2014 election

With less than five weeks to go before election day, the Democratic candidate for Ohio governor, Ed FitzGerald, trails Republican incumbent John Kasich by 22 percentage points, according to an independent poll released Wednesday.

Perhaps the worst news in Quinnipiac University’s poll of likely Ohio voters is that one out of four Democrats surveyed said they would vote for the Republican Kasich.

For the first time since 1978, Ohioans will vote for governor without having a chance to hear the two major party candidates go head-to-head in a debate.

That’s nine gubernatorial election cycles ago, folks.

Ohio’s 35 day period of early voting – beginning next Tuesday - will remain in effect after a three-judge panel of the Cincinnati-based Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the state of Ohio’s appeal Wednesday.

But Secretary of State Jon Husted said Wednesday he will ask the full 15-member federal appeals court to hear the state’s appeal of the decision. Time is running out for that, though, with early voting set to start in five days.

It is not yet clear whether the full appeals court will agree to hear the state’s appeal.

Howard Wilkinson

Trailing in the polls and the contest for campaign dollars, Ohio Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald brought most of the statewide Democratic ticket with him Tuesday morning for a rally in Cincinnati's Washington Park, one of the last stops on a eight-city bus tour of the state.

There were about 75 supporters who showed up for the morning event, but FitzGerald sees the “Tour to Restore Ohio” as a way of making up for the lack of financial resources and drumming up enthusiasm among the Democratic base in Ohio.

A the Hamilton County Board of Elections will hold a telethon-style event Tuesday and again on October 6th so voters can make sure they are up-to-date on their voter registration.

Hamilton County elections director Sherry Poland said the board will staff a phone bank from 5 to 6 p.m. on both days to help voters. Oct. 6 is the last day to register to vote in the November election.

“Voter Check is an opportunity for county residents to contact the board of elections to check up on their voter registration status,’’ Poland said.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked this morning with Maryanne Zeleznik about the legal battle over early voting in Ohio.

Ohio’s “Golden Week” of early voting is back.

So too are the 35 day early voting period and extended evening and weekend hours for in-person early voting.

All thanks to a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus of Cleveland; and a refusal by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati to put a stay on Economus’ decision.

Ohio Republicans are furious. Ohio Democrats are jubilant.

But, in the end, does it really matter?

Both sides think so, for different reasons, of course.

The League of Women Voters is sponsoring or co-sponsoring several candidate debates and an issues forum in Hamilton and Clermont counties over the next three weeks.

The public is invited to all the events. They include:

Hamilton County Common Pleas Court:

All candidates for common pleas judgeships have been invited to a voter education event Monday, Sept. 22 at the Cincinnati Bar Association, 5th floor, 225 E. Sixth St., Downtown. The forum runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. It is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area (LWVCA).

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about the upcoming judicial elections in Hamilton County.

The Hamilton County Democratic Party is getting better these days at something they used to struggle with – recruiting candidates to run for judgeships.

On Nov. 4, we will see if they are getting any better at actually electing them.

This year, there are 13 judgeships for election in Hamilton County –a seat on the Ohio First District Court of Appeals, eight in the general division of Common Pleas Court, and one each in the juvenile, domestic relations, probate and drug court divisions of the Common Pleas Court.

Seven of them are contested races.

A Cincinnati charter amendment to remove obsolete and ambiguous language from the city's 88-year-old city charter will be on the November ballot.

Cincinnati City Council voted unanimously today for the changes recommended by a 24-member Charter Review Task Force. Council needed to act at today's meeting so the Hamilton County Board of Elections can certify it to the ballot at its meeting Monday.

Four years ago, Jim Tarbell, the former Cincinnati city council member and vice mayor, took on Republican Chris Monzel for a seat on the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners.

His name was on the ballot as the endorsed Democratic Party candidate.

And he lost, taking 44 percent of the vote to Monzel’s 56 percent.

Well, Tarbell’s back.

And, this time, his name won’t be on the ballot.

Tarbell filed paperwork with the Hamilton County Board of Elections last Monday to run as a write-in candidate.

Former Cincinnati city council member and vice mayor Jim Tarbell is running as a write-in candidate for county commissioner against Republican incumbent Chris Monzel.

Tarbell filed the required form and paid an $80 fee today to become a write-in candidate, according to Sally Krisel, deputy director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about what is like to be a high profile race this fall because of the names involved - the race for Hamilton County probate judge.

Something is likely to happen in this year’s November election in Hamilton County that is pretty much unheard of.

The most competitive race in the county might be the race for the open seat of Hamilton County Probate Court judge.

There are others that might generate some fairly fierce competition, but there is nothing quite like the probate court race.

WVXU political reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with Maryanne Zeleznik this morning about the Ohio governor's race and the recent problems of Democratic candidate Ed FitzGerald; and how he is trying to get his campaign back on track.

Is the ship sinking for Ohio Democrats in the governor’s race?

Democratic Party leaders insist that it is not, but there is no question that the ship has been taking on water at an alarming rate in the past few weeks.

And the fear among some Democrats is that if their candidate for governor, Ed FitzGerald, sinks under the waves, he might take the Democrats’ down-ticket statewide candidates – for attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, and auditor – down to the bottom of the deep blue sea with him.

An additional 11.2 mill tax levy for the Lockland Local School District went down to a resounding defeat in Tuesday’s election, while voters in the Lebanon City School district overwhelming passed a renewal tax levy.

In Mount Healthy, a renewal of a tax levy for fire and emergency medical service passed easily, with nearly 94 percent voting in favor of it. Voter turnout in Mount Healthy was about 6.5 percent.

In Lockland, nearly 64 percent of those who cast ballots voted “no” on the tax levy. The voter turnout in the Lockland District was about 15 percent.

Tuesday is an election day in Ohio, but relatively few voters in southwest Ohio will have anything to vote on.

The polls won’t be open in Butler and Clermont counties, because there are no issues on the ballot.

In Hamilton County, only voters in Mount Healthy and the Lockland Local School District will be going to the polls. In Lockland, voters will decide an additional 11.2 mill tax levy for the schools. In Mount Healthy, voters will be asked to approve the renewal of a five mill tax levy for fire and emergency medical services.

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