Monthly Archives: February 2010

Bipartisan Opposition to HSUS Ballot Initiative

From Feedstuffs (h/t Invincible Armor), we learn that Republicans and Democrats are united in their opposition to an Ohio ballot initiative being sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) that would force the newly created Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board (OLCSB) to implement certain standards for the treatment of animals. From the article:

Both Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, and his opponent, John Kasich, this week said they are opposed to a ballot initiative that The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) plans to bring to the Ohio ballot this fall. . . .

Strickland said the HSUS measure would limit Ohioans’ access to an abundant and affordable supply of Ohio-produced food, adding that HSUS simply does not “fully appreciate the value of what happens on our farms.”

Kasich said “no outsiders ought to come in here and try to destroy our farms.” . . .

Their views mirror those of the chairs of the state’s two political parties, Ohio Democratic Party chair Chris Redfern and Ohio Republican Party chair Kevin DeWine.

Both said HSUS is seeking to undermine the authority of the livestock board, DeWine saying that HSUS is an “extreme, out-of-state” group with a “political angle,” and Redfern saying HSUS “is clearly out of touch with Ohioans.”

The extreme toll the HSUS initiative would take on Ohio’s economy has provided a rare opportunity for liberals, conservatives, and whatever the hell Kevin DeWine is to come together for the good of the state. I’m glad to see Kasich, Strickland, DeWine, and Redfern are united in their opposition to the HSUS proposal.

Of course, it should be pointed out that Ohioans were told they needed to vote for Issue 2 to prevent HSUS from doing exactly what it is now doing. The OLCSB, it was argued, would keep HSUS away. Well, here they are anyway, but now we also have a new and unnecessary government bureaucracy controlling Ohio agriculture for no good reason. Fantastic.

Morgan Endorsed by Summit County GOP Chairman Alex Arshinkoff

Summit County GOP Chairman Alex Arshinkoff has endorsed State Rep. Seth Morgan (R-Huber Heights) for Ohio Auditor of State. Right Ohio and Weapons of Mass Discussion have the full press release. From the release:

“Seth clearly is the most qualified candidate to be Ohio’s next auditor. He espouses many of Mary Taylor’s qualities as a state auditor candidate, and voters made it clear in 2006 having a CPA as their fiscal watchdog is important. Seth is a fresh face with bold ideas, and the excitement his campaign is generating is just what our ticket needs to beat the Democrats in the fall,” said Summit County Republican Party Chairman Alex Arshinkoff.

If Arshinkoff didn’t believe Seth Morgan could beat Dave Yost in May and David Pepper in November, this endorsement wouldn’t have happened. The widely reported rumor is that John Kasich favors Arshinkoff as a potential replacement for current Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine. If you’re Arshinkoff and you want that job, you don’t make an enemy out of the next Republican Auditor of State. Arshinkoff clearly believes Morgan can beat Yost and Pepper, or he wouldn’t have gotten involved.

This is not good news for Dave Yost and Kevin DeWine. Arshinkoff is a brilliant political strategist who gets Republicans elected in an overwhelmingly Democrat county; he’s very good at reading the political tea leaves. He backed Mary Taylor, who is from Summit County, in 2006, and she became the only Republican to win on the statewide ticket. If Arshinkoff thinks Morgan will win — and if he endorsed him, he does — that really calls into question Dave Yost’s supposed inevitability and superiority as a candidate. This may be the biggest endorsement Morgan has received so far.

Exit question: Given Arshinkoff’s connections to Kasich and Taylor, is it possible that we will see Mary Taylor endorse Seth Morgan?

UPDATE: From the Cleveland Plain Dealer, we learn that the Yost campaign is trying to downplay the importance of Arshinkoff’s endorsement:

Matt Borges, spokesman for Yost, said he believes Arshinkoff decided he would support Morgan before Yost entered the auditor’s race in late January.

“Alex told us he committed to Seth before Dave got in the race, and he’s since been very helpful to Dave,” Borges said. “Meanwhile, we picked up support from one of the largest Republican counties in the state last night.”

Maybe it’s true that Arshinkoff decided to support Morgan before Yost entered the race, but it’s also true that we all knew Yost was thinking about jumping into the Auditor’s race immediately after Morgan announced and before Yost officially announced his intentions. If Arshinkoff had any intention of supporting Yost, he would have waited to see if he jumped into the race before committing to Morgan.

The truth is that the Yost campaign knows how important Arshinkoff’s endorsement is, so they’re trying to make it look like it’s only a half-hearted attempt to keep a promise that Arshinkoff made in haste. They’re trying to make you think this endorsement is not that important. Don’t be fooled. Like the rest of us, Arshinkoff knew there was a possibility that Yost would enter the Auditor’s race. He opted to support Seth Morgan instead.

Meanwhile, as Borges points out, Yost did receive the endorsement of the Delaware County Republican Central Committee. Of course, Delaware County is his home county, so no big surprise there. But yeah, congratulations Dave! It’s good to see you can still attract the support of a county central committee somewhere.

Corruption: Coming to an Auditor’s Office Near You?

Yesterday, Matt Naugle (Right Ohio) noted that Matt Borges is working as spokesman for Dave Yost’s campaign for Ohio Auditor of State. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Borges, he pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of improper use of public office in 2004. Borges, who previously worked for former Ohio Treasurer Joseph Deters, was alleged to have given “preferential treatment to certain brokers who made contributions to Deters’ re-election campaign,” according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Naugle ponders whether Borges’ work on the Yost campaign has more to do with the Ohio GOP establishment than it does with Dave Yost:

The rumor is that this job was arranged by Jo Ann Davidson and the Franklin County GOP Chairman as a way to attempt to control Yost’s office if he is successful in November against the spoiled brat rich boy David Pepper. Other party insiders think that is a huge stretch to assume.

In this case, I don’t think we can blame the establishment. I think the blame needs to be placed squarely at the feet of Dave Yost. Borges has been working for the Yost campaign since October, when he was still running for Attorney General. According to a Dayton Daily News article from October, Borges said that he and Yost have been friends for 20 years.

So let’s recap, shall we? Dave Yost once argued that he was more a prosecutor than a politician. Now, running for Auditor of State, Yost is emphasizing his brief tenure as Delaware County auditor and is distributing misleading literature to the public which says that he’s “the only [candidate] who’s been an auditor.” You would almost forget that this politician was ever a prosecutor! Once the grassroots hope to defeat Mike “RINO” DeWine for Attorney General, he is now the establishment hope to defeat grassroots candidate Seth Morgan for Auditor of State.

But it just gets worse for Mr. Yost. On more than one occasion, Yost has boasted about his (admittedly impressive) record for going after public corruption. That’s all well and good, but what about the corrupt former public servant on his own campaign staff? Matt Borges pleaded guilty to improper use of public office. What is he doing on the campaign staff of a man who prides himself on his aggressive prosecution of public corruption? More importantly, will Mr. Borges be working in the Auditor of State’s office if Yost is elected?

Dave Yost — politician before prosecutor, the establishment’s best hope against a conservative grassroots candidate, and a proud opponent of public corruption unless the corrupt former public servant in question happens to work on Yost’s campaign. This man is not the leader that conservatives across this state thought he was. And judging by his early employment of Mr. Borges, he never was.

But hey, if the establishment succeeds in winning Yost the primary for Auditor of State, at least we’ll all have something to look forward to. We can look forward to David Pepper dredging all of this up again, only this time it will be splashed across the pages and airwaves of Ohio’s liberal media (not to mention Pepper’s own campaign ads). And then, best of all, we can look forward to potentially losing the Apportionment Board. Won’t that be a blast?

Morgan Endorsed By Family First PAC

State Rep. Seth Morgan (R-Huber Heights), the Tea Party Republican candidate for Ohio Auditor of State, was endorsed today by the Family First PAC. From the Morgan campaign’s e-mailed press release:

“Family First is honored to endorse Representative Seth Morgan CPA for Auditor of State. Seth Morgan has a proven record on the issues of limited government, school choice, pro-life, the sanctity of marriage, and responsible spending and taxation,” said Lori Viars, Executive Director of Family First.

“Seth has proven himself as a solid fiscal conservative and social conservative, as well as a man of integrity. With his credentials and experience as a CPA, Ohioans could not ask for a more qualified watchdog for our tax dollars,” Viars said.

What does this endorsement mean? Three things.

First, the conventional wisdom has now been shot to hell and back. The Ohio GOP establishment, including establishment bloggers, have insisted since before this primary even began that a) Yost was inevitable because he could build a better network than Morgan; and b) we needed Yost because he was the only one capable of building the kind of network it would take to beat David Pepper in November. Two county central committee and one PAC endorsement later, and I have one question for the establishment: Where’s the beef? Where is Dave Yost’s supposedly superior network?

Second, the Family First endorsement indicates that conservatives aren’t willing to take Dave Yost’s word for it anymore. As a county prosecutor, Yost doesn’t have much of a record to back up his supposed conservative bona fides. How do we know for sure that he is a staunch fiscal conservative? How do we know that he stands with us on an array of issues that are important to us and to all Ohioans? Frankly, on a lot of the issues, we don’t know. But as Family First points out, Seth Morgan already has “a proven record” on the issues that matter most to the conservative grassroots.

Third, this endorsement is laying to rest another piece of conventional wisdom. Since Yost entered the race for Auditor, the lamentation has gone up that we are pitting two equally conservative candidates against each other here. But it seems that the conservative grassroots are starting to stand up and say: Wait a minute, one of these candidates is actually more conservative than the other. Why?

It’s because Dave Yost has become the establishment candidate, and Ohio conservatives know that the GOP establishment in this state isn’t friendly to true conservatives. Sure, when Yost was running against Mike DeWine, the grassroots trusted that he was as conservative as he claimed. Now that he is running against Seth Morgan, the anti-establishment candidate, with the enthusiastic endorsement of Kevin DeWine and the state central committee — it’s a different story. By jumping ship on the Attorney General race and doing Kevin DeWine’s bidding by jumping into the Auditor race, Yost has connected himself to the DeWines. Conservatives don’t trust the DeWines, and now they don’t trust Dave Yost.

So, congratulations Dave! By bowing to the establishment, you have proven that you do not have the network necessary to beat either Seth Morgan or David Pepper. You have made conservatives stand up and take notice that you do not have the record to prove that you will walk the walk after talking the talk. And you have shown that you do not any longer have the trust or support of the conservative grassroots.

But how is that establishment support treating you?

UPDATE: Complete Morgan campaign press release beneath the fold…

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Yost Campaign, ORP Misleading the Public

Dave Yost and the Ohio Republican Party must be feeling the heat. Turns out that little Kev-Kev DeWine’s plan to clear the Attorney General primary for (second) cousin Mikey by asking Yost to switch to the Auditor of State race isn’t going so well. Yost’s primary opponent, State Rep. Seth Morgan, has now received the endorsement of the Brown and Greene County Republican Central Committees. Oh, and in case you haven’t been paying attention, Kevin DeWine is from Greene County and actually has a seat on its central committee.

Yeah, they must be feeling the heat, because they’re feeling the need to mislead the public. According to the Morgan campaign (h/t Right Ohio), Yost is still distributing literature making the claim that he is “the only one who’s been an auditor.” The ORP website is making the same claim:

Click to enlarge

The problem? While Yost is the only candidate in the race who has served as an auditor in political office, Morgan points out that as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) certified to perform financial audits he has in fact audited in the private sector. In fact, one could argue — and the Morgan campaign certainly is arguing — that Morgan’s work in the private sector means that he is actually more qualified for the job than Dave Yost. While Yost has served as a county auditor, he has no professional training for financial auditing. He could not, for example, do any financial auditing in the private sector.

This isn’t just a case of splitting hairs. Dave Yost and Kevin DeWine are trying to make Ohio voters think that Yost is the only candidate with the experience necessary to be Auditor of State. Meanwhile, outgoing Auditor and Kasich running mate Mary Taylor argued quite successfully when she was the only statewide Republican elected in 2006 that one really needs to be a CPA to be qualified for Auditor of State. Yes, Dave Yost did serve as a county auditor; but Seth Morgan’s private sector experience actually makes him more qualified to be Auditor of State. At least if you believe Mary Taylor, circa 2006.

Who do you trust to be your next Auditor of State? On the one hand, you have Seth Morgan with his proven record of standing up for government transparency and accountability to taxpayers. As a CPA he, like Mary Taylor before him, also has the professional skills necessary to do the job. Then you have Dave Yost. Sure, as a career politician he served as county auditor as a stepping stone to his next gig as Delaware County prosecutor. But does that really give him the skills necessary to do the job effectively? Is he really more qualified than Seth Morgan, or do he and the ORP just want you to think he is?

There’s still time for the Kasich camp to clean up the DeWine mess and deliver on their promise of a new day and a new way within their own party. They could do it tomorrow, as a matter of fact. Mary Taylor, our current Auditor and a CPA, should endorse the most qualified candidate in this race. Based on her own 2006 campaign argument, that candidate is Seth Morgan, CPA. John, Mary, we’re waiting for you to stand up to the back room deals and misleading rhetoric of your party leadership and their favorite, albeit less qualified candidate.

We’re Here, We’re Queer… We’re Conservative

I have had to come out twice in my life. The first time I came out, I told friends and family that I’m gay — that I’m attracted to other men, and that eventually I want to find the right man and spend the rest of my life with him. My second coming out has been more recent, as I have told the very friends and family who were supportive and accepting of my sexual orientation that I am a conservative Republican. Some have been just as supportive and accepting as they were before; others, less so.

The new challenge facing me is to be a conservative and a member of the Republican Party as an openly gay American. So far, the handful of College Republicans I’ve come out to, the faces of conservatism for me on a day to day basis, have been accepting. But events at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) demonstrate that there is, unfortunately, another side to the story. There are those who think gay conservatives should be excluded from the effort to take back America. Enter the now infamous Ryan Sorba:

It should be noted, although it rarely has been by the mainstream media, that Sorba’s anti-gay rant was preceded by a very different speech by Alexander McCobin, co-founder and president of Students for Liberty:

I prefer to believe that McCobin speaks for the majority of today’s young conservatives. Ryan Sorba’s ignorant hatred aside, last weekend was a good weekend to be a gay conservative. Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Liz Cheney, came out in favor of repealing the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy banning gays and lesbians from serving in the military. GOProud had a booth at CPAC. Alexander McCobin spoke in favor of gay participation at CPAC, and when Ryan Sorba stood up to have his Kanye West moment he was booed off stage. All good news.

I think for me, though, the best news was maybe a little less significant. It was seeing several of my fellow College Republicans who attended CPAC speaking out against Sorba through Facebook and other social networking and new media. It was seeing, for example, fellow Ohio University College Republican and blogging colleague Jesse Hathaway (Athens Runaway) take on Sorba’s idiocy via his blog. The Cheneys opposing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell? Great. But the people I’ll be working with at the grassroots level to get conservatives elected this November speaking out to say there’s a place for me in this movement? Far better.

Now that we’ve got the touchy-feely fluffy goodness out of the way, a message to Ryan Sorba and all who think like him:

We’re here. We’re queer. We’re conservative. Get used to it.

I believe in a government that respects the limitations upon its power set by our Constitution. I believe that men like George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and the rest of our founding fathers knew better how government should work than a leftist law professor and community organizer who lied, manipulated, and intimidated his way into the presidency. I believe in a liberal democracy in which people live freely to pursue their own happiness, not the brave new world being foisted on us by Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid.

I believe that the best way to grow our economy is to shrink our government. Those taxes they want to collect to dole out pork projects to their benefactors certainly haven’t done the job. Taking even more of the American worker’s money to take over health care and energy certainly aren’t good answers to our problems either. If we want to stimulate our economy, the best way to do that is to put our citizens’ own money back in their own hands. Cut taxes. Cut spending. Reduce the deficit. Let the market reward the responsible and punish the irresponsible.

I also believe that we are at war with an enemy that hates us because we love liberty, an enemy that knows no borders and has from time to time infiltrated our own. As a gay American, I know the very real threat posed by Islamic terrorists. Just look at the terrorism perpetrated against gays and lesbians by the Islamic “Republic” of Iran. I believe we need leadership that recognizes this war as a war, rather than a president who wants to bury his head in the sand and pretend we can go back to those heady times when the last Democrat president treated terrorists as common criminals.

My message to Ryan Sorba and his ilk? Like it or not, I’m here — and so are other gay conservatives just like me. We’re here because, frankly, where else would we go? Over to the Democrats, who give gays and lesbians a wink and a nod during campaign season and forget all about us — or actively work against us — when it comes time to actually govern? Should we go to the Democrats, even though we believe their policies are destroying the fabric of our constitutional government, wrecking our economy, and endangering our national security?

Maybe Ryan Sorba would like us to head over to the Democrat Party. I believe most conservatives, especially most younger conservatives, would strongly disagree with him. But more importantly, I believe that the path to freedom, prosperity, and security for gays and lesbians lies within the conservative movement and the Republican Party. How could I go anywhere else? So, Mr. Sorba, I’m sticking around. Should we cross paths at any point in the future, I guess there’s only one thing left for me to say to you: Bring it. I love it.

Mr. Christopher, We Still Have a Problem

On Tuesday, I took a step I had been reluctant to take in endorsing former U.S. Sen. Mike “RINO” DeWine for Ohio Attorney General. The reasoning behind my endorsement was that Sen. DeWine will still in the long run be better for Ohio than reelecting Democrat Richard Cordray. In making this endorsement, I dismissed the candidacy of DeWine’s new primary challenger, alleged Tea Party activist Steve Christopher.

I referenced a post at Right Ohio in which it was revealed that Christopher had donated thousands of dollars to DeWine’s past campaigns, including primary campaigns. I wondered why Christopher had found DeWine conservative enough to be our U.S. senator as recently as June 2004 (the date of his last donation), but doesn’t think he’s conservative enough for us now. I wrote: “I would rather have the devil I know for Attorney General than the devil I don’t. Why launch the career of another RINO politician? We’ve already got one.”

Well, Steve Christopher has responded to Right Ohio’s questions about his past donations:

Like a lot of conservatives, I misjudged the man. I also contributed and worked on campaigns for other guys. Some stayed true and some didn’t. You quit supporting the ones that sell out. Sometimes you have to choose the lesser of two evils. You can get involved and try to influence the system or just sit back and watch as it gets worse.

Emphasis mine. We still have a problem, Mr. Christopher. You were still donating to DeWine’s 2006 failed reelection bid, even as most Ohio conservatives had come to the conclusion that DeWine was one of “the ones that sell out.” In fact, you donated a total of $1,105 to his primary campaign and another $10 to his general election campaign.

In your response to Right Ohio, you also fail to explain your $1,800 donation to the American Association for Justice PAC. We will need some explanation for why a conservative Tea Party candidate voted for a PAC that opposes badly needed tort reform.

This response doesn’t cut it. Mike DeWine is still the devil we know and Steve Christopher is still the devil we don’t. Representing one’s self as a Tea Party candidate doesn’t make one a Tea Party candidate, and donating to Mike DeWine as recently as his last failed election bid while also donating to a PAC opposed to tort reform certainly calls any alleged Tea Party credentials into question.

A Tale of Two Counties

On Thursday, supporters of State Rep. Seth Morgan’s campaign for Ohio Auditor of State received some good news. The Brown County Republican Central Committee voted overwhelmingly to endorse Morgan for Auditor, with 75% voting for Morgan and only 13% voting for Delaware County prosecutor and former Attorney General candidate Dave Yost.

This should put to rest the establishment meme that Seth Morgan is unable to build the kind of organization he will need to beat David Pepper in November. It should also seriously call into question Yost’s viability. We were told that once he switched from Attorney General to Auditor it would all be gravy. But where is the grassroots enthusiasm that conventional wisdom told us would follow him from AG to Auditor? Obviously the momentum is behind Morgan, and Yost’s astonishing Brown County defeat should be making everyone question whether he can actually beat David Pepper.

Matt Hurley (Weapons of Mass Discussion) points out that the Brown County GOP declined to endorse former U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine for Ohio Attorney General, even though DeWine’s name was the only one under consideration. I endorsed DeWine’s candidacy on Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy for him to capture grassroots support — if it’s possible at all. This is another case of the conventional wisdom going right down the tubes.

But as this post’s headline makes clear, this is really a tale of two counties. We’ve heard about Brown County; now we will turn to Belmont County, where I grew up, and the shenanigans of Belmont County Republican Party chairman Kent Moore.

Moore’s attack on Seth Morgan and his inadequacy as chairman of the Belmont County GOP beneath the fold…

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Mike DeWine for Ohio Attorney General

From the Rust Belt endorses former U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine for Ohio Attorney General.

My objections to DeWine’s candidacy are many and are now well-known. I believe that Mike DeWine is a huge player in our insufficiently conservative Republican establishment here in Ohio. I believe that Kevin DeWine, Mike DeWine’s second cousin and chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, tried to clear a path for his cousin’s uncontested nomination for Attorney General. Mike DeWine has serious Second Amendment issues. And to top it all off, former Sen. DeWine hasn’t practiced law in any form since before I was born.

Dave Yost, a well-regarded conservative county prosecutor, would have been a better Attorney General than Mike DeWine, but Yost has bowed to the establishment and entered the primary race for Auditor of State instead. From the Rust Belt continues to endorse State Rep. Seth Morgan (R-Huber Heights) in that race because Morgan is both the authentic Tea Party candidate in that race and is, as a CPA, more qualified for the job than Yost.

Yesterday we learned that the Republican primary race for Attorney General is once again contested. According to the Dayton Daily News, Hardin County attorney Steve Christopher has entered the race saying that “the moderates and conservatives need to have a candidate for attorney general who’s not a professional politician and a liberal, which DeWine and Cordray both are.” The article even points out that Christopher is “part of the Tea Party movement.” Perfect, right?

Well, there’s a problem, as Right Ohio points out. Turns out Steve Christopher has donated thousands of dollars to DeWine’s past campaigns, including primary campaigns, as recently as DeWine’s last failed run for reelection in 2004. Christopher needs to explain to us why DeWine was conservative enough for Christopher to spend thousands keeping him in office before, but magically isn’t conservative enough for Steve Christopher today. Putting it another way, I would rather have the devil I know for Attorney General than the devil I don’t. Why launch the career of another RINO politician? We’ve already got one.

When we put Steve Christopher’s non-starter candidacy aside, this leaves us with only one alternative to Mike DeWine: his Democrat opponent, Richard Cordray. This is true whether we’re talking about actually voting for Cordray, voting for a third party candidate, or just not voting in the Attorney General race at all. Any vote that is not for Mike DeWine or any vote not cast is a vote for Rich Cordray. Bottom line.

It has been noted here and elsewhere that Cordray is better on the Second Amendment than DeWine, and that’s certainly true. But the Attorney General’s office is important for reasons beyond the Second Amendment.

Should ObamaCare pass, we will need an Attorney General who’s going to fight its unconstitutional mandate and other elements of the bill that may be constitutionally questionable. We all know Rich Cordray has his eyes on the governor’s office. Do you think he’s going to inflame his party’s liberal establishment by putting up a fight against ObamaCare? We are living in a time when the Constitution is ignored and states’ rights are the laughing stock of Washington. Maybe we can’t fully trust Mike DeWine, but we certainly can’t trust Rich Cordray — looking to work his way up in his party, the very party that is ripping our Constitution to pieces.

I wish we had a more conservative candidate than Mike DeWine for Ohio Attorney General. I hate the way that the party machine worked to clear the primary of serious candidates so he could win the nomination, now pitting two conservatives against each other for Auditor and jeopardizing that important Apportionment Board seat.

But at the end of the day, I am a Republican. As a Republican, I believe that Mike DeWine with all of his flaws is still going to be better for this state. At least he is committed to some of our values. And Rich Cordray? Well, he’s okay on the Second Amendment. But just wait and watch that go up in smoke the minute he thinks it hurts his “inevitability” for governor in 2014. Rich Cordray is a Democrat and, at the end of the day, will demonstrate the same disregard for the rule of law that his party has again and again demonstrated.

That’s why, for the sake of Ohio and its commitment to the rule of law, From the Rust Belt endorses former U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine for Ohio Attorney General.

UPDATE: By the way, this endorsement has nothing to do with the recent poll that shows DeWine ahead of Cordray. I decided to make this endorsement after a lot of thought, and the more immediate catalyst was Steve Christopher jumping into the race.

Gwinn Threatens OU Student With Libel Suit

According to The Post, former Athens County Democratic Party chairwoman Susan Gwinn has threatened an Ohio University student with the possibility of a libel lawsuit. Her beef? A letter to the editor published in the Athens NEWS on Jan. 18, in which that student wrote the following:

Certainly the cleanup has begun with Gwinn, but Susan Gwinn has been mucking up the Athens County government and spreading the corruption around for a long time.

In her letter demanding a notarized correction, Gwinn declares that the above statement is “untrue and libelous.” For those who are not familiar with the back story, Gwinn was recently convicted of two misdemeanor charges related to falsifying campaign finance reports in her failed 2008 bid for Athens County prosecutor. Gwinn subsequently resigned as chairwoman of the Athens County Democratic Party, but is now seeking reelection to the county party’s central committee.

Now that the back story’s out of the way, here’s the upshot: I am the student that Gwinn has threatened with a libel lawsuit.

As I told The Post, I have absolutely no intention of retracting or “correcting” anything I said in my Jan. 18 letter to the editor published in the Athens NEWS. I don’t know why Susan Gwinn has chosen to single me out, of all the many people who have written and spoken about her. What I can tell you is that she picked the wrong person.

I believe that I have a First Amendment right to speak my mind about the job that my supposed public servants are doing. As a former county party chairwoman and current announced candidate for the county party’s central committee, Gwinn certainly falls into that category. I will not be silenced by her or any other politician because they don’t like what I have to say. If Gwinn didn’t know that about me before she sent me a letter demanding a notarized correction, she should have done her Google homework a little better. This blog would have been a good start.

I write because I believe that the written word makes a difference. I believe that it can change minds, move hearts, and, when necessary, cause the political equivalent of earthquakes and tsunamis to bring change to our government for the sake of the people of this country and, in this case, the people of this county. I believe I have a talent for this, however small compared to that of others, and I will never stop writing to take back this country — from an obscure, heavily Democrat county in Southeastern Ohio all the way up to the White House.

I will fight for my First Amendment right to use my God-given talent for the written word to make a difference in the world. Although I would prefer not to, I will take that fight to court if Ms. Gwinn decides that’s necessary. But I will not retract, I will not “correct,” and I will not be intimidated into silence. I will not back down.

But I do think I touched a nerve. Don’t you?

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