Looks like that endorsement by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce of Kasich and other Republicans isn’t going to be as “precious” as he thought.
AEP’s President has announced that he has resigned his position on the Board of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce over their endorsements.
According to the Associated Press:
AEP spokeswoman Melissa McHenry said Friday the endorsement prompted AEP Ohio President Joe Hamrock to leave the chamber’s board. McHenry says the utility does not believe it was appropriate for the business group to endorse a candidate.
"It creates division in the chamber membership and it pits businesses against one another," McHenry said. "We will continue to remain involved in those business organizations that are nonpartisan."
The Chamber has endorsed in legislative and judicial races. They almost always endorse Republicans, as acknowledged by the Dispatch. The endorsement of Kasich was nothing more than Republicans in the Chamber’s PAC angling to get Kasich some good press after days of front-page coverage of how Kasich was getting pwned by Strickland over education and school funding.
In making Thursday’s endorsement announcement, Chamber President Andrew Doehrel conceded that it had been a difficult decision for the group to make an endorsement.
He said the decision, which was left in the hands of the Chamber’s Political Action Committee, was not an indictment of Strickland’s track record but a vote of confidence that Kasich’s policy stances could lead Ohio into a better business climate.
I don’t know what policies those could be. Most of what Kasich has introduced are things Strickland has already done. Kasich has said precise little what his plans beyond those safe areas would be except for his corporate cronyism plan called JobsOhio and his income and estate tax repeals (which don’t have any actual plan beyond the bare bones promise.)
The real reason that some in the Chamber are upset is strategical. Strickland, for the most part, was friendly to the business community and particularly to the Chamber’s concerns. Some in the business community believe that if they don’t stand by Strickland now when he’s in a tough race not only could create major problems in their relationship if Strickland is re-elected, but it signals to other Democrats that they might as well ignore the Chamber since the partisans on the Chamber’s PAC will ever lead the PAC’s support to a Democrat.
So, it’s not nearly as high-minded as being portrayed in the media. Even the Chamber’s President concedes that he cannot find fault with the Strickland Administration over the past four years when it comes to the Chamber’s issues. But that fence sitting isn’t really enough for those in the Chamber who believes that they should have stayed neutral rather than risk alienating themselves with a sitting Governor and other members of his party.
In the end, I doubt endorsements matter much to the average voter unless they belong to those groups. But given the already apparent controversy over the Chamber’s endorsement within its membership, this could be the most useless endorsement of them all.
[UPDATE:] The Plain Dealer, well, makes it plain that AEP itself has dropped its membership with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce over its endorsement in the Governor’s race because it preferred neutrality.
"We notified them that we are withdrawing our membership and it is related to their decision to endorse in this year’s governor’s race," said Melissa McHenry, a spokeswoman for AEP. "It is not related to the candidate they endorsed."
The chamber’s endorsement was made by a handful of business leaders, fewer than a dozen, that make up its PAC.
So less than six business leaders was all that was required to give an endorsement that over 4,000 of its members had no input in while breaking over a hundred years of neutrality.
Still think this endorsement is a positive thing for the Kasich, DeWine, and Husted campaigns?