Luckie, prosecutor confirm investigation; 2 Democrats say he won't seek re-election

Updated: Sunday, August 28, 2016 @ 2:46 PM
Published: Thursday, August 09, 2012 @ 7:27 PM
By: Laura A. Bischoff - Staff Writers

State Rep. Clayton Luckie and Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien both issued statements Thursday confirming that the Dayton Democrat is under investigation but not for bribery. But the statements didn’t answer questions about what charges, if any, Luckie may face.

Earlier this year, O’Brien brought a criminal case against Columbus-area state lawmaker W. Carlton Weddington that led to Weddington resigning, cooperating with authorities and pleading guilty to bribery and other charges.

Luckie said in a written statement: “I assure my constituents that I have not been involved in any of that conduct, nor am I the target of said investigation. We have, however, discovered errors on some reports that are currently being addressed. I take these matters very seriously and have instructed my team to conduct a full review of the reports in question. Out of respect for the process, I will not be addressing any questions until my team has completed their analysis.”

It is unclear whether Luckie is referring to ethics statements, campaign finance reports or something else. He did not return messages seeking clarification.

Meanwhile, two Democratic sources said Luckie may agree to withdraw from the November ballot as early as today, giving the Montgomery County Democratic Party just enough time to run a substitute candidate. Former Dayton mayor Rhine McLin and former state senator Fred Strahorn are being considered as possible replacements, sources said. Monday is the deadline for political parties to replace candidates who withdraw from a race.

Montgomery County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Owens said Luckie did not return his messages on Thursday and top party officials researched state law governing replacing candidates on the ballot. “There are some people that have expressed interest (in replacing Luckie in the race) if that were to happen but I’m not prepared to identify those people,” Owens said.

Initially appointed to the Ohio House, Luckie is seeking his fourth two-year term and is running against Republican Jeff Wellbaum this November.

Wellbaum’s campaign manager Paul Harris said, “We are certainly shocked and surprised by the allegations levied toward Rep. Luckie. Our response is to stick to a positive campaign about what Mr. Wellbaum will do for the citizens of the 39th District. Lower taxes, better veterans’ benefits, protecting the unborn and working with Gov. Kasich to bring people and jobs back to Ohio.”

The 39th District includes most of the city of Dayton.

Before going to the Ohio House, Luckie served on the Dayton School Board from 1996 to 2006. He lives in the Wright-Dunbar Historic District and works part-time for JEC Paper & Related Products where he made less than $10,000 last year, according to his financial disclosure statement filed with the state. His state representative job pays $68,000 a year.

In June 2010, Luckie and his wife Lisa Beth Willis filed for divorce just three months after the birth of their daughter. In the May 2011 divorce agreement, Luckie got a 2005 Cadillac Escalade, half of his wife’s 401(k) account and a house in Wright-Dunbar and one in Springboro. The couple agreed to joint parenting and they split up their $56,000 in consumer credit card debt: $36,000 for him, $20,000 for her.

In January 2012, Luckie got into a verbal altercation with his neighbor, Joseph W. Shaw, who is dating his ex-wife, according to a Dayton police report. Lisa Beth Willis said, “I have no comment on that.”

Kasich warns ‘recession’ threatening Ohio budget

Updated: Tuesday, December 06, 2016 @ 3:01 PM
By: Josh Sweigart - Staff Writer


            Kasich warns ‘recession’ threatening Ohio budget
Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Tuesday that the state of Ohio is “on the verge of recession.” LAUREN CLARK / STAFF

Ohio Gov. John Kasich warned state lawmakers of a looming “recession” as new tax collection data shows receipts coming in under expectations, according to a Gongwer report.

The state collected nearly $2 billion in taxes in November, which is roughly $99 million — or 5 percent — less than projections, according to a state budget report released today.

“We’re on the verge of a recession in our state,” Kasich reportedly said in a speech to the Ohio House shortly before the numbers were released.

Kasich warned that the state’s future budget will be hampered by declining revenue projections.

We will bring you more on this story as it becomes available.

Ohio set record for early voting in November election

Updated: Friday, December 02, 2016 @ 6:46 AM
Published: Friday, December 02, 2016 @ 6:45 AM
By: Anthony Shoemaker - Staff Writer


            Ohio set record for early voting in November election
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

More than 71 percent of registered Ohioans voted in the Nov. 8 election and the state set a new high for the number of early voters.

But while turnout was among the highest in recent elections, it was far from the record 77 percent voter turnout in 1992, when Bill Clinton won Ohio and the presidency against then-President George H.W. Bush and independent candidate Ross Perot.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted Thursday certified the official results of the 2016 General Election.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • 5,607,641 Ohioans cast ballots out of 7,861,025 registered voters, for a voter turnout of 71.33 percent;

  • President-Elect Donald Trump carried 80 of Ohio’s 88 counties — including Montgomery, Clark, Butler, Greene, Miami, Warren, Preble, Darke, Shelby and Champaign counties;
  • 1,890,069 absentee ballots were cast, topping the 2012 total of 1,876,174 and the 2008 figure of 1,717,256. About 34 percent of all ballots cast came before Election Day.
  • Democrats historically have done better in early voting, but that may not be the case this year. Of the counted absentee ballots, 56.8 percent were cast in counties won by Trump and just 43.2 percent in the counties won by Clinton.
  • 154,965 provisional ballots were cast, down from the 208,084 that had provisional ballots in 2012. The provisional ballots broke roughly evenly between President-elect Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, with Trump receiving 50.3 percent and Hillary Clinton 49.6 percent.
    • “As we close the books on another election, one thing that is abundantly clear is that Ohio is a national leader in elections administration as our state once again has delivered a well-run election,” Husted said in a statement. “Despite the unwarranted predictions of a troubled election, it is clear that voters had a great experience and the 2016 presidential election in Ohio was free of any major problems.”

      Ohio Senate panel OKs vicious dog bill in honor of Klonda Richey

      Updated: Thursday, December 01, 2016 @ 9:28 AM
      By: Laura Bischoff - Columbus bureau

      Ohio Senate panel OKs vicious dog bill in honor of Klonda Richey
      Klonda Richey

      A bill to toughen Ohio’s vicious dog laws — two years after the death of a Dayton woman — is a step closer to becoming law.

      The bill passed the Agriculture Committee unanimously on Wednesday

      Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, introduced the Klonda Richey Act last year. In February 2014, Richey was killed when two dogs owned by a neighboring couple attacked her outside her Dayton home.

      “The Senate Agriculture committee approval of the Klonda Richey Act in encouraging news for many Ohioans who live in fear of dangerous animals in their neighborhoods,” Beagle said. “The Klonda Richey Act aims to hold owners of dangerous dogs accountable by including penalties for offenders and tools for local officials who deal with problem pet owners. I am hopeful that this legislation will receive favorable support on the floor of the Ohio Senate.”

      Andrew Nason, 30, and Julie Custer, 27, were sentenced in May 2015 in Dayton Municipal Court a couple weeks after both pleaded no contest and were each found guilty of two misdemeanor counts of failure to control dogs.

      RELATED: Couple in fatal dog mauling case sentenced

      The bill had its fourth hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday. It could have its fifth hearing and a possible committee vote on Wednesday.

      If passed, the bill would:

      * Changing the definition of a vicious dog from a dog who causes serious injury to a person to a dog that has killed a person.

      * Requiring a court to order the humane destruction of a vicious dog or a dog that has killed a person, but has not been determined to be a vicious dog.

      * The addition of child endangerment to the list of offenses that can prevent a person from owning certain types of dogs.

      * Clarifying that “dog wardens” have the authority to make arrests.

      Nancy Pelosi defeats Ohio’s Tim Ryan to hold Democratic leader post

      Updated: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 @ 5:46 PM
      By: Jessica Wehrman - Washington Bureau

      House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi fended off a challenge to her leadership position Wednesday, beating out a northeast Ohio Democrat to retain the Democratic leadership position she’s held since 2003.

      Pelosi, a California Democrat who has led House Democrats since 2003, defeated Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, 134-63 in a closed-door meetings of House Democrats. While 188 Democrats currently serve in the House, six incoming House Democrats joined them for the vote today.

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      Ryan, who has praised Pelosi and called her a mentor, said he ran in an attempt to expand what is now the smallest minority since 1929. He argued Democrats must do more to woo the working class white voters who largely abandoned them in favor of President-Elect Donald Trump. In his district, for example, Democrat Hillary Clinton only won Democratic stronghold Mahoning County by three points, while President Barack Obama won it by roughly 25 percent in both 2008 and 2012.

      Shortly after the vote was announced, Ryan congratulated Pelosi on her re-election, saying he looks “forward to working with her to promote a progressive agenda for the country.”

      “I ran for leader because I believe strongly in the promise of the Democratic Party, but November taught us that changes were necessary,” Ryan said, adding “I am proud that my bid for Democratic Leader pushed our members to have these tough family discussions about our future and how we win back the majority in 2018.”

      Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., who backed Ryan, said he did so because he believed Ryan would present a “unifying and uplifting message” that would bring back some of the blue-collar workers that went for Trump.

      He said the Democratic brand is now “toxic,” in some of the districts that were once Democratic strongholds. “They’ve cleaned our clock in the Midwest,” Lynch said, saying he backed Ryan because he believed “he could help reconnect us with that demographic.”

      While Ryan’s fellow Ohioan Marcia Fudge publicly backed Ryan, Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Jefferson Township, voted for Pelosi. In a statement, she said Pelosi and Ryan are “strong Democrats, skilled and passionate individuals dedicated to advancing the causes important to all Americans.”

      “However, I believe Leader Pelosi is best suited to address the challenges our Caucus and nation will face and ensure that our economy works for everyone,” she said.

      Momentum toward Ryan appeared to falter late Tuesday when Pelosi, 76, announced that two-thirds of the caucus had promised to back her.

      She dismissed the notion that Ryan could do more to woo white working class voters, telling the Huffington Post last week that Ryan “didn’t even carry his district for Hillary Clinton.”

      Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va., was among those who backed Pelosi.

      “At the end of the day I believe we need stable leadership and with the impending Trump administration Democrats need to be united and we need a true strategist at the helm,” he said, saying Pelosi has “held the Democratic caucus together.”

      Connolly said Democrats “need stability and need to regroup.”

      “Nancy Pelosi’s one of the smartest politicians I know and I think she will take away from this challenge I think the right lessons,” he said. “We need to open up leadership opportunities to the entire caucus.”