Saturday, November 24, 2012

Electing black statewide officeholders remains elusive milestone for Democrats in Ohio

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- For Ohio Democrats, a streak of confounding futility continued this month, lost amid presidential politics and the more obvious nuances of a Supreme Court shakeup.

Never has the party elected a black candidate to statewide office.

Justice Yvette McGee Brown became the latest failure, losing by double digits her bid to remain on the court. As had been the case for past black Democrats, not even the head start of a midterm appointment could help her change history.

The long record of defeat stands out in a state where most voters supported the election and re-election of the nation's first black president, Democrat Barack Obama. It stands out especially when factoring in victories by rival Republicans who, despite their larger deficiencies among minority voters, have elected blacks to statewide office five times.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Frank Russo slinks into prison, closing a haunted chapter in Cuyahoga County politics: Analysis

LORETTO, Pa. -- Through the outskirts of this quiet borough runs the Ghost Town Trail.

What better mile marker for the final stretch of Frank Russo's route to federal prison?

Russo slunk without a trace Friday into the low-security Federal Correctional Institution, an out-of-character end for a crooked politician who once craved the spotlight. Known for plastering his smiling face on gas pumps and grocery scales, he dared not show it as he crossed the threshold.

The former county auditor, who swindled Cuyahoga County taxpayers for at least a decade, arrived before noon. He escaped notice of the half-dozen Cleveland journalists who made the 200-mile trek but were required by prison officials to remain across the street.

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

What now, Ohio? Unlocking the soul of the battleground voter, one cold one at a time: Analysis

My search for real Steubenville voters took me to the Spot Bar.

Local hangout, the guy at the electronics warehouse told me. Lots of opinions.

I arrived about 6 p.m. on a June weeknight, found an empty stool and asked the bartender for a Miller Lite. As he fetched a bottle from the cooler I told him who I was and what I was doing there and asked if he minded me bothering a few of his customers.

No problem, he said. "You'll definitely want to talk to Frank and George."

I came for the parochial insight. Frank and George offered so much more. They showed me the evolving soul of the Ohio voter.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

President Barack Obama wins second term, calls for unity: 'We rise and fall together as one nation'

Written with Stephen Koff

President Barack Obama won a second term Tuesday, defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney in a fiercely competitive election that tested the nation's patience for change.

Networks called the race for Obama after declaring him the winner of Ohio's 18 prized electoral votes.

At 2 a.m. today, with roughly 98 percent of Buckeye State ballots counted, Obama led Romney by more than 100,000 votes. He also had scored wins in key battlegrounds such as Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.

Obama, a former U.S. senator from Illinois, addressed supporters in Chicago about 1:30 a.m.

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

From the primaries to Portmania, 5 events that shaped the presidential race in Ohio: Analysis

Come Tuesday, the visits will stop, and all eyes will turn to America's preeminent bellwether, which has picked the winner of every presidential election since 1964.

As Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney enter their final 48 hours on the stump, the contours of the race look different than they did in January.

There have been plenty of mistakes, like all those times Vice President Joe Biden forgot which state he was in or when Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan confused Browns starting quarterback Brandon Weeden with backup Colt McCoy. There were other moments that seemed fateful, like when Romney said he liked "being able to fire people" or when Obama said the private sector was "doing fine." But neither remark will be looked back on as a mortal wound.

In Ohio, five events shaped the race into what it is now and how it might end.

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Candidates and their surrogates blitz the Buckeye State on final weekend before Election Day

With reporting by Brandon Blackwell, Dave Davis, Rachel Dissell, James Ewinger, Laura Johnston, Stephen Koff and Peter Krouse

In the final weekend of a campaign season that has placed Ohio precisely at the center of the political universe, the stars aligned Saturday for a frenetic crush of barnstorming that will continue across the state until Election Day.

President Barack Obama made a stop in Mentor -- his last scheduled visit to the Cleveland area before Tuesday's vote. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee, stumped downstate in Marietta. In Ohio's high-voltage U.S. Senate race, incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown hit three cities. Meanwhile his GOP opponent, State Treasurer Josh Mandel, rallied with Ryan and joined a bus tour with U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of the Cincinnati area.

The first and second ladies hit the trail, too. Michelle Obama held events at Miami University in Oxford and Kenyon College in Gambier. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, met with supporters and volunteers at the re-election campaign's Parma field office.

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