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Democratic Chances of Taking Control of Statehouse May Hinge on NE Ohio Race

At a recent candidates' night in Hudson, there was a lot more heat than light.

Here's Republican Richard Nero, the incumbent state representative of Ohio's 42nd District, professing outrage over an ad put out by the state Democratic party.

NERO: "As a political newcomer, I am one of those, like many, who is fed up with the willingness to lie at any cost, to do whatever it takes to win."

The ad accused Nero of "fiddling" in Las Vegas while a key vote on the Great Lakes Compact went on without him. Nero said the ad was false, and that he was present for the key vote. And, he said the ad was insulting to Italians, with its photo-shopped depiction of Nero in a toga and laurel headdress - a la the Roman Emperor.

Nero then took his own shot at his Democratic opponent, Mike Moran, saying Moran is beholden to organized labor and would support a state law to force paid sick days that would kill small business.

Moran claimed he didn't know about the ad until the day it came out. And, he said, Nero's claim about him is false.

MORAN: "Folks there's the truth and there are lies. This guy is full of it. Number one, I don't support the paid sick days and never did."

The heated rhetoric between Nero and Moran is a signal of what's at stake in a handful of Ohio districts. Cliff Schecter, a consultant for the Democratic Congressional Caucus Campaign says internal polling shows the Nero/Moan race is a little more than a dead heat in their favor -- and that Republicans' slim seven-seat majority is the house is faltering.

SCHECTER: We're very bullish on that right now and feel like we have a great shot at taking four, perhaps even more than that. This is one of our top targets."

Both men are currently working in their first public office. Nero, who has a background in health care consulting, was appointed to the seat when it was vacated in June. Moran, an attorney who works in legal publishing, was elected to Hudson City Council in 2005, and last year was elected council president.
Kymberli Hagelberg, 90.3.