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Kasich Rarely—If Ever—Acknowledges Opponent on Campaign Trail

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 5:33 PM

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Gov. John Kasich speaks at a bill-signing ceremony in Cleveland. (Nick Castele / ideastream)

Republican Gov. John Kasich continues to campaign throughout Ohio and ads for him continue to air on television statewide. Meanwhile, his Democratic opponent, Ed FitzGerald, has lost most of his campaign staff and is having trouble getting enough money to compete. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports it’s as if the Kasich campaign is looking past November.

When John Kasich met with supporters in Beavercreek earlier this week, he didn’t mention his opponent in November. Instead, he talked about what he’d like to do in his second term—including another tax cut. But he didn’t give details on how he’d do that.

Kasich brushed aside a notion from one of the campaign stop’s attendees that he could run for president in 2016.

“Can we just go through this election and get this done?” Kasich said. “They are all going to have their microphones—“Is he going to run,” you know? Honestly, I haven’t really seriously given it any thought.  To give it any thought, you sit down...I tried it once, you know, and in case you haven’t noticed, I didn’t win, okay? And I kind of know what’s involved, but I haven’t really paid any attention to it.”

One thing he’s not talking about on the campaign trail is the very issue that he was under fire for in 2011.

Back then, there were many protests at the Statehouse as the legislature passed Senate Bill Five, a bill that took away collective bargaining rights from public employees.  Kasich signed it. That angered unions representing teachers, firefighters and police officers, who then collected signatures to put the issue before Ohio voters.  And voters repealed that law. 

But now, Kasich’s latest ad features a police officer, Lieutenant Steve Cesaro of the Perry Township Police Department.

“When John Kasich became governor, he shook things up and upset working people, including me,” Cesaro says in the ad. “Kasich’s tough but you know what, he listened. Nearly 250,000 new jobs have been created.”

But Democrats are quick to say many of those jobs came from the recovery that was put in place by former Gov. Ted Strickland, Kasich’s Democratic opponent in 2010.

And a new study by a liberal-leaning think tank says for the first time since 2007, Ohio has more low-wage jobs than medium or high wage jobs. Dale Butland with Innovation Ohio said the study shows Kasich’s job strategy isn’t working as well as he says it is.

“What we found is that while nine out of 10 jobs lost during the great recession paid medium or high wages, low paying jobs now account for virtually all of the job growth in this state during the recovery,” Butland said. “And for the first time since 2007, low wage jobs now (comprise) the highest share of the job market in this state.”

Kasich’s spokesman, Rob Nichols, says the methodology in Innovation Ohio’s report is flawed. Nichols says the study used comparisons from labor statistics over time and says that doesn’t lead to a fair or accurate conclusion. 

But FitzGerald says Ohio needs a governor who will raise the minimum wage and focus on growing the economy from the middle out, rather than what FitzGerald has called Kasich’s outdated, ineffective trickle-down approach. And despite the new Kasich ad featuring a police officer, the state’s largest police organization, the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police, has endorsed FitzGerald.

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Government/Politics, Elections

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