Richard Cordray brings governor campaign to Dayton

Published: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 @ 12:35 PM

Cordray says Ohio tax policies are wrong-headed

Democrat Richard Cordray brought his brand new campaign for Ohio governor to Dayton on Wednesday as one of his rivals announced he won’t be pulling out of the race after all.

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill on Wednesday backed off his pledge to drop out of the 2018 Democratic race for governor if Cordray entered the race.

Cordray, who last month stepped down as director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, announced Tuesday he will seek the Democratic nomination in the May 8 primary. Other Democrats in the race include Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former state representative Connie Pillich of Cincinnati, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, and former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Akron.

O’Neill, whose decision to stay on the bench after announcing his candidacy is controversial, now says he will only leave the race if one of the other Democratic candidates agrees to his anti-opioid addiction plan.

RELATED: Cordray launches run for governor; holding event in Dayton Wednesday

“I told Rich that I would not be leaving the race unless I heard that someone accepts my proposition that opening the mental hospitals and legalizing marijuana” is the solution to the opioid crisis, said O’Neill, who proposes funding the hospitals with $300 million in annual revenues he believes will come from legalizing marijuana.

RELATED: Supreme court justice not leaving race for Ohio governor

O’Neill was criticized for not resigning from the court when he announced his candidacy on Oct. 29. The Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct requires judges to resign if they enter a partisan race, but O’Neill contends that he would only become a candidate officially when he turns in his nominating petitions by the Feb. 7 deadline.

“I have recused on all future cases, and on Friday I will be announcing my retirement date if my approach is not accepted by Rich,” said O’Neill, who plans to remain on the court until his term ends in 2019 if he withdraws from the governor’s race.

O’Neill ignited further controversy and calls for his resignation last month when he posted remarks on Facebook touting his sexual exploits with “50 very attractive females.” He subsequently apologized for the post.

RELATED: DeWine-Husted ticket called governor’s race ‘dream team’ by GOP state senator

“After his inflammatory, degrading sexist comments, I called on O’Neill to resign from the court,” said Whaley. “More than once, he has disqualified himself from asking - never mind demanding - anyone take up his platform.

Ryan Stubenrauch, spokesman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Mike DeWine, said the state already has six regional psychiatric hospitals.

“Mike DeWine has always been against recreational marijuana. The solution to a drug crisis is not adding another,” Stubenrauch said. “Mike DeWine is focused on fighting the opioid crisis and the drug cartels and the drug companies that are responsible for it.”

U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor are also running in the GOP primary.

Cordray declined to comment on O’Neill’s remarks and said any position he takes on legal marijuana in Ohio will take into consideration that Ohio voters in 2015 rejected a ballot initiative to legalize recreational and medical marijuana. Last year the Ohio legislature legalized medical marijuana, but it won’t be available until 2018.

“I’m very concerned about the opioid crisis. It’s obviously the new crisis, like the foreclosure crisis was 10 years ago, that’s washing over the state,” Cordray said in Dayton.

He said the problem needs a bold approach.

“But my way to do it would be to have the state working closely with local officials, non-profit agencies who do so much good in our communities and the private sector on bringing everybody to bear on solving a problem that otherwise will not get solved and has not been solved,” Cordray said. “And by the way it has blown up over the last five years with no real attention and no effective solutions from Columbus.”

Cordray’s visit to Dayton was the second stop of the day on his “Kitchen Table Tour” of Ohio.

“The kitchen table issues will be my focus, issues of economics and how people can afford health care and they can afford the cost of college education for their children or further training or whatever it is that is needed to prepare young people for the workforce,” Cordray said during his speech in front of about 50 people at The Old Courthouse in downtown Dayton. “It’s about finding that better job, and it’s about providing for people’s retirement.”

Cordray served as Ohio treasurer and attorney general before being tapped by then-President Barack Obama to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He said he’s worked for 15 years on issues of economic insecurity.

Cordray touted his battle as attorney general to help Ohioans as the financial collapse and 2009 recession sent foreclosure filings skyrocketing, and his efforts at the consumer bureau, which was set up in the wake of the financial crisis.

“I’m willing to tackle big problems like the foreclosure crisis, like the Wall Street abuses and get results for (Ohioans),” Cordray said. “I think you look at the work that I did on behalf of all Americans at the consumer bureau, that’s the kind of work that progressives feel is important. People like Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Warren, she’s endorsing me today.”

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Perales GOP opponent indicted for extortion and coercion

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 3:42 PM
Updated: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 6:48 PM

State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek defeated Republican Jocelyn Smith of Fairborn in the May 8, 2018 Republican primary election
State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek defeated Republican Jocelyn Smith of Fairborn in the May 8, 2018 Republican primary election

Former Republican statehouse candidate Jocelyn Smith, 36, of Fairborn, was indicted on felony and misdemeanor counts related to alleged threats she made during her campaign against State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, during this year’s GOP primary, according to Greene County Common Pleas Court records.

Smith faces a third-degree felony count of extortion and a second-degree misdemeanor count of coercion, according to court records of the secret indictment filed June 15. Smith, who is a registered-nurse case manager at Sheakley Unicomp and a teacher at Fortis College, is scheduled to be arraigned in Greene County Common Pleas Court on July 6 at 1 p.m.

RELATED: Perales: My opponent is extorting me

Greene County Prosecutor Stephen K. Haller referred the case to a special prosecutor, Madison County Prosecutor Stephen J. Pronai, to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.

“The indictment against my client, Jocelyn Smith, is a politically motivated witch hunt by the Greene County ‘good-old-boys’ network and a prosecutorial abuse of discretion and power that will be vigorously defended against,” said Smith’s attorney, Ben Swift, in an email Friday. “We look forward to our day in court when all of the true facts will come out.”

Perales, a former Greene County commissioner and Beavercreek councilman, said he just wants to focus on serving his western Greene County 73rd District, which he has represented since 2013.

“There are no winners in this situation. Justice just needs to take its course,” Perales said. “People have to be held accountable for their words and deeds. I remain focused on winning in November.”

On May 8 Perales defeated Smith 80 percent to 20 percent after bitter primary campaign. Perales faces Kim McCarthy, a Sugarcreek Twp. Democrat, in the Nov. 6 General Election.

During the campaign, Smith alleged that Perales had choked, forcibly kissed, fondled and sexted with her in 2015.

RELATED:Ohio House Rep. denies opponent’s claim he kissed and choked her

Perales, who is married, admits sending inappropriate sexually oriented text messages to Smith during a brief consensual relationship in early 2015 but denies that he choked, kissed or touched her in any intimate way. Perales said Smith sent him topless photos of herself but that he did not send any sexually oriented photos to her.

Smith denied sending the pictures and said that because she refused to have sex with him Perales would not sponsor a pancreatic cancer specialty license plate bill she supported. State records show Perales did co-sponsor and vote for a bill establishing the specialty plate.

RELATED: Perales prevails over Smith in bizarre Greene County statehouse race

The indictment stems from a complaint accusing Smith of extortion that Perales filed with Fairborn Police in April after Smith held a March 27 news conference in Fairborn. At the news conference, Smith said that if Perales did not resign from the state legislature and withdraw from the Republican primary, she would release texts and other documentation she said proved her allegations.

“Please don’t force me to release the rest of the text messages and other mountains of evidence,” Smith said at the news conference. “I think you know the honorable thing to do is to step down.”

RELATED:‘Don’t force me to release the rest of the text messages,’ local candidate tells lawmaker 

In a May 2 interview Smith called Perales’ extortion complaint “a bogus charge. Perales is very good at writing these false reports.”

Smith ultimately released some sexually oriented texts to local news media but there was no way to verify that they came from Perales, nor did they contain any proof that he had choked, forcibly kissed or fondled her.

Perales questioned Smith’s credibility, saying her story changed multiple times and pointing to court cases involving her.

RELATED: Polygraph test for local statehouse candidate canceled

In 2014, a Warren County judge placed Smith in a pre-trial diversion program on three counts of telephone harassment of a man, according to court records. She completed the program and the case was dismissed in November 2014.

In September 2017 Smith successfully petitioned the court to expunge the case, according to Warren County court records.

In 2015 she obtained a temporary civil protection order against the man in the telephone harassment case, and that protection order was later dismissed at her request, according to Greene County court records.

In a separate court case, a civil protection order was issued in 2009 against Smith by a Clark County Common Pleas Domestic Relations Court magistrate after a former boyfriend accused her of harassing him after they broke up, Clark County court records show. That temporary order was dismissed 17 days later after a hearing in which a Clark County Common Pleas magistrate warned Smith against escalating her behavior.

In 2008 Smith was fired as a Clark County deputy after being accused of showing photos of her nude breasts to male co-workers, pointing pepper spray at an inmate as a joke and having an inappropriate relationship with a former inmate. Smith denied all the charges except the pepper-spray incident but lost her 2009 lawsuit and 2012 appeal alleging race and gender discrimination, and wrongful termination.

Ohio Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirstin Alvanitakis responded to the indictment of Smith by saying, that Democratic Party “candidates are focused on fixing the GOP culture of corruption in Columbus, rather than the unseemly details of their opponents' private lives. That said, we hope Representative Perales has taken the time over the past few months to reflect on how he should interact with constituents moving forward."

Other stories by Lynn Hulsey

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Ohio Democratic voters surged for primary, Husted reports

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 1:53 PM
Updated: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 1:53 PM


            Voting (Photo by Jay LaPrete/Getty Images)
Voting (Photo by Jay LaPrete/Getty Images)

Democratic Party voters more than doubled Republicans in party-switching and overall voter affiliation growth for Ohio’s 2018 primaries.

Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted released voter data Thursday tracking changes for the May primary.

RELATED: Trump may factor into Ohio governor’s race

In 2016, Republicans had outgained Democrats in party-switchers and new voters in a presidential year featuring Donald Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the GOP nomination race.

Ohio voters don’t register with a party, but are considered affiliated with the party whose ballot they choose in a partisan primary.

The elections chief says more than half of Ohio’s 7.96 million registered voters are unaffiliated.

Among partisan voters, Democrat-affiliated voters grew 165,432 this year to top 1.4 million. Republican-affiliated voters grew 60,162 to top 2 million.

Poll: Ohio governor race too close to call

Green Party-affiliated voters more than doubled to 7,353.Ohio voters don’t register with a party, but are affiliated with the party whose ballot they choose in a partisan primary.

Ohio voters don’t register with a party, but are affiliated with the party whose ballot they choose in a partisan primary.

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Ohioans against increased tariffs on Canada, Mexico; split on China, poll says

Published: Thursday, June 14, 2018 @ 1:19 PM
Updated: Thursday, June 14, 2018 @ 1:19 PM

China Set to Impose New Tariffs on US Products China is adding tariffs on meat, fruit, wine and other goods from the United States. The move comes in response to taxes on imported steel and aluminium approved by President Trump. The new tariffs are to begin on Monday, the Chinese Finance Ministry said. Beijing increased the tariff rate on pork by 25 percent and 15 percent on 120 other U.S. goods.

A new survey shows Ohio voters oppose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union while they are equally divided on tariffs on Chinese goods if those duties raise the cost of consumer goods.

The poll, released Thursday by Quinnipiac University, suggest Ohio voters are more wary of tariffs and protectionist policies by the federal government than many political analysts believe.

By a difference of 45 percent to 35 percent, Ohio voters oppose the new 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imposed last month by President Donald Trump.

RELATED: How would Trump tariffs work?

That opposition increases to 57 percent if the steel and aluminum tariffs lead to higher prices. Economists have argued that tariffs on steel and aluminum will raise the price of a broad array of consumer products from cars, trucks, and washing machines.

“Despite Ohio’s reputation as a blue-collar bastion, Buckeye state voters overall are not supportive of increasing tariffs on steel and aluminum imported into the United States from foreign lands,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll.

RELATED: What is a tarrif and why should you be worried about it

The polls shows 55 percent of Ohio voters favor tariffs on Chinese imports, but when asked if they would back those tariffs “raised the costs of goods that you buy,” support plummets to 46 percent while 46 percent would oppose the tariffs.

The poll of 1,082 Ohio voters was conducted by landline telephones and cell phones from June 7 through Tuesday. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percent.

The poll also showed that 76 percent of Ohio voters favor allowing undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children to remain while 51 percent of voters want to retain the 2010 health law known as Obamacare.

Those numbers suggest that Republican officeholders are at odds with voters in Ohio. Republicans have been cool to overhauling immigration laws and a sizable majority oppose Obamacare.

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Gov. John Kasich more popular with Democrats in Ohio than Republicans, poll says

Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 @ 5:24 PM
Updated: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 @ 5:24 PM

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)

Gov. John Kasich has a good approval rating with one political party in Ohio, just not his own.

A new Quinnipiac University poll reports that that Gov. John Kasich has a 52 percent job approval rating overall and he’s more popular among Democrats than his fellow Republicans who are evenly divided over the governor.

Fifty-seven percent of Democrats give Kasich the thumbs up and 52 percent of them would like to see Kasich make another run for president in 2020.

Meanwhile, nearly three in four Republicans say they don’t want him to run for president in 2020.

Related: What’s next? DeWine versus Cordray fight for Ohio

Kasich was the last Republican candidate to drop out of the race against Donald Trump in the Republican primary in 2016.

Rumors have swirled since that Kasich may run again as a Republican in 2020. Kasich says he is unlikely to challenge President Trump as an independent, but hasn’t ruled it out.

It’s unlikely, but when you have options on the table, all options are on the table, right?” Kasich said in an interview with CNN.

The Quinnipiac poll was conducted June 7 to June 12, contacted 1,082 Ohio voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

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