Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ohio's budget offers early roadmap for campaign between Gov. John Kasich and Ed FitzGerald: Analysis

Ohio's next race for governor begins Sunday.

Not officially, of course. Republican incumbent John Kasich hasn't formally launched his bid for a second term. And the likely Democratic nominee, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, declared his candidacy two months ago.

But for all intents and purposes, Kasich starts the clock when he signs into law the state's two-year budget, capping a process that began with meaty -- and fairly moderate -- policy goals before meeting the Statehouse sausage grinder.

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Sunday, June 9, 2013

When will gay marriage be back on the ballot in Ohio? A closer look at the 2 most likely scenarios.

A group leading the charge to reverse Ohio's ban on same-sex marriage has met resistance from many gay rights organizations supportive of the cause but not of the timeline.

Moments after meeting last week with fellow advocates, Ian James of FreedomOhio vowed to place a ballot measure before voters in next year's gubernatorial election. His pledge stunned others who had been a part of the discussion.

"Ian James must have attended a different meeting than the rest of us," said Marty Rouse, national field director for the Human Rights Campaign and one of several who complained in a joint statement sent in response to James' announcement. "Representatives from 11 state and national organizations participated in today's meeting. Ten of them came away with a clear understanding that we would refrain from deciding on timing until it was responsible to do so."

Though they are unwilling to commit to a date, those at odds with FreedomOhio seem to have reservations about 2014. One activist who signed on to the James rebuke suggested they might not be ready until 2016, "or if possible sooner."

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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Dave Yost, 'Desperado' revisited

Poor Dave Yost.

These days Ohio's state auditor is at odds with his fellow Republicans around Capitol Square.

His sin? Rocking the boat over JobsOhio, Gov. John Kasich's signature -- but privatized -- economic development agency.

"I've unmade a lot of friends in the last couple of weeks," Yost said Monday at a conference.

The quote reminded us of a classic Yost moment. Between speakers at an Ohio delegation breakfast at the Republican National Convention last summer, Yost commandeered the microphone and piano to play and sing along to The Eagles' "Desperado."

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Assessing the politics of JobsOhio: Analysis

The Democratic furor over JobsOhio can be summed up in two words: wishful thinking.

The party's only announced candidate for governor, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, is running on an anti-corruption image. That strategy works best if it addresses a weakness in his opponent. And as Nixonian as he and his allies make Gov. John Kasich out to be, there has been nothing criminally scandalous in the Republican incumbent's first term.

So Democrats hope to turn JobsOhio, Kasich's signature economic development program, into some sort of political bogeyman for 2014. As a Columbus Dispatch columnist noted Sunday, all of the elements are in place: "$100 million annually in taxpayer money converted for private use; little public accountability on how it is spent; corporations, businesses and their lobbyists lining up with hands out; a governor needing to raise $20-plus million for his re-election."

Those scenarios assume the worst about JobsOhio, something that is not hard to do given its secretive nature.

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