Apparently, the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police issued their endorsements today.  Here’s the list with some thoughts and obligatory press release quotes from the campaigns after the jump:

  • Governor: Governor Ted Strickland
  • Senate: Rob Portman
  • Attorney General: Richard Cordray
  • Treasurer: Kevin Boyce
  • Secretary of State: Maryellen O’Shaughnessy
  • Auditor: ???

Yep, you read that right.  The F.O.P. announced no endorsement in the Auditor’s race between Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper and Deleware County Prosecutor David Yost.  Given Yost’s present elected office, I would say that the lack of a law & order endorsement by the F.O.P. hurts his candidacy the most.

However, I think the F.O.P. endorsements are pretty much only a significant factor in the Attorney General, Governor, and Senate races.  I’m hard pressed to see where the F.O.P. was credited with making a significant difference down ticket where the relationship between the two was easily understandable.

Governor: In 2006, Congressman Ted Strickland was the first Democratic candidate for Governor in more than twelve years to win the F.O.P.’s endorsement, and they are standing behind him again.

Like the Treasurer’s race, I think a main factor in this endorsement is the opponent’s support of a reckless tax repeal plan that would be so costly that law enforcement would not be able to effectively deal with crime anymore.

The Strickland campaign doesn’t deny that was the reason, either.  They took the endorsement as yet another opportunity to attack Kasich over his tax plan:

Strickland has demonstrated his commitment to public safety by protecting the Local Government Fund from cuts and preserving local law enforcement jobs. He has also embraced the increase of Byrne/JAG grants as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and worked with local law enforcement organizations to help create and retain jobs with those resources, while making Ohio safer. [HB 119, 6/30/2007; HB1, 7/17/2009;]

“Today’s endorsement is a great honor. As governor I am deeply committed to helping Ohio’s law enforcement professionals in their daily efforts to keep Ohio families and streets safe,” Strickland said. “I will continue to fight for the policies that support the mission of these brave men and women.”

Strickland continued, “Congressman Kasich has proposed a reckless tax plan that would cause a massive hole in Ohio’s state budget and could lead to devastating cuts in public safety programs. Local governments responsible for funding police departments would have to either leave residents unprotected or dramatically increase property taxes to maintain services. As we recover from the economic recession created on Wall Street, we must continue to support our law enforcement personnel and protect local communities across the state.”

The release then notes a non-partisan Legislative Service Commission report that calculates that a ten-year plan to repeal the income tax would cost $30 million, increasing to $286 million losses in the Local Government Fund that helps local communities fund their law enforcement.

Kasich’s only hope at winning this endorsement in the face of his tax plan would be if he publicly came out against the pending restaurant CCW bill that he’s refused to state a position on for fear of… offending either the F.O.P. or gun groups.

Senate:  Last year, Lt. Governor Lee Fisher was the F.O.P.’s keynote speaker.  This year, they’re endorsing Rob Portman, but it appears to be because of the F.O.P.’s support of Portman’s criminal justice record in Congress.  From Portman’s press release:

While serving in Congress, Rob worked with law enforcement and other groups to author and pass the Drug-Free Communities Act, which channeled federal assistance directly to grassroots, community-based anti-drug coalitions around the country that bring together all sectors of the community including law enforcement and are making real progress in the fight against drugs.

Rob Portman was the original author of the Second Chance Act, a bill that became law in 2008, which provides $330 million in federal funding to provide job, mental health, and substance abuse assistance to people transitioning from prison and jail to their community.

Rob Portman co-sponsored the bill to allow qualified current and retired police officers to carry concealed firearms. Rob also co-sponsored Fallen Hero Survivor Benefits fairness Act of 2001 that extended benefits to survivors of officers that were killed in the line of duty.

Still, I can’t say that there was anything in Fisher’s record that would have made the F.O.P. hostile to him.  Portman would have opposed the very federal stimulus program that kept many law enforcement officers on the street.  While the F.O.P. praised Strickland for accepting federal stimulus money to do just that, their silence on Portman’s likely opposition to it should be noted.

Regardless, I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say that I was actually surprised by this, and it’s another endorsement in which there is daylight between Ted Strickland and Lee Fisher.  (Conversely, there is daylight emerging between Rob Portman and John Kasich as well.)

Attorney General: Mike DeWine is trying to use the fact that early in his political career (before he was Lt. Governor in 1990), he was a county prosecutor to argue that somehow makes him more qualified to be Attorney General than… the current Attorney General (there is, actually, quite a huge difference between the two offices that make such a comparison inapt.)

Again, DeWine’s anti-gun votes should have helped him with the F.O.P., which endorsed him in 2006 over Sherrod Brown.

The A.G.’s race is probably the statewide race that the candidates covet an F.O.P. endorsement more than any other.  And without it, challengers like Mike DeWine have a hard time making a dent with an incumbent.  As Matt Naugle noted, Richard Cordray attempted to make a non-endorsement of then incumbent Betty Montgomery in 1998.

Without even an F.O.P. endorsement (the largest law enforcement organization in Ohio), DeWine is having a tough time explaining why Ohioans should vote for him over Cordray—who just settled one of the largest public pension securities fraud cases in the nation against AIG.  DeWine has been conspicuously silent about Cordray’s AIG’s settlement.  You almost wonder if he’s trying to quietly cite it to the business community as a way to raise money.

“I am very grateful to receive the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police,” Cordray said.  “When I received their endorsement in 2008, I pledged as Attorney General to support local law enforcement in every way possible.  Today’s endorsement indicates that the men and women on the front lines of law enforcement believe that my administration’s efforts are on track to help them to do their jobs, and I appreciate their support.”

Treasurer & Secretary of State: I don’t know how many undecided voters this endorsement will affect in these races, but its a clear sign that the F.O.P. believes both of these candidates are likely to win in November.

I think the F.O.P. has two reasons to endorse these candidates: 1) their support in Columbus City Council for gun ordinances the F.O.P. favors; 2) their opponents’ support for a Kasich-like income tax repeal that would decimate law enforcement in Ohio.

“I am deeply honored to receive the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio,” said O’Shaughnessy. “I have always supported and been grateful for the courageous work our law enforcement officers do for the people of Ohio, and I am thankful for their support.”

A proven job creator, O’Shaughnessy has fought to build stronger and safer communities throughout Columbus and Franklin County. As a Columbus City Councilmember, O’Shaughnessy helped to secure funding for additional police officers and firefighters as well as a new police academy and fire station for the city of Columbus. She is committed to continuing to working with Ohio’s first responders.

So, apparently, we’re in full endorsement season.