Tag Archives: ohio apportionment board

Dave Yost for Ohio Auditor of State

From the Rust Belt endorses Delaware County prosecutor Dave Yost for Ohio Auditor of State.

It is no secret that this blog viewed Mr. Yost as a weaker candidate for Auditor of State than his primary opponent, State Representative and Certified Public Accountant Seth Morgan. It would be disingenuous to try to brush aside all of the many words that have been written here in support of Rep. Morgan and in opposition to Mr. Yost. I do not regret my support for Seth Morgan in this primary campaign, nor do I regret that I aggressively challenged Mr. Yost on both qualifications and issues.

But the primary is over. Voters in Ohio now face a clear choice. They can choose a true conservative who has spent his time as both a county auditor and a county prosecutor holding government accountable. Or they can choose his Democrat opponent, David Pepper, whose only qualification for the job is that he has a lot of his family’s money to throw around.

Sure, this blog has raised questions about whether a one term county auditor and current county prosecutor was more qualified than a CPA to be our Auditor of State. But isn’t someone with the experience of a county auditor and prosecutor more qualified than a man whose only experience is that of a county commissioner? It is time for the Ohio Democratic Party and David Pepper to tell Ohio voters just what it is, besides his family money, that makes Mr. Pepper a serious candidate for Auditor of State. Mr. Redfern, Mr. Pepper, we’re waiting.

Meanwhile, I plan to spend from now until November explaining to the voters of Ohio why I believe Dave Yost is a vastly superior candidate to David Pepper. I’ll start by saying that the citizens of Athens County have seen his passion for fighting corruption and holding government accountable first hand. Mr. Yost served as the special prosecutor in the case against former Athens County Democratic Chairwoman Susan Gwinn. Yost worked hard to ensure that she was held accountable for her violation of campaign finance law. She was found guilty of two first-degree misdemeanors and had to resign her position as chairwoman of the Athens County Democratic Party.

Dave Yost did that. That’s the kind of Auditor of State we can all be sure that Mr. Yost will be. He will root out corruption, hold government accountable, and protect Ohio taxpayers. What kind of experience does David Pepper have to prove that he will do the same?

Now that primary season is over, it is important for the center-right majority in this state to remember what this election is really about. This election is about getting Ohio back on track. It’s about creating jobs and lowering taxes to help Ohio families and create an atmosphere that is friendly to businesses that will get Ohioans working again. As our next Auditor of State, Dave Yost will hold government accountable and make sure that your tax dollars are spent wisely.

We need someone with Dave Yost’s experience in standing up to corruption and holding government accountable in the Auditor of State’s office. David Pepper doesn’t have that experience. We need someone like Dave Yost, with his commitment to conservative principles, sitting on the Apportionment Board responsible for legislative redistricting. The primary is over. It is time for both Yost and Morgan supporters to unite behind this truly conservative candidate to keep the Auditor of State’s office and its seat on the Apportionment Board.

Why Don’t Yost and DeWine Want to Take Back the Ohio House?

Last week, the Yost campaign decided it would be a good idea to attack Republicans in the Ohio House of Representatives. Here’s the money quote (h/t Weapons of Mass Discussion):

Dave’s opponent is a member of the state legislature, the very place responsible for the out-of-control spending of Columbus. With tax day upon us, let’s rise up and say “no more!”. Let’s get to work fixing the mess in Columbus and holding government officials accountable.

Other bloggers have already discussed this, but I think there are still a few layers to this awfulness that have yet to be peeled back. For example, does Dave Yost think that slapping an “out-of-control spending” label on Ohio House Republicans is going to help bring about the change that Ohio needs? Does he think that pinning the “out-of-control spending” on the legislature is going to do anything to help John Kasich pin the blame for spending where it really belongs — namely, on Ted Strickland? Does Dave Yost really care about Ohio, or does he just care about winning this election by whatever means necessary?

But I think the point that has really been missed is the sheer hypocrisy here. Ohio House Republicans — including Seth Morgan — have, contrary to the Yost campaign’s reckless disregard for the truth, again and again stood against Ted Strickland’s big spending.

But here’s the question: Can Dave Yost say the same thing about his own supporters among Ohio Senate Republicans?

We already know the answer to that question.

He can’t.

If you’ll recall, dear reader, I noted in March that Yost had received some rather unsavory endorsements from Republicans in the Ohio Senate. The most glaring was the inclusion of the infamous “Gang of 5″ in these endorsements. The Gang of 5 — Ohio Senate President Bill Harris, John Carey, David Goodman, Tom Niehaus, and Mark Wagoner — was the group of five Republican state senators who did Ted Strickland’s bidding and voted to raise taxes to the tune of $900 million.

I prefer to pin the blame for Ohio’s big spending primarily on Strickland. But Yost is right that there are those to blame in the legislature. We can blame Ohio House Democrats. We can also blame the Gang of 5. They made a terrible decision for the people of this state. They demonstrated profoundly poor judgment. And they have done so again in endorsing Dave Yost, who would prefer to blame courageous Ohio House Republicans for the state’s spending rather than blaming Strickland, Democrats in the legislature, and five of the state senators who have given him their endorsements.

But we’re not done. Ladies and gents, we’re just getting started.

This is not the first time that the ORP-Kevin DeWine-Dave Yost axis has attacked Ohio House Republicans. As Matt Naugle (Right Ohio) is again pointing out, the Ohio Republican Party decided to take seemingly punitive action against Ohio House Republicans who are supporting Morgan’s candidacy for Auditor of State. Naugle broke the story that certain Morgan supporters in the Ohio House “were not being allowed to use the Ohio GOP’s bulk mail permit if they dared to support Seth Morgan.”

Republicans in the Ohio House and across the state could well ask at this point: Why don’t Dave Yost and Kevin DeWine want to take back the Ohio House?

One final note in closing. It’s not just the Ohio House that Yost and DeWine are gambling with their words and actions; it’s potentially the Apportionment Board as well. The five member board — comprised of the Governor, the Secretary of State, the Auditor of State, a member selected by the Ohio House Speaker, and a member selected by the Ohio House minority party — will be responsible for redistricting following this year’s census. The Apportionment Board’s role in redistricting promises to give the party controlling the board a tremendous decade-long advantage.

Think about that for a minute and think about what Yost and DeWine are doing. By falsely pinning the blame for big spending on Ohio House Republicans, Dave Yost is risking our chances of taking back the Ohio House. There’s one Apportionment Board seat. He is simultaneously deflecting criticism about spending away from Gov. Strickland, making John Kasich’s job more difficult. There’s another Apportionment Board seat.

Throw into the equation Yost’s candidacy for Auditor of State and the deflating impact it is having on the conservative base, and presto, you have a situation in which Yost may lose the Auditor of State’s office to David Pepper. There’s another Apportionment Board seat. That’s three, and three would give the Democrats control of the Apportionment Board.

DeWine and Yost already decided to risk the Apportionment Board by playing games with the Auditor of State primary. If they felt that was necessary, maybe they should refrain from hurting Republican chances for taking back the Ohio House and John Kasich’s chances of becoming our next governor. Then again, given the shenanigans with Jon Husted versus Sandy O’Brien for Secretary of State, maybe Kevin DeWine is trying to go all out and lose four Apportionment Board seats to the Democrats. That would be quite an accomplishment for any chairman — of the Ohio Democratic Party, that is.

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.

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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