FROM: Ohio Democratic Party
TO: Interested Parties
RE: Ohio Republican Presidential Primary
DATE: March 6, 2012
The following memo outlines the impact of the Ohio Republican presidential primary campaign on Democrats’ chances in November and the adverse effect the campaign has had on GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney’s candidacy.
A Race to the Far-Right
Mitt Romney demonstrated throughout his campaign that he is out-of-touch with the Buckeye State, embracing an extreme, far-right agenda that does not reflect mainstream Ohio. Romney is more interested in looking out for the biggest corporations and wealthiest Americans than the needs of middle-class Ohioans, as evidenced by his tax plan that bolsters the wealthy but does little for everyday Ohioans. Romney also wants to allow Wall Street to write its own rules and even opposed Ohio’s own Rich Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
After saying we should allow the American auto industry to go bankrupt, embracing John Kasich’s attack on workers and advocating for a plan that would end Medicare as we know it, Mitt Romney has weakened his standing among independent voters. Moreover, Romney’s war on women has damaged him among female voters. From supporting a policy that allows an employer to deny women coverage because of that employer’s religious belief to his support of a “Personhood” amendment that would ban abortion even if the life of the mother is at risk, Ohio women are fleeing Romney at a fast pace.
Little Enthusiasm for the GOP Frontrunner
Two weeks ago, Governor Romney opened his state headquarters here in Ohio with few supporters and an extreme lack of enthusiasm. In the GOP stronghold of Southwest Ohio, Romney held an event that NBC’s First Read said had “a noticeable lack of energy from the crowd” and “people applauded only sparingly” for Romney. And when Romney won the Ohio GOP straw poll last summer, members of the audience booed.
While Romney’s supporters are barely excited about his candidacy, Democrats are energized and mobilized for President Obama, Senator Sherrod Brown and Democrats up and down the ticket. The Atlantic reported yesterday about a “surge of enthusiasm” among Ohio Democrats due to an improving economy and GOP attacks on women’s rights that have Ohio Democrats “fired up.”
Weak GOP Infrastructure
Real Clear Politics said it best: “You need not look further than [Ohio] to see just how badly Mitt Romney’s vaunted campaign organization lags behind President Obama’s.” Rather than building a strong grassroots organization in Ohio as Democrats are doing, Republican presidential candidates have relied solely on negative television ads. Mitt Romney has carpet-bombed his opponent, with his campaign and his Super PAC spending $4 million on TV and radio ads, and outspending Rick Santorum and his Super PAC 4-to-1.
Campaign Missteps and Embarrassment
From his very first campaign stops in the Buckeye State, Mitt Romney has shown a lack of discipline as a candidate. After embracing John Kasich’s attack on Ohio workers last summer, Mitt Romney came to Greater Cincinnati to headline a phone bank in support of Issue 2. After he left the phone bank, he said that he was “not taking a position” on Issue 2, but in Virginia the next day he said that he “fully supported” John Kasich’s bill. Issue 2 failed by a 62-38 percent margin. Last week, in an interview with the Ohio News Network, Romney was asked about the Blunt-Rubio Amendment, and said, “I’m not for the bill.” An hour later, he backtracked, stating that “of course” he supports the bill.
Mitt Romney also continues to be unable to explain why he turned his back on Ohio’s autoworkers and said that we should let the auto industry go bankrupt. If it were up to Mitt Romney, GM and Chrysler would not be in business today, but because of President Obama, Sen. Sherrod Brown and Democrats, those automakers and their suppliers are creating jobs across Ohio today. Nearly 850,000 jobs are supported by Ohio’s auto industry, so questions about Mitt Romney’s inexplicable stance will continue to dog him in Ohio should he become his Party’s nominee.
The Bottom Line
Whether or not Mitt Romney wins tonight’s Ohio primary, the campaign here has come at a high cost for him. Should he become his Party’s nominee, he will be damaged by his out-of-touch nature and the extreme, far-right policies he has embraced. He has put himself in an extremely weak position among blue-collar, independent and women voters – key voting blocs in the Buckeye State.