What if a gubernatorial candidate held a news conference and nobody came?
That’s almost what happened to Democrat Ed FitzGerald last week. Only two reporters of a Statehouse press corps of dozens showed up at Ohio Democratic Party headquarters to hear the Cuyahoga County executive and Franklin County Commissioner John O’Grady talk about “the ongoing federal government shutdown, threat of default, and crucial bipartisan negotiations.”
(NOTE: FitzGerald visited Norwalk on Saturday to talk with area Democrats. Look for a story about his visit in Monday's Norwalk Reflector.)
In case you were wondering where he stood, FitzGerald said in an email earlier that day, “ Republicans are willing to hurt real people if their political demands aren’t met. I’ve had enough."
FitzGerald urged supporters to sign an online petition: “Tell Speaker Boehner that you’ve had enough. It’s time to end this hostage crisis.”
The letter protesting Gov. John Kasich’s decision to take Medicaid expansion to the state Controlling Board was signed by 40 Ohio House Republicans.
Wait, hasn’t everyone been reporting just 39 signatures?
Yes, because one of the signers — Stephanie Kunze — crossed her name off the list.
Why? An aide returned Reporter Jim Siegel’s call and said the Hilliard rep didn’t have time to talk.
The sudden focus on the little-known group of seven on the Controlling Board has brought intense pressure on the members, especially Sen. Chris Widener, R-Springfield, perceived as the swing vote and thus most likely to approve the expansion.
Here’s the Ohio Liberty Coalition’s analysis of Widener: He “comes from what The Dispatch describes as a ‘politically centrist’ district and has the added benefit of being term-limited. By typing these characteristics into the RINO-decoder, we find Widener is the most likely candidate to vote with Kasich, Obama, Democrats, socialized medicine proponents, and their left-leaning constituency.”
RINO, of course, stands for Republican In Name Only.
The ruckus over Kasich’s attempted end-run around the full legislature has obscured an interesting question: Is the Controlling Board itself constitutional?
A prominent Republican told one of our reporters a few weeks ago that he thinks the issue is an open question.
And House Speaker William G. Batchelder has been reminding folks recently that he had concerns about the board decades ago.
The issue could come up as part of the anticipated lawsuit from conservatives if the board approves funding for the Medicaid expansion on Monday.
Darrel Rowland - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)
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