Ohio 2014 Election

David Pepper

David Pepper for Attorney General

This year my I find myself voting for candidates from all of the parties in the state wide races, so I guess I qualify as an independent.  Here is a summary, followed by more substantial explanations of my choices.

  • John Kasich(R, incumbant)
  • Ed Fitzgerald (D)
  • Anita Rios (Grn)              none of the above.
Lieutenant Governor
  • Bob Fitrakis  (Grn)
  • Sharen Neuhardt (D)        responded to League of Women Voters.
  • Mary Taylor (R, i)
Attorney General
  • Mike Dewine (R, i)
  • David Pepper (D)            has good ideas. my most enthusiastic endorsement.
  • Bob Bridges (L)
  • John Patrick (D)
  • Dave Yost (R,  i)              currently doing a good job.
Secretary of State
  • Jon Husted (R, i)
  • Kevin Knedler (L)            the best candidate, the least partisan
  • Nina Turner (D)
  • Josh Mandel (R, i)
  • Connie Pillich (D)            highly qualified, honest.
Supreme Court
  • Sharon L. Kennedy (R, i)
  • Tom Letson (D)               not quite as bad as opponent
  • Judi French (R, i)
  • John P. O’Donnell  (D)    highly qualified, preferred

Anita-Rios      Governor: Anita Rios (Green Party)

Kasich, the incumbent Republican, has been competent.  He has not followed the idiotic wing of the Republicans, who spitefully refused to expand Medicaid just because it was part of Obamacare, or try to defeat the Common Core only because it was endorsed by the Federal government.  Like all governors, he has claimed credit for the improving economy that resulted from Obama’s policies.

However, when it comes to protecting the privileges of the rich, Kasich is a typical Republican.  After all, he is a former Lehman Brothers executive.  He lowers taxes, undermines collective bargaining for public employees, and undercuts the safety net.  He has also established JobsOhio, a program whose primary purpose might be dole out favors to his political supporters, but we will never know because they exempted it from any transparency or normal oversight.

Unfortunately, his Democratic challenger, Fitzgerald, has proven to be a poor choice.   His initial candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Eric Kearney had to withdraw because the business he owned had unpaid taxes. It also emerged that Fitzgerald drove for ten years without a drivers license.  This is something that you might expect from an absent minded professor, but not from a government administrator.  Much of his campaign staff soon resigned in the wake of more scandal. I cannot vote for a man who does not think that the rules apply to him.

That leaves the Green Party candidate, Anita Rios.  She has virtually no chance to win.  Like many third party choices, her candidacy effectively splits the vote, making both challengers less likely to win.  Nevertheless, she has my vote.

Sharon Neuhardt

Lieutenant Governor: Sharen Neuhardt (Democrat)

I have always relied on the Voter’s Guide from the League of Women Voters as an important source of unbiased information.  This year, only one of the candidates, the Democrat Sharen Neuhardt, responded to the questionnaire, so she gets my vote.

Attorney General: David Pepper (Democrat)

David Pepper has ideas about how to respond to the heroin epidemic and how to end “pay to play” in the attorney general’s office.  To find out more, look at my earlier post.

yost   Auditor: Dave Yost (Republican)

What you want from an auditor is good government, and a willingness to step away from the party line when it is called for.  Republican Dave Yost has done that.  When Kasich set up JobsOhio, Yost declared it “deserves a full audit,” but the party ignored his  advice and passed a law exempting this program from any oversight.  Yost has also had a good record holding charter schools accountable.  He deserves to keep the job.


Secretary of State:  Kevin Knedler (Libertarian)

The Fraternal Order of Police endorses Husted because he “bucked his party and insured that we got the NO side of the vote during SB 5 and established a strong protocol to insure our military gets the opportunity to vote.”   However, the national Republican Party has a concerted effort to depress the minority vote, and Jon Husted has been a part of this effort.  The Republicans reduced the hours of early voting, but the changes did not all pass muster in the courts.  What has resulted after the court ruling is a one-size-fits-all approach, which, though legal, ignores the very real differences between the needs of rural and urban voters.  Republicans have also been raising the specter of voter fraud to justify some efforts which have the effect of disenfranchising the poor.   In response, Jon Husted compiled a careful report in 2012, concluding that voter fraud exists, and that it is rare. In sum, Husted seems more reasonable than many in his party, but he is a partisan.

I would prefer the Secretary of State be one who wants to increase voter turn out.  Democrat Nina Turner would be such a person.  However, just like Husted, she is a partisan, and, though she is on my side, her efforts are likely to be seen as attempts to advance the cause of the Democrats, whether or not she is even handed.

Libertarian Kevin Knedler is the best choice.  Of course, he will be much more encouraging to third party candidates, but with ties to neither major party, he seems to be in a position to govern fairly.  In response to a question on voter fraud, he was the one who pointed to a much more real danger: the integrity of the voting machines and tabulating software.  He is the best chance to accomplish a goal that you would hope for from a Secretary of State:  “Let’s reduce the drama and increase the participation in the election process in Ohio.

Connie Pillich  Treasurer: Connie Pillich (Democrat)

Connie Pillich is the only Democrat on the to be endorsed by the Cincinnati Enquirer on the state ticket, and, in this case, they are quite convincing.  Pillich is well qualified, and they don’t trust Mandel:

 “Mandel’s tenure as treasurer has raised troubling questions about his ethics and ambitions. Just months after being elected treasurer, he launched a campaign for U.S. Senate … [raising] millions of dollars in what turned out to be one of the most expensive races ever for a Senate seat.”

In that Senate campaign, Mandel rose to national prominence in the brazenness of his disregard for the truth.

Thus, it is a low bar to clear.  Fortunately, Pillich has a solid background and a good reputation.

 Tom Letson John ODonnell

State Supreme Court:  Tom Letson (Democrat);  John P. O’Donnell  (Democrat)

I don’t like voting for justices of the court.  What you want is knowledge of the law, and fairness.  I am usually not in a position to judge, so I rely on sources that I trust. Judge4Yourself, which is directed at Cuyahoga county voters, seems to be such a source.

In this regard, the race between Sharon Kennedy and Tom Letson is discouraging.  Of the four bar associations evaluating the candidates at JudgerYourself, only one, the Ohio Women’s Bar Association, rated Kennedy as Good.  The others think she “lacks the minimal qualifications for judicial office”.  However, Letson only managed a “refused to participate” in most cases, and the only time he did participate, he was rated Not Qualified.  The Plain Dealer endorsed Kennedy.  I was ready to just go along with that until I looked into the detail: “Kennedy uncomfortably pushes the envelope of judicial canons”, disagreeing with Roe v. Wade on abortion, and on the recent direction of most courts concerning same sex marriage.  For the League of Women Voters,  Kennedy did not answer the questions.  Thus, reluctantly, I will vote for Letson.

Both Jude French and John P. O’Donnell fair much better at Judge4Yourself, receiving consistently high ratings.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer endorsed O’Donnell, in particular, citing a ruling that the Ohio Supreme Court made, with French voting with the majority, in favor of American Electric Power, who had made a substantial donation to French’s reelection campaign just before the ruling.  In this case, I find the Plain Dealer convincing.

vote   Whether you find my Democratic leaning reasoning convincing or not, vote.