Tag Archives: delaware county

Redfern, ODP Are Running Scared

Chris Redfern and the Ohio Democratic Party are scared. How else to explain Redfern’s focus on the Republican primary for Auditor of State?

Redfern, on January 20:

Are Republicans so desperate in looking for anyone to run for State Auditor that they have settled on someone whose home county soundly rejected him as a candidate for County Auditor? Rep. Morgan’s one big accomplishment is slamming the Governor’s office with a massive and frivolous public records request that was a waste of taxpayer dollars. And now, after wasting the state’s money, he wants to be Ohio’s next Auditor. Rep. Morgan says he wants to continue in Mary Taylor’s CPA tradition, which, given his record, we assume will be her tradition of Conservative Partisan Attacks.

Redfern, on January 25:

Dave Yost was strong-armed out of the Attorney General’s race by the Ohio Republican Party, despite having endorsements from many county Republican parties throughout the state. Yost clearly wanted to be Attorney General, but was forced to play second fiddle to Kevin DeWine’s second cousin and the second choice of the Republican base. Meanwhile, two self-proclaimed Tea Party candidates are now pitted against one another in the race for the Republican nomination for Auditor, which has infuriated the right-wing of the Republican Party.

Running for the Auditor’s office should not be a consolation prize. David Pepper has been traveling across the state for eight months, talking to Ohioans about what they want out of a State Auditor and speaking about his passion for improving the Auditor’s office. He will build on his record of protecting Ohio tax dollars by eliminating waste, fraud and abuse, while expanding transparency and accountability in local government.

Most recently, Redfern on March 3:

Does Congressman Kasich stand with Kevin DeWine, or does he stand with Mary Taylor’s longtime mentor Alex Arshinkoff? Does Kasich stand with the Ohio Republican Party, or does he stand with county Republican parties throughout the state? Does he agree with his running mate that Ohio’s Auditor should be a CPA, or does he agree with Kevin DeWine that Ohio must have a former county auditor in the position?

Redfern is scared, and he should be. No matter who wins the Republican primary for Auditor of State, our candidate will still be a stronger candidate with better qualifications to be Ohio’s next Auditor than their candidate.

It is ironic that Redfern would ask whether John Kasich thinks that Ohio’s Auditor of State should be a CPA like Mary Taylor and Seth Morgan or a former county auditor like Dave Yost. Their candidate, David Pepper, is neither. In fact, it seems that Pepper’s chief qualification when Redfern thought he would be running against Mary Taylor was his ability to self-fund his own campaign (in other words, his well known status as the “spoiled little brat” candidate for Auditor). Pepper and Redfern seem to think that money is the only qualification a candidate needs to be our next Auditor of State.

And how desperate is Chris Redfern, that he doesn’t even notice the hypocrisy of criticizing the way our party does business as the Ohio Democratic Party, under his leadership, has been working hard to limit Democrat voters’ choices to the establishment’s preferred candidates?

Take, for example, the Democrat primary for U.S. Senate. There can be no question that Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is the more liberal candidate who would be more appealing to the Democrat nutroots, yet it’s clear that the establishment is supporting Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher. What gives?

But the ODP’s treatment of Brunner is nothing compared to their treatment of the woman who once sought to replace Brunner as Secretary of State, Jennifer Garrison. OhioDaily, a Democrat blog, reported at the end of January that “donors and party insiders” (read: the ODP and its minions) were seeking “to push their original hand-picked choice out as fast as they rushed her in.” They succeeded, and their efforts to deny Democrat primary voters a choice between moderate Garrison versus an ultra-liberal candidate like Maryellen O’Shaughnessy left some wondering if Garrison would switch to the Republican Party.

And Redfern wants to talk about candidates being “strong-armed” out of primary races? Apparently he is so irrationally afraid of Seth Morgan and Dave Yost that it slipped his mind that his own party, under his own leadership, successfully “strong-armed” Jennifer Garrison out of the Secretary of State race and is trying to do the same thing to Jennifer Brunner and her flailing campaign for U.S. Senate.

But hey, Redfern can be forgiven for being a little scared. I have long maintained that, as a CPA, Seth Morgan is the most qualified candidate in the Auditor of State race. I believe he can and will win the primary and be our nominee for Auditor. But let’s face it, even if Morgan loses the primary and Dave Yost is our nominee, our candidate will still be leaps and bounds more qualified than David Pepper. Whether our candidate is a CPA or a former county auditor, at least he will have better qualifications for the job than his family’s money.

Prediction: Palin Will Endorse Seth Morgan

Right Ohio brings us the news that Seth Morgan, the Tea Party Republican candidate for Auditor of State, was excluded from the private Ohio Right to Life reception featuring Sarah Palin. The angle I’m going with on this story isn’t so much that Morgan was excluded (his primary opponent, Dave Yost, couldn’t get in either), but rather the reported reaction of Palin’s people to Morgan’s exclusion:

Seth Morgan did not buy a ticket in advance to the reception, Sarah Palin’s people and major Ohio Right to Life donors invited him in- repeatedly. . . .

While the Morgan campaign has absolutely no interest in commenting on thus (sic), his supporters are speaking up. And I’m hearing through the grapevine that Tom Norris, Lara (Mastin) Norris, Tim Crawford (who works closely with Palin’s team… The event wouldn’t of happened without him.), and many others were royally pissed because of this situation.

Emphasis mine. Reading the tea leaves a bit, I think this reaction and the fact that Morgan has supporters who work closely with the Palin team indicates that Palin will eventually endorse Seth Morgan for Auditor of State.

I know, I know — this race is too small for Sarah Palin. But follow my reasoning for a minute…

As a Politico piece from February makes clear, Palin is intensely interested in Ohio and has been since 2008. As John McCain’s running mate, she held more campaign events in Ohio than in any other state. She has been back to Ohio on numerous occasions since then, the most recent being her ORTL event. Her political action committee, SarahPAC, has donated a combined total of $10,500 to John Kasich, Mary Taylor, Rob Portman, and Jean Schmidt — and her involvement in these races clearly has Ohio Democrats running scared.

Reading the tea leaves a bit more, this is incredibly smart if she intends to run for president in 2012 (and I believe she does). Shoring up support with and building enthusiasm among Ohio’s conservatives would be important for the primaries, but even moreso for the general election given Ohio’s perpetual status as a key battleground state.

That’s where Seth Morgan comes in. As far as primaries go, no other race has energized Tea Partiers more than Morgan’s contest with Delaware County prosecutor Dave Yost. Others, like Tom Ganley and Sandra O’Brien, have certainly tried but none have been as successful as Morgan in capturing and maintaining active Tea Party support. For a lot of conservatives, the Auditor of State race has become a referendum on how the Ohio Republican Party does business and is a struggle for the people’s right to decide who will lead us in the future.

Translation? Normally the Auditor of State race would be too insignificant to attract the attention of a national figure like Palin, but these aren’t normal circumstances. At the moment, this primary race matters more to Tea Partiers than any other race.

Given her interest in Ohio, and given that there is overlap between Team Seth and Team Sarah, it seems increasingly likely to me that there will be a Palin endorsement for Morgan. If she has presidential ambitions in 2012, an endorsement just makes sense. The growing Tea Party movement in this state will certainly remember her involvement in this important primary, which will give her an enthusiasm edge that other candidates will lack. It will help her build a base that will be grateful to her for intervening on behalf of the people’s candidate to counterbalance the support of Ohio’s Republican establishment for Dave Yost.

One open question is what form such an endorsement might take. It’s possible that she will actually make some sort of statement, but I think it’s more likely that SarahPAC will simply contribute to Morgan’s campaign and not to Yost’s. Even such a tacit endorsement would make her support for Morgan clear, further energize the Tea Party movement for Morgan, and indicate to donors which way the political wind is blowing.

So, you heard it here first: I think Sarah Palin will endorse Seth Morgan for Ohio Auditor of State. I’m on record. Prepare to be in awe of my mad tea leaf reading skills when my prediction comes true.

Morgan Campaign Urges Yost to Fire Spokesman [UPDATED]

On February 25, I noted that Yost campaign spokesman Matt Borges has a little public corruption in his past. In 2004, Borges pleaded guilty to improper use of public office amidst a scandal involving his time working for former Ohio Treasurer Joseph Deters. It seemed to me that someone aspiring to be Auditor of State, our government watchdog, shouldn’t have any trace of corruption on his campaign. I wrote:

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 the aggressive prosecution of public corruption? More importantly, will Mr. Borges be working in the Auditor of State’s office if Yost is elected?

Now the Morgan campaign has written a letter to Dave Yost urging him to fire Mr. Borges. From the Morgan campaign’s press release, which I received by e-mail:

Dear Dave,

It has been brought to my attention through past media reports in the Dayton Daily News, the Cincinnati Enquirer, other media outlets, and recent news blogs that you have associated on both of your campaigns, running for Ohio Attorney General and now Auditor of State, an individual that admitted to public corruption charges.

The public insists the Auditor of State to be above reproach and demands the Auditor to have high ethical standards due to the sensitive nature of the cases the office handles. Even the hint of impropriety would be damaging to the reputation and the public trust of the Auditor’s office. That is the reason why the ethical standards for professional auditors such as Seth Morgan, CPA are some of the highest found among any professional group.

Mr. Matt Borges, your campaign spokesman and member of your campaign leadership team, admitted to public corruption charges in July 2004 when he was Chief of Staff to State Treasurer Joe Deters. Borges pleaded guilty to one count of improper use of public office. Court documents indicate he gave preferential treatment to certain brokers who made contributions to Deters’ re-election campaign.

Mr. Borges may be a very skilled professional and I don’t claim to have any special knowledge of what did or didn’t happen in the Treasurer’s office at the time he chose to plead guilty to these charges. However, the fact that Mr. Borges did plead guilty to corruption charges and you still have seen fit to allow him to play a very visible role in your campaign could raise very serious questions in the public’s mind regarding the standards you would use should you prevail and succeed in being elected Ohio’s next State Auditor.

I urge you to disassociate your campaign from Mr. Borges and to exercise greater care in the future regarding those who become part of your team.

Respectfully,

Emery Phipps
Political Director
Friends of Seth Morgan

Given the very nature of the Auditor of State’s office, this is not an unreasonable request. You can bet, though, that Yost supporters will once again howl about the purported “scorched earth” campaign that they say Morgan and his supporters are running. To that, I would point out to them as I pointed out in February that it is far better to air this now, during the primaries, than to let David Pepper get his hands on it in the fall.

As Yost supporters are so fond of pointing out, it’s not just the Auditor’s office that is at stake here. It’s the Apportionment Board. By employing someone who has admitted to public corruption in the past, Dave Yost is not only jeopardizing the integrity of the Auditor’s office should he win, he is also jeopardizing Republican chances to maintain control of the Apportionment Board should David Pepper hammer him day in and day out about his association with Mr. Borges.

UPDATE: I have been reminded that this incident has since been expunged from Mr. Borges’ record, which in no way changes the fact that he still pleaded guilty to one count of improper use of public office in 2004. But yes, for the record, that has since been expunged.

Yost Endorsed By “Gang of 5,” Other RINOs [UPDATED]

State Rep. Seth Morgan (R-Huber Heights) has recently been endorsed by 17 state legislators and the Cuyahoga County Republican Central Committee in his bid for Ohio Auditor of State. Frankly, the Morgan campaign is wracking up so many endorsements that it’s becoming difficult for little ole’ me to keep up with them all!

It’s been a little easier to keep track of Dave Yost’s endorsements. Until recently he had only the endorsement of the Ohio Republican Party and the Delaware County (his home county) Republican Central Committee, both of which were expected, as well as the Muskingum County GOP. His endorsements thus far have been so pathetic that Third Base Politics, an establishment Republican blog out of touch with everyday Ohioans, felt the need to weigh in and say that endorsements don’t matter at all. Of course, if Yost had all the endorsements, they would matter — since, according to our Ohioan-Virginian friend, his endorsements by the Ohio Republican Party and 16 Republican state senators apparently matter a great deal.

But wait, what did I just say? 16 Ohio state senators? Yep, in fairness to Dave Yost, he did finally receive some endorsements from Republicans in the Ohio Senate. But if you do a little digging — and really, I mean only a little — you quickly discover they’re not the kind of endorsements a truly conservative candidate for Auditor of State would actually want.

You see, Dave Yost has been endorsed by the infamous Gang of 5 — yep, all five of them — who voted with outgoing Gov. Ted Strickland and his Democrats to raise taxes to the tune of $900 million. Another five of these senators endorsing Yost have troubling voting records that variously include tax hikes, big spending, and statist paternalism.

So just what exactly do these big government, RINO Republican endorsements say about Dave Yost’s candidacy for Auditor of State? All of that, including a glimpse at these senators’ voting records, beneath the fold…

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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.

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.

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