Betty Sutton. Ganley not in Senate race. All clear for Portman. Check.
In 2014, John Kasich might want to run for Governor. If Strickland wins this year, no problem, Kasich is toast in 2014. Path cleared for Husted in 2014. Check.
But if Kasich wins in 2010, stoke his ego into running for U.S. President in 2012 to get him out of office before his term is up so that he won’t be running for re-election in 2014. Path still clear for Husted in 2014. Check.
If Kasich stays for full term and intends to run for another . . . well, if it comes right down to it, . . . there’s the option of last resort . . . manufacture a scandal and take him down.
In 2014, Mary Taylor might want to run for Governor. She’d be very popular after serving two terms as Auditor. Hmm . . . Maybe she’ll still be thinking about the Senate, and this time, we’ll loosen up the donors, butter them up so they get behind a Taylor bid for Senate in 2012 against Sherrod Brown. If she’s in the Senate, she won’t be seeking the gov. office. Path clear for Husted. Check.
If she loses the Senate race, she might be too damaged or not have enough campaign money for a credible 2014 bid for gov. Rely on Kevin DeWine, use ORP endorsement early on to do to Taylor what was done against O’Brien. Path clear or mostly clear for Husted. Check.
Uh-oh. Problem with the previous item on the checklist. Taylor was added to Kasich ticket as Lt. Gov. candidate, so won’t be two-term auditor. Actually, a blessing and a curse. If Taylor stays as Lt. Gov. for a full term under Kasich, she won’t be the candidate in 2014. Either Kasich runs again (manufacture scandal to take him down), or Taylor has too weak of a springboard from the Lt. Gov. position . . . much weaker than if she were the two-term auditor, so that’s the blessing. Path clear for Husted. Check.
One more blessing . . . Yost doesn’t have to be forced to withdraw from statewide races entirely, so getting him out of the AG race doesn’t have to be so acrimonious for Mike DeWine’s bid to drain Cordray of cash. Check.
Yet one more blessing: If Kasich loses, so does Taylor. Path clear for Husted. Check.
The potential curse from Taylor’s move: Ordinarily, Lt. Gov. is invisible, and no threat for run for gov. Even if Kasich stepped down as gov. to run for Prez, and a no-name Lt. Gov. filled the remainder of term, short-term no-name gov. would be unlikely to gain any traction. Taylor as Lt. Gov. becoming Gov. to serve out Kasich term is more problematic. OK, just as it was important to get Portman into the Senate this year, it’ll be important to get Taylor into Senate in 2012, so make sure the primary field is clear for her, maybe manufacture a scandal against Sherrod, make sure she’s well funded for that race, whatever it takes. If it works, path clear for Husted. Check.
Umm . . . Problem for switching Yost is that Seth Morgan absolutely refuses to drop out “for the good of the party.” Yes, that’s the way it will be phrased. Morgan is not a team player, will not drop out for the good of the party, the ORP will endorse Yost, and arms will be twisted to make sure county chairs follow suit. Yost was promised this in exchange for Mike DeWine’s clear shot at Cordray’s war chest. Not good. But if Morgan wins the primary, ORP can leave Morgan on his own, with funds depleted by the primary, much like the ORP left O’Brien on her own in 2006. Apportionment Board takes a hit, but that’s not as important as Husted for Governor in 2014. The important thing about the Apportionment Board is that Husted can get donations for running for it, and winning the Apportionment Board would be nice, but as clearly shown, better to forfeit the Apportionment Board and the Auditor seat than to let anyone get away with not doing what’s best for the party (i.e. Husted). If Yost wins primary, full ORP support. If Morgan wins . . . you get the idea. Send a message loud and clear to other Republicans: Helpful to Husted means the ORP is at your disposal. Try to cross Husted, life will be made miserable for you. Check.
If Taylor fills the remainder of the term as Governor if Kasich steps down, and won’t do what’s good for her and the party (i.e. Husted) by running for the Senate, and she announces that she’s seeking a full term as governor in 2014, her life will be made miserable. Rely on Kevin DeWine to railroad the state central committee. Treat her like O’Brien and Morgan. She’ll be forced to withdraw for “family reasons,” or, if it comes right down to it, . . . it didn’t have to come to this if Taylor did the “right” thing, but . . . manufacture a scandal and take her down.
Husted will be made of Teflon. No allegations against him will stick. Kevin DeWine’s got his back in order to insure that. Check.
I think what’s telling is that the ORP isn’t treating the 2010 Auditor and Governor races as though they were priority races, when, as Apportionment Board seats, they ought to be priorities. If Morgan wins the primary and the ORP doesn’t support him in the fall, then it’s not about the Apportionment Board. It’s all about Husted, and all other Republicans are secondary, because we might end up with districts drawn by Democrats for the next 10 years. If the Kasich-Taylor ticket gets in serious trouble, and Kevin DeWine doesn’t pitch in to help, then we really, really know this is all about Husted. Husted has already been talking about a redistricting plan that would replace the current Apportionment Board (even though Husted is using it for a fundraising cash cow right now) if elected SoS. That’s telling, too, because it’s paving the way toward making the Auditor and Governor races expendable, so there’s leeway for the Auditor nominee to lose and for Kasich to lose. Instead, what appear to be the priority races are Husted for SoS, Mike DeWine for AG (even though it’s not an Apportionment Board seat), Rob Portman for U.S. Senate, and ORP-endorsed candidates for Republican state central committee. If these are, indeed, the priorities, then, for certain, it is all about Husted for Governor in 2014, and Kasich or Taylor better watch their backs if either one plans to run as the incumbent for gov. that year.
Whether any of this supposed Husted for Governor agenda is real or not, if Republican primary voters nominate Sandy O’Brien for SoS, then Husted is out of our hair, and rank-and-file Republicans are on their way to taking back their party.