I’m going to give you a Madden playbook why John Kasich’s courtship of State Auditor Mary Taylor makes no sense for anyone but John Kasich.? But let’s start with the most obvious point: it is absolute insanity for the Republicans to risk the only Apportionment Board seat they held in 2006 by moving an incumbent who was on track for a relatively safe re-election so that she can run for the non-essentially (from both a political and governing sense) Lt. Governor slot.
It’s is amazingly insane.? Second, if it were a done deal, Kasich wouldn’t first float it through Jon Keeling’s blog and then let the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Columbus Dispatch‘s Joe Hallett write about as if it weren’t.? They’d just announced it.
Read Hallett’s column and tell me it doesn’t sound like Hallett isn’t practically serenading for John Kasich’s public political courtship of Mary Taylor.? Kasich is trying to put Taylor on the spot:? join my ticket and help me keep the Tea Bag base from deserting me by November when they realize how I’ve been an anti-establishment phony for the past year, or publicly embarrass me, the Republican standard bearer.? (Most of Kasich’s arguments don’t even make sense.? Taylor could arguably attack Strickland just as easily running for re-election.)
Believe me, if the GOP establishment wanted Taylor to be Kasich’s running mate, Kasich wouldn’t feel the need to put Taylor on the spot so publicly.? It would have been an arranged political marriage and announced, no such speculation has existed in the past.? Kasich is doing this because there is strong resistance in the Republican party to having this ticket, just look at the comments on Keeling’s blog.
Despite Taylor’s claimed fundraising woes, she’s still the only Republican to survive 2006, and nothing has happened since then that has made her more politically vulnerable.? Privately, most Democrats would even agree that Taylor was heavily favored for re-election.
Move her out of the Auditor’s race, and it’s an open seat (Taylor could not even resign in the hopes to make the Republican candidate to replace her the incumbent.? Any such vacancy would be filled by appointment by Governor Strickland.)? Suddenly, Hamilton County David Pepper has more than just a fighting chance for the office.
Who’s the most likely candidate to replace Taylor if she agreed to be Kasich’s running mate?? Well, it sure as hell isn’t Mike DeWine or Matt Dolan.? After all, what political calculation would require Kasich to need the support of Mary Taylor but DeWine as Auditor?
No, the most likely replacement to Taylor would be Josh Mandel, who is currently running for State Treasurer.? This means Kevin Boyce is likely re-elected as opposed to being considered highly vulnerable.
Even with Mandel and his millions in the race, it’s still a very competitive open seat race, and not one where Mandel’s qualifications put him at any unique advantage, either.
There is no way that Taylor leaves the Auditor’s race without making that race more likely for a Democratic takeover as a result.? None.
And if Boyce and Pepper wins, so does Jennifer Brunner.? It would be highly unlikely that any party captures the Auditor’s and Secretary of State’s races in open seat races while losing the gubernatorial race.? Therefore, with Pepper viewed as now likely to win the Auditor’s office, Brunner’s run for Senate isn’t as loaded down with Apportionment Board concerns.
And Jon Husted has to be wondering why he endured all the attacks over his residency only to see the ticket up ended such that his win is viewed as largely irrelevant.? Jennifer Garrison also loses as Democrats can support Strickland and Pepper while sitting on their hands over her.
If there is any hallmark of the Ohio Republican Party is that they tightly control the formation of their statewide tickets before now.? And just last week, ORP Chairman Kevin DeWine saw with justified confidence that his party was likely to win the Secretary of State’s race and Auditor’s office, thus an almost guarantee that they’d keep the Apportionment Board.? If Taylor bolts for Kasich, that is all upended just 41 days until petitions must be filed.
Which is, again, why it would be absolutely insane, both for the Ohio GOP and Taylor personally, for her to join Kasich’s ticket.? That’s why Kasich is resorting to putting his courtship so publicly to put Taylor on the spot.
It’s a huge gamble.? Because either Taylor does this and gives the Democrats a real shot at picking up a crucial seat on the Apportionment Board, or worse, she says no and publicly embarrasses Kasich and make him look incredibly weak.
You cannot look at the idea of Taylor on the ticket and not be reminded of the reason John McCain chose Sarah Palin.? Like Kasich, McCain picked Palin to try to encourage conservative excitement.? Like McCain, Kasich is courting Palin Taylor to present himself as outside the Bush Republican establishment.
If you doubt that there’s lack of enthusiasm for Kasich consider this: the only conservative blogger that has been writing about Kasich at all is his former congressional staffer … from Virginia.? There isn’t a single conservative blogger in Ohio who’s been writing with any excitement for John Kasich.? Not Kyle Sisk, WMD, Bizzyblog, Matt Naugle… none of them. They’ll, at best, write about Strickland, but Kasich is persona non grata.? Among Ohio conservative bloggers, John Kasich is getting a colder reception than Ken Blackwell did.
Chris Redfern has to be nearly drunk in delight at this development.? No matter what Taylor decides, he wins.? If Taylor runs, suddenly Kasich has made the Republican’s most secure Apportionment Board seat a tossup race.? If Taylor doesn’t join the ticket, then Kasich looks incredibly weak amongst his own Republicans.? Regardless, behind the scenes, Republicans are fuming that their frontrunner has created this predicament.