News from the Ohio Democratic Party
Columbus, Ohio - Whether it is public opinion backlash from Katrina or Iraq, or President Bush's abysmal Ohio approval rating that is mired in the mid-30 percent range in most Ohio polls, President Bush is sneaking into northern Ohio for a Ken Blackwell fundraiser in posh Kirtland Hills Wednesday.
Mingling with millionaires, Bush and Blackwell, both millionaire's themselves, will host a tightly controlled non-public fundraiser, in flood-ravaged Lake County, to raise $2 million for Bush's friend, Ken Blackwell's, campaign for Ohio Governor. There is, of course, one key Bush donor from 2004 missing from Wednesday's event - Toledo GOP operative Tom Noe.
With the specter of Noe's conviction for funneling funds to the President's re-election campaign still fresh in the buckeye state air, Bush is now attempting to boost Blackwell's campaign which a recent Columbus Dispatch poll reported as 20 points down. "It's payback time for Ken Blackwell's role in the 2004 election," said Chris Redfern, Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party.
"Ken Blackwell will reap the benefits of a Republican fundraising machine that has led to a culture of corruption in Washington D.C. and Columbus," said Redfern. "This is the same pay-to-play culture that Tom Noe plead guilty to earlier this summer. The more things change, the more the GOP stays the same, is it any wonder that Ken Blackwell is 20 points behind?"
As Bush's Ohio campaign chair in 2004, it was Blackwell's job to win the state for Bush even as he counted the votes as secretary of state.
KEY DATES IN THE BUSH/BLACKWELL RELATIONSHIP
* President Bush and Ken Blackwell's relationship dates back to 2000, when Blackwell served as Bush's "principal electoral system adviser" during the Florida recount. "I thought it would be a missed opportunity if I didn't come down and take part in this historic civics lesson," he told the Columbus Dispatch. [11/16/00]
* Four years later while overseeing the 2004 Election, "Longline" Blackwell was Co-Chair of President Bush's Ohio campaign. Blackwell oversaw a 2004 election that was plagued by hours-long lines to vote, the haphazard use of new electronic voting machines and the disqualification of tens of thousands of provisional ballots cast by registered voters.
* Both men pay lip service to controlling spending, but President Bush has wracked up the largest budget deficits in the history of our nation, totaling more than $400 billion in 2004 alone.
Meanwhile, Blackwell consistently says "Ohio has a spending problem," [Columbus Dispatch, 3/4/05] but Blackwell hiked spending dramatically in both statewide posts he's held.
* As secretary of state, Blackwell increased overall spending by 73 percent, according to the Columbus Dispatch, by hiking user fees. [4/9/06]
* And as treasurer, Blackwell asked for a 42 percent spending increase, the highest of any statewide official. [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/24/95]
Under Republican leadership at the state and national level, Ohio has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs, seen tens of thousands lose their health insurance and watched tuition costs soar. "Ken Blackwell is more of the same for Ohio families," said Redfern. "It's time for change."