I’ve been told that Jon Husted’s camp will be the first statewide primary campaign with a television buy.  The expectation is that this ad is not a sunny campaign spot replete with kids and puppies, but more like the grainy black and white “in a world…” creepy voiceover kind.

Yep, Husted is going to go negative on Sandra O’Brien.  And comfortable front runners do not go negative.  This seems to be further confirmation of what multiple blogs have reported:  there exists private polling in the race showing that Husted is in trouble.

Over the weekend, I got ANOTHER mailing from the Ohio Republican Party (seriously, how did I get on their mailing lists?).  This one was SOLELY about Husted and it was saturated with the word “Conservative” repeated with an ideological stutter.

It even had a snazzy Tea Party logo as if the “Tea Party” was some certification like an EnergyStar on an appliance.

Yet again, the Ohio Republican Party claimed that Husted’s claim to conservatism is supporting Governor Strickland’s budget… which was considered the most fiscally conservative budget in 40 years.

The entire mailing said not one word about Husted’s plan for the Secretary of State’s race.  You’d think he was for Auditor, not Secretary of State.

Meanwhile Lauren Biscoff has a profile in today’s Dayton Daily News race which actually frames the race on O’Brien, not Husted.  It all but says that Husted is planning to go negative.

?I take every election seriously,? Husted said, thumbing through a blue binder packed with election stats, news articles and state audit findings against O?Brien when she served as Ashtabula County auditor.

After years of being a stay-at-home mom and public school teacher, O?Brien won the Ashtabula County auditor?s seat in 1994. A 2003 state audit issued findings against O?Brien?s office, saying it didn?t pay bills in a timely manner and a lack of financial safeguards led to an employee embezzling $40,000.

According to campaign finance reports filed in January, Husted has more than $2 million in his war chest while O?Brien is campaigning on a meager $51,913.

Husted is expected to spend a chunk of that money to win the primary.

Biscoff also offer a few nuggets of oppo research on Husted that I’m sure we’ll hear plenty of if Husted manages to pull this off:

Along the way, Husted made mistakes: he solicited NCR Corp. for use of its corporate jet to ferry him to an Ohio State University bowl game in December 2004, took a fishing trip to Florida with three business lobbyists in May 2005 while the state budget hung in the balance, and in 2004 he pushed a little-known non-profit in Dayton to hire two Columbus-based political consultants and then had to urge the organization to fire the pair when they became subject to a federal investigation.

Regardless of who wins the SoS GOP primary, that person is going to emerge with virtually no money in their campaign and a bitterly divided party.

In other news, looks like the Ohio conservative blogging community agrees that Mary Taylor’s rebuttal of ORP-endorsed Auditor candidate David Yost’s only idea idea has complicated an already heated primary like gasoline on a fire, despite what Jon Keeling says.

Kasich has been pointedly asked who he supports in the Auditor’s race, pitting him between the Ohio GOP and the Tea Party.  He refused claiming that he doesn’t endorse in contested primaries, even though Jon Husted’s campaign website claims Kasich’s endorsement (it also claims an endorsement by “Governor” (for ten days) Nancy Hollister.)

So, grab the popcorn.  The next three weeks will be interesting.

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