Ohio politics

The bell may be tolling for Ohio’s bellwether status in presidential elections

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Ohio has an enviable record of being on the winning side of Presidential elections. Since 1896, it has voted for the winner in every election, except when it voted for Republicans Thomas Dewey in 1952 and Richard Nixon in 1960, both extremely close elections. Author Kyle Kondik said those bellwether days may well be over. Recently, Kondik, the editor of “Sabo’s Crystal Ball,” the University of Virginia Center for Politics’ newsletter, gave a local history award talk at Jerome Library on the Bowling Green State University campus. He was being honored for his 2016 book “Bellwether: Why Ohio Picks the President.” Kondik said he may have written the book just in time. The book covers the period from 1896 through 2012. And while Ohio went for Donald Trump by a comfortable margin, the election points to changes that have Ohio out of step with the national electorate. When looking at a state’s predictive power, he said, how closely the winner’s margin of victory in the popular vote in the state matches the national margin of victory must also be considered. Over the years, Ohio has reliably been within 5 percentage points of the national popular vote total.  In 2016 Trump won Ohio by 8 percentage points, 51.3 percent to 43.2 percent for Hillary Clinton. However nationally Trump trailed Clinton by 2 percentage points in the popular vote, 46.1 percent to 48.2 percent. This, along with the changing demographics of Ohio and the nation, may being signaling an end to the state’s bellwether status. Kondik said that the state’s electorate is less ethnically diverse that the nation as a whole, with 80 percent of its population white, compared 70 percent nationally. The state also has fewer college graduates than the national average.  Trump did extremely well with whites with no college degrees, a dominant bloc in the Ohio electorate. But, Kondik noted, just because these voters don’t have college degrees “doesn’t mean they’re necessarily poor.” Clinton lost areas that had voted for Barrack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and even in places such as Youngstown where she won, she won by far fewer votes. Clinton saw “a huge erosion in important vote centers,” he said. The question is whether they voted for a third party or just didn’t show up. African-American support, Kondik said, was weaker for Clinton than for Obama. Nationally Clinton did do better than Obama in California, Atlanta, and cities in Texas. “She traded useful votes in the Midwest for not so useful votes in the Sunbelt,” he said. Ohio has economic issues that played a factor. Aside from a few places such as Delaware County, north of Columbus, much of the state has stagnant or decreasing population. Much of the state’s population was born here, with few moving in. The result is “brain drain.” And those stresses are felt by the electorate. “You can interpret the Trump vote as a cry for help,” he said. Still the final word on the 2016 election is not in. “There’s so much about this election we haven’t worked out.” So why did Ohio earn this bellwether status in the first place? Kondik gave several reasons dating back to the state’s founding. Ohio, the 17th state to join the union, was considered the first American…


“Theresa Gavarone is a puppet” -Laura Meyer

Rubber stamper? Puppet? Representative? Who will Theresa Gavarone be? Rubber stamp indicates that Gavarone would give automatic approval. She is not a rubber stamper as she admitted that the Republican Party didn’t ask for her approval or allow her to see the nasty campaign mailers against Kelly Wicks. This admission indicates that she would be a puppet controlled by Republicans in Columbus – worse than a rubber stamper! We are northwest Ohio. We need a voice, someone who represents us. For me, that means Kelly Wicks, a true representative. Laura Meyer Pemberville


“Negative campaigning by Gavarone is disappointing” – Rick Busselle

Bowling Green is a nice community. Wood County is a nice part of Ohio and a nice part of America. Our schools are good and our roads get plowed when they need it. Our local economies are pretty strong. I think life is good around here because people are mostly honest, hard-working, and committed to their communities. That’s why the latest mailer supporting Theresa Gavarone is disappointing. It represents a negativity and deception that is more akin to the values of politicians in Washington or Columbus than our values, and frankly, it doesn’t belong here. This isn’t the first deception from Columbus involving candidate Gavarone, only the most visible. With little acknowledgment Gavarone was appointed to Tim Brown’s vacated seat and is now being paid several month’s portion of a $60,584 state salary. We’re paying her, apparently, merely to establish name recognition because the House has met only once since Brown resigned. That was to appoint Gavarone, and it won’t meet again until after the election. She can somewhat honestly claim that the pointless appointment was a Columbus decision, and she was just following party orders. But the mailer is just more deception from Columbus where the super-majority in the State House claims to cut our taxes when it’s really just shifting the costs of schools, roads, and basic public services to county, village and city budgets, forcing increases in property and municipal taxes. We should reject the deception and negativity of the current state government. The only way to get better government is to elect better representatives. I’m voting for Kelly Wicks because he’s honest and hard-working, just like most of the people I know around here. Rick Busselle Bowling Green


Anti-Wicks survey calls have a nasty ring to them

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The campaign for the State House District 3 seat has already taken a nasty turn. Residents have received calls by a Texas-based research firm that started as a straight-forward election survey until it started discussing the race between Democrat Kelly Wicks and Republican Theresa Charters Gavarone. Then, said Rick Busselle, a local resident who received a call, the questions turned negative. Busselle, who sometimes teaches surveying, said he only continuing listening out of professional interest. The caller asked a series of questions and inquired if this made the respondent more or less likely to support one of the two candidates. Starting with Wicks, the caller cited the candidate’s support for a higher federal minimum wage, adding the contention that it would cost jobs and kill the economy, a highly debatable conclusion. Noting Wicks’ support for Planned Parenthood, the caller referenced a discredited story that the women’s health service sold body parts from aborted fetuses. When it asked about Gavarone’s positions, the spin was all positive. Wicks said he heard about the calls from people reporting they’d been called “and disgusted by the Trump-style tactics coming from our new state representative.” Wicks, who owns Grounds for Thought coffee shop with his wife, Laura, said he wasn’t surprised by the turn, though that it came so early was a little surprising. “In two previous campaigns have been subject to lies innuendo about myself, my family, the shop,” he said. Wicks has previously run for the State House and last year for Bowling Green mayor. The calls are “trotting out” more of the same, he said. Wicks said that this time he decided “to stand up” and go public with his complaints. He’s been working too hard for the community to let it pass. “This is one of the reasons people are disgusted with politics, and why it’s so hard to get good people to run for office.” While not wanting to justify the misinformation in the calls, Wicks asserted that he does support mass transportation because it was good for people, communities and business. As to Planned Parenthood, he said: “Planned Parenthood provides vital work in this community. It’s unconscionable when Ohio has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country for Republicans to work to shut down health clinics that people need to solve this problem.” For her part, Theresa Charters Gavarone said she had no knowledge of the push polling, and only learned of it Wednesday at noontime when a reporter called her. “I don’t know anything about it,” she said. Gavarone said she was unaware of what issues were raised in the calls and didn’t know who was behind it. Asked what she would do to get it stopped, she said: “I don’t know where to begin.” Gavarone said she had been the victim of dirty tactics as well. Someone had set up a fake Twitter account using her photo with fake quotations. She was able to get it removed. “I want to run a clean campaign,” Gavarone said. Wicks insists that the local GOP had a hand in the survey calls, though they may deny it. Mike Marsh, the Republican County chairman, said the local party had no role in the calls. Both Wicks and Gavarone are “decent people” who…