PPP Poll: Ohio Governor’s Race Nearly Tied as “Democrats continue to have an excellent chance at a pick up next year”

John Kasich at 40%, Ed FitzGerald at 38%, Libertarian Charlie Earl at 6%

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Today, in a poll commissioned by Freedom to Marry Ohio, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and Governor John Kasich continue to be locked in a near dead heat going into 2014. The poll can be downloaded here, while an accompanying memo is available here.

The survey conducted between December 6th and 8th of 1,011 Ohio voters by Public Policy Polling (PPP), one of the most accurate pollsters in America, found that if the election were held today, John Kasich would carry 40% of the vote, followed by Ed FitzGerald at 38%, and Libertarian Charlie Earl at 6%. In the poll, FitzGerald held a 13% lead over Kasich with Independent voters.

In a separate memo released on the poll, Tom Jensen, Director of PPP stated “… Democrats continue to have an excellent chance at a pick up next year.”

“With more than 427,000 Ohioans out of work and the state’s unemployment worse than the nation’s for the first time in three years, voters are tired of Governor Kasich’s policies just benefitting the rich,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern. “This poll shows what every struggling middle-class family already knows: John Kasich is vulnerable going into 2014 because under his leadership Ohio’s economy is headed in the wrong direction while the rest of the nation recovers.”


Join us in celebration of David Duffey

As we mourn the loss of former operations director David Duffey, the longest-serving member of our staff and a true friend to Democrats across the country, I wanted to let you know about an event this weekend.

This coming Saturday, the Ohio Democratic Party will host a celebration of David Duffey at 2:00 PM in the OAPSE room at our headquarters in Columbus.

Friends and coworkers, both past and present, are invited to join and reminisce about David and his 25 years dedicated to unabashedly supporting progressive causes. We anticipate members of David’s family will also be in attendance.

ODP will host the event, and several of David’s friends and coworkers will also be invited to speak.


David’s friends and coworkers

A celebration of David Duffey

Saturday, December 14
2:00 PM (Before the Holiday Party scheduled for 4:00 PM)

Ohio Democratic Party HQ
340 E. Fulton Street
Columbus, Ohio

Statement on the Passing of David Duffey, Ohio Democratic Party Director of Operations

Democrats Mourn Loss of Duffey, 25-year Member of ODP Staff

COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Ohio Democratic Party announces with a heavy heart that David L. Duffey, the longest-serving member of staff and a true friend to Democrats across the country, passed away this morning.

Raised in Silver Lake, Duffey was a graduate of the University of Toledo School of Law. A lifelong Ohioan, Duffey’s career of service in Democratic politics began in 1981 as the Executive Director of the Lucas County Democratic Party.

Hired in 1988 by former Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Jim Ruvolo, Duffey fought for progressive causes for more than 25 years as the director of operations for the State Party.

“Without reservation, David dedicated both his personal and professional life to furthering our Democratic values each and every day,” said Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern. “David was a friend to generations of Democrats across our state, and he will be sorely missed in the days ahead.

Arrangements are pending.

JobsOhio Quietly Releases Disappointing Third Quarter Report

Ohio Unemployment Exceeds National Rate as JobsOhio Numbers Hit Record Low

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Late last week, Governor Kasich’s controversial JobsOhio broke from tradition and posted a disappointing third quarter report without any public fanfare.

Released without notification to the press and public, the third quarter report paints an alarming picture, showing that even JobsOhio’s self-reported, unverifiable metrics have fallen well below their average quarter levels.

“It’s no wonder Governor Kasich’s controversial JobsOhio buried this embarrassing report,” said Jerid Kurtz, a spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party. “With Ohio’s unemployment rate worsening to exceed the national rate for the first time in three years, this report shows the Governor is doing less and less to help get Ohioans back to work.”

In the third quarter report, JobsOhio’s self-reported “total jobs payroll” dropped more than 40% from their previous average quarterly payroll. Self-reported “total new jobs” also slipped nearly 18% below their quarterly average, while the “total number of projects” also fell 10%.

These self-reported statistics come on the heels of a recent report by the Toledo Blade showing that “many of the jobs State of Ohio says it creates don’t exist.”

“The rest of the nation continues to recover, but under Governor Kasich our state has fallen to 44th in the nation in job growth and 427,000 Ohioans are out of work,” said Kurtz. “Our economy is headed in the wrong direction and instead of helping middle-class families, JobsOhio seems more interested in helping itself. Ohioans deserve better.”

Millions in Expenses at Gov. Kasich’s Controversial JobsOhio Called Into Question

Reports Reveal Credit Card Abuse, Hundreds of Thousands in Tax Dollars Spent Without Explanation or Invoices

 COLUMBUS, OHIO – Today, Auditor Yost quietly released an audit of the State’s Development Services Administration (DSA), calling into question millions in expenses at Governor Kasich’s controversial JobsOhio.

As Ohio sinks to 44th in the nation in job growth, an audit of public money paid to JobsOhio and its allied organization revealed credit card abuse, a lack of financial oversight, and that millions in tax dollars had been spent without explanation or invoices.

“From credit card abuse to the expense of hundreds of thousands in tax dollars without explanation or invoices, Governor Kasich’s controversial JobsOhio is facing serious problems that question its effectiveness,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Jerid Kurtz. “We’re 44th in the nation in job growth and 419,000 Ohioans are out of work, this is just more proof that Governor Kasich’s policies aren’t working.”

Systematic abuses of tax dollars at JobsOhio and its allies included:

JobsOhio employees used JobsOhio charge cards for personal expenses without reimbursing the organization. [The Ohio Auditor’s Report on JobsOhio, Page 7, 11/1/13]

  • JobsOhio billed the state for more than $860,000 without explanation or details to verify the amount was correct.  [Ohio Auditor’s Report on DSA, Page 9, Released 11/21/13]
  • The JobsOhio Beverage System expensed $165,245 in tax dollars without documentation on where or how the money was spent.  [Ohio Auditor’s Report on DSA, Page 16, Released 11/21/13]
  • The Administration Was Unable To Prove Public, Competitive Bidding Or Written Agreement Requirements Were Followed for More than $5.2 Million in Transactions Related to JobsOhio. [Ohio Auditor’s Report on DSA, Page 10-11, Released 11/21/13]
  • JobsOhio and its Partner Organization Failed to Submit More Than a Year’s Worth of Comprehensive Financial Reports Regarding Grant Payments As Required By Its Agreement. [Ohio Auditor’s Report on DSA, Page 12, Released 11/21/13]


 JobsOhio Employees Used JobsOhio Charge Cards For Personal Expenses; Failed To Reimburse The Organization According to The Ohio Auditor’s Report on JobsOhio “JobsOhio’s Expense Process Summary indicates corporate charge cards should not be used for personal   expense other than business related personal expenses and any such costs shall be promptly reimbursed   to JobsOhio by the employee. However, there was no evidence of reimbursement to JobsOhio for   personal expenses in five instances. The amount of these expenses was inconsequential, but continued   unreimbursed personal use of corporate charge cards could lead to significant misuse of JobsOhio funds   over time if proper control is not exercised. We recommend JobsOhio perform detailed reviews of corporate charge card expenses to identify   personal expenses charged to them and diligently pursue reimbursement from employees for these   expenses in a timely manner.  ” [The Ohio Auditor’s Report on JobsOhio, 11/1/13]


The JobsOhio Beverage System [OBDC] Spent $165,245 In Public Money, Failed To Document Where Or How The Money Was Spent received “Of the 29 payments made by OBDC, 17 payments totaling $165,245 were not supported by an invoice or other detailed documentation.”  [Ohio Auditor’s Report on DSA, Page 16, Released 11/21/13]

 JobsOhio Billed the State for More Than $860,000 Without Any Explanation or Details To Verify the Amount Was Correct. According to the report, “Three vouchers totaling $866,732 included payments to JobsOhio for invoices submitted by JobsOhio stating an amount due related to economic development and marketing services (or similar language) for the month. However, there was no detail provided or explanations included with the JobsOhio invoice to indicate how the amounts were determined. Therefore, we could not determine if the amounts paid were correct. (see items 22, 24, and 25 detailed on Schedule A).” [Ohio Auditor’s Report on DSA, Page 9, Released 11/21/13]

The Kasich Administration Was Unable To Prove Public, Competitive Bidding Or Written Agreement Requirements Were Followed for More than $5.2 Million in Transactions Related to JobsOhio. According to the report, “Based on our inspection of the expenditure information, 23 of the 25 vouchers were disbursements OBDC/JOBS made directly to vendors for goods or services. There were19 vendors, with transactions totaling $553,417, who met one or more of these procurement requirements after July 5, 2011.  In addition, there were 21 vendors, with transactions totaling $5,265,868, who met one or more of these procurement requirements after July 5, 2011. We requested the procurement documentation related to these vendors/transactions, but DSA indicated such documentation did not exist. Therefore, we were not able to determine if OBDC/JOBS complied with the procurement requirements stated in the Grant Agreement. We requested the procurement documentation related to these vendors/transactions, but DSA indicated such documentation did not exist. Therefore, we were not able to determine if OBDC/JOBS complied with the procurement requirements stated in the Grant Agreement.” [Ohio Auditor’s Report on DSA, Page 10-11, Released 11/21/13]

OBDC/JOBS Failed to Submit More Than a Year’s Worth of Comprehensive Financial Reports Regarding Grant Payments As Required By Its Agreement. According to the report, “We determined that 12 detailed monthly financial reports were submitted to DSA for December 2010 through November 2011. Based on the Grant Agreement, as amended, financial reports in a format approved by the grantor were required through December 2012. DSA indicated that, starting in December 2011 (after the certification letters referenced in 3. below were eliminated), they considered the transmittal letters (which were also provided prior to December 2011) and the supporting documentation submitted with the invoices to serve as the financial reports. However, these letters provided only summary information related to the grant. They did not provide the detailed reporting of the budget, year-to-date, and remaining balance amounts by project and line item which were included on the detailed financial reports submitted prior to December 2011.” [Ohio Auditor’s Report on DSA, Page 12, Released 11/21/13]


Speed of Business? Gov. Kasich’s Controversial JobsOhio Fails to Stem Lockheed Martin Layoffs

JobsOhio “aware” of impending Akron layoffs, moved too slowly to gauge potential assistance 

Today, Governor Kasich’s controversial JobsOhio revealed it was aware of the impending layoff of approximately 500 jobs from Lockheed Martin’s Akron facilities, but moved too slowly to determine whether any assistance could stem the job loss.

Lt. Governor Mary Taylor acknowledged JobsOhio had been researching a package of options to help avoid the layoffs, but failed to move with the proper urgency to be effective.

As Ohio sinks to 44th in the nation in job growth and Governor Kasich openly acknowledges our state’s economy has “stalled,” it’s clear JobsOhio simply is not working.

Locheed Martin to close most Akron operations by 2015; Ohio knew of possibility in October

Plain Dealer // By John Funk

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, in an afternoon press teleconference, said the state had become aware in October of the possibility that the Akron division could be among the affected facilities. But she noted that the company at that point gave the state the impression that it would take months to complete the evaluation of its operations.

Taylor said the Kasich administration, working with Jobs Ohio,  the Greater Akron Chamber, Team NEO and others, had been working to develop a package of cost-cutting measures to convince Lockheed Martin that the Akron facility could be competitive when compared to the company’s facilities in other states.

“We were not talking about putting together a package of millions of dollars,” explained Kristi Tanner, managing director for manufacturing for JobsOhio. “We were trying to approach this in terms of how can we help build a business case for Akron.”



PPP Poll: FitzGerald & Kasich Tied at 41%, Libertarian Earns 6%

Kasich faces trouble with base while Josh Mandel already falling behind

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Today, the Ohio Democratic Party released a poll commissioned through Public Policy Polling (PPP), one of the most accurate pollsters in America, painting a dire picture for Governor John Kasich’s re-election prospects.

In the first poll to include Libertarian candidate Charlie Earl in the gubernatorial matchup, Ed FitzGerald and John Kasich were tied at 41% apiece, with the Libertarian gaining 6% of the vote. The poll also showed Air Force veteran and State Representative Connie Pillich leading scandal-plagued State Treasurer Josh Mandel, 47% to 43%.

The poll and accompanying memo by PPP can be viewed by clicking here.                                                            

The poll revealed Governor Kasich is experiencing significant backlash from his own base moving into the 2014 elections. Among Republicans, 26% expressed disapproval with Governor Kasich’s job performance, with only 55% of his base approving.

“John Kasich spent the last three years turning his back on the middle class, so it’s no wonder voters are abandoning him in favor of former FBI agent and current Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern. “This poll shows that even Republicans are looking for alternatives to re-electing John Kasich, which explains why the Governor spent the last month making it harder for Libertarian Charlie Earl to get on the ballot. And after months of scandal involving his federally-indicted donor, it’s clear Ohioans are tired of Josh Mandel as they move to support Connie Pillich for State Treasurer.”


MEMO: A Bad Night for Gov. Kasich and Friends


To:                   Interested Parties

Fr:                    Jerid Kurtz, Ohio Democratic Party

Re:                   A Bad Night for Governor Kasich and Friends

Date:               November 5, 2013

The 2013 election can be summed up in five words: “Overwhelming losses for Kasich’s friends.”

While Republicans suffered significant losses nationwide in traditional strongholds like Virginia, Ohio voters also punished the GOP at the local level for their recent attacks on workers, women, and push to shift the tax burden on to the middleclass.

In a statewide wave, voters stripped the Governor and his allies from control of any of Ohio’s ten most populous cities for the first time in nearly five years. The last time Ohio Democrats experienced similar success at the local level was in 2007, foreshadowing historic presidential and statehouse victories a year later.

As we enter the 2014 elections, Kasich is at a distinct disadvantage of strong local leaders in key regions poised to defend his unpopular positions.

TOLEDO: Gov. Kasich’s “buddy” Mayor Mike Bell gets the boot

In 2009, Independent Mike Bell defeated the endorsed Democratic candidate for Mayor. And following the election of John Kasich, Bell gained notoriety for promoting Senate Bill 5 in a statewide television ad.

Two years later, the Lucas County Republican Party rewarded Bell with their endorsement, while Governor Kasich called him “my buddy” and seemingly discouraged potential Republican challengers. Because of the Mayor’s close relationship with John Kasich, Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern stated defeating Mike Bell was the Party’s “top goal” in 2013.

Tonight, Mike Bell lost re-election due to his relationship with Governor Kasich, and his callous support for Senate Bill 5.

CUYAHOGA FALLS: Thirty-year incumbent & Kasich supporter defeated

Nearly thirty years ago, Cuyahoga Falls first sent Don Robart to the mayor’s office. Since then, he’s been an outspoken advocate for the values Governor Kasich holds near and dear.

In his 2009 State of the City Address, Mayor Robart mused about “eliminat[ing] public sector unions”, and two years later he was one of the first elected officials to endorse Senate Bill 5. Mayor Robart unequivocally stated that John Kasich is “the best governor we’ve had in my lifetime!”

In a narrow vote hinging on a margin of approximately 2.6%, Cuyahoga Falls voters sent one of Governor Kasich’s most outspoken supporters packing, replacing him with Councilman Don Walters.

DAYTON: GOP strikes out – twice

Four years ago, the Montgomery County Republican Party endorsed Independent Gary Leitzell in his successful campaign for mayor. Two years later, Leitzell initially refused to reject Senate Bill 5, going so far as to urge compromise on Governor Kasich’s chief legislative proposal.

Following Leitzell’s failure to move on to the 2013 General Election, Republicans jumped ship to support AJ Wagner against Nan Whaley, an outspoken critic of Governor Kasich.

Despite the GOP’s best effort, Mayor-Elect Whaley won with an overwhelming 12% margin, lending Democrats another powerful voice to articulate the case against Governor Kasich in bellwether Montgomery County.

These 2013 victories are historic.

Not only did Democrats win in all regions of the state – North, South, East and West, but Democrats also won in all parts of the state – urban, suburban, exurban, and rural areas.

For the first in nearly two decades, Democrats took control of Newark City Council, electing four councilpersons in a region that has historically challenged the Party.

Ohioans again rejected the principals of Senate Bill 5 by overwhelmingly defeating Cincinnati Local Issue 4 by 31,497 votes, or a margin of 56.64%. This initiative was crafted by the same masterminds that helped Governor Kasich fashion and sell Senate Bill 5, and would have defunded public pensions and stripped unions of their ability to bargain for members’ retirement security.

Democrats successfully defended Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Steubenville Mayor Domenick Mucci, Jr., Lima Mayor David Berger, and maintained control of the Youngstown and Cincinnati Mayor’s Offices with the elections of John McNally and John Cranley.

In preparation for 2014, the Ohio Democratic Party made substantial investments of time and resources in this year’s local races to put the Governor and his friends on defense, including:

  • Sending more than 2,000,000 pieces of mail in support of our candidates and issues.
  • Making more than 553,000 voter contact attempts in communities across the state.

The State Party also used the off-cycle election to build our infrastructure in advance of the battles to come.

During this year’s municipal elections, 772 individual users added more than one million data points to the same state-of-the-art Ohio voter file Democrats used last year to defeat Mitt Romney — and will use next year to send John Kasich, Josh Mandel, and the rest of their friends packing.

As Republicans reel from tonight’s losses and take steps to protect Governor Kasich – such as pushing new laws to eliminate third-party ballot access – Democrats are well poised to ride this success into 2014.


Paid for by the Ohio Democratic Party, Chris Redfern, Chairman
340 East Fulton Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215






Scathing report takes aim at Kasich’s controversial economic development program

Cites “grossly exaggerated job creation claims,” appearance of “pay to play,” and resistance to basic oversight

COLUMBUS – Governor John Kasich’s controversial JobsOhio program received top-billing in a report released today by Good Jobs First, a non-profit, non-partisan research center that seeks to make economic development subsidies more accountable and effective. The report, titled “Creating Scandal Instead of Jobs,” offers a deep dive of JobsOhio’s troubled history, specifically citing its institutional lack of transparency, cronyism, and ineffectiveness relative to states that have not privatized economic development efforts. The full report, which is well worth a read, can be viewed HERE.


Three years ago, newly elected governors in several states, most notably Wisconsin and Ohio, decided that the best way to create jobs was to transfer economic development business-recruitment functions to “public-private partnerships.” These experiments in privatization have, by and large, become costly failures. Privatized development corporations have issued grossly exaggerated job creation claims. They have created “pay to play” appearances of insider dealing and conflicts of interest. They have paid executives larger salaries than governors. They have resisted basic oversight. [Executive Summary]

JobsOhio, created in 2011 at the urging of newly elected Gov. John Kasich, has been plagued by accountability and transparency problems since the start. There have also been numerous political controversies, which is not surprising given that it is often difficult to distinguish between the agency and the governor’s office. JobsOhio’s first annual report featured Gov. Kasich prominently, and statements regarding the agency are as likely to be issued from his office as they are from JobsOhio itself. [JobsOhio, p5]

While JobsOhio was ramping up, the state continued to award large subsidy packages to some major Ohio employers that threatened to leave the state. The headquarters of American Greetings Corporation, Inc., Diebold, Inc., and Bob Evans were awarded over $200 million in combined subsidies in the spring of 2011 in controversial deals that were criticized for fueling suburban sprawl and succumbing to job blackmail. (Some of these deals ultimately failed to go through.) During his 2011 State of the State speech, Gov. Kasich announced that the state had already “clawed back” $900,000 from subsidized companies that failed to meet job commitments. The statement was called misleading by Politifact Ohio, which determined that while notices of intent to recapture funds had been distributed, no funds had actually yet been recovered by the state. [JobsOhio, p6]

In an analysis of public funds contributed to the young agency, the Columbus Dispatch identified a number discrepancies between what JobsOhio reported it had received in start-up funding from the state, and what was reported in a federal tax filing by a subsidiary of JobsOhio. Multi-million dollar discrepancies were also identified between documents supplied pursuant to a public records request by the Dispatch and the agency’s annual report. [JobsOhio, p8]

Privatization favors big business when small business deserves more help. The privatization structures we describe here, including the increasing use of corporate seats for sale on governing or advisory boards, absolutely favor large businesses that have the money and executive staff time to pay and play at such levels. But small businesses already get short shrift in economic development resource allocation, and they are still suffering the most in the Great Recession’s aftermath. [Policy Conclusions, p33]

There is no evidence that public agencies are not “nimble”… Amidst lingering high unemployment, painful budget cuts and struggling small business prospects, taxpayers deserve job-creation agencies that are transparent, ethical and effective. Privatization delivers none of these qualities. Amidst lingering high unemployment, painful budget cuts and struggling small business prospects, taxpayers deserve job-creation agencies that are transparent, ethical and effective. Privatization delivers none of these qualities. [Policy Conclusions, p33]

The full report can be viewed HERE.


#KasichEconomy: The Collapse of Lehman Brothers, 5 Years Later

Mourning the 5-year Anniversary of Lehman Brothers’ Collapse, and Reflecting on John Kasich’s Economic Outlook that Crashed the Economy

Gov. Kasich’s business model literally crashed the American economy, cost countless jobs, and evicted millions from their homes – the same economic model he’s brought to Ohio.

COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Democratic Party today is mourning the five-year anniversary of Lehman Brothers’ collapse, which occurred on September 15, 2008, and was – at the time – the largest bankruptcy in American history. Between January 2001 and September 15, 2008, Kasich worked for Lehman Brothers, earning a lavish salary in his role as managing director. His job was to maximize profits.

Now as Governor, John Kasich seems to believe that while his job title has changed, his job hasn’t: maximizing profits for the richest Americans. Just as it was with Lehman, his core constituency is still the richest Americans.

On today’s anniversary, it’s critical to reflect on lessons we’ve learned about the economy over the past 12 years. What do we need to do differently to prevent another crash? How do we close the inequality gap that grew to historic proportions between 2001 and 2008 and threatened to hollow out the middle class? What’s the best, most transparent path forward for Ohio?

Unfortunately, these are not the questions John Kasich is asking. Instead, he’s modeled his role as Governor from his role at Lehman. And it’s not working for Ohio.

Look no further than Governor Kasich’s most recent tax plan. It gives the wealthiest Ohioans on average a $6,000 tax handout while middle-class Ohioans will pay higher sales and property taxes. Someone making $25,618, the median Ohio income, will see about a $5 break. The median household, earning $48.071, gets $9 back. Meanwhile, the top one percent of Ohio income earners will see, on average, a $6,000 tax cut. Full analysis here.

Or take JobsOhio. Kasich created JobsOhio under a veil of secrecy, appointed his rich friends to the board, handed out massive windfall kickbacks to corporate interests and well-connected friends, and eschewed any attempt at transparency. And now there’s evidence those kickbacks have trickled all the way up to Kasich’s bank and campaign accounts through his role with Worthington Industries, a company on whose board he served for a decade after leaving Congress and before being elected governor.

Between JobsOhio’s cozy deals, his opaque, “above-the-law…or change-the-law” approach to transparency and accountability, and his trickle-down economic priorities that serve the rich above everyone else, the Kasich Economy looks an awful lot like the Lehman Economy.

During last year’s election, the country exhaustively debated our shared economic future, and voters widely rejected the Romney/Kasich Economy and its 47% philosophy.

Ohio voters looking toward 2014 are no different. The Kasich Economy that benefits only the rich is not the right future for our state.

That’s the lesson we reflect on during the Lehman anniversary. We have all the confidence that Ohio voters have reached the same conclusion.

Paid for and authorized by the Ohio Democratic Party, not authorized by any federal candidate or campaign committee. David Pepper, Chairman, 340 East Fulton St, Columbus, Ohio 43215.