Primary Deadline Looming; Governor, Party Chairs Talk Major Issues in 2014

It appears that Gov. John Kasich will not have an opponent in the May Republican primary. Tea Party activists say that they haven’t been able to put together a team to gather the 1,000 signatures required by February 5 to be on the spring ballot. Meanwhile, Democrats are still waiting to hear from Todd Portune. The Hamilton County Commissioner hasn’t made any announcements, other than to say he’s having a hard time finding someone to run as his lieutenant governor. The brutal weather this winter has cost many school districts all of their calamity days. Now lawmakers are proposing letting school districts take up to four additional weather-related days off this year, following a call from the governor. A state investigation into Ohio’s largest public school district, the Columbus City Schools, has uncovered years of alleged rule-breaking in order to improve its status.

This week brought an annual event that’s a favorite of political reporters and watchers - the Ohio Associated Press’ Legislative Preview. One of the headliners was Gov. John Kasich, who talked about jobs, but even more about education, and mentioned poverty quite often as well. He was also asked about the state’s big heroin problem, about the apparently troubled execution of Dennis McGuire, and about the latest proposal for a severance tax on oil and natural gas drillers. And he talked about the State of the State speech in Medina on February 24 and the mid-budget-cycle update. But he was very brief when asked about political issues such as abortion and "right to work".

Politics and the upcoming election may not have been what Kasich wanted to talk about, but it was all politics when the chairs of the state’s major political parties took over after lunch. Ohio Democratic Party chairman Chris Redfern and Ohio Republican Party chairman Matt Borges picked up where they left off when they were on "The State of Ohio" in October with another fiery debate about the upcoming election.

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