[Updated @ bottom with Brunner’s response]

This was in yesterday’s Columbus Dispatch:

As Gov. John Kasich rattled through his policy agenda during a speech to the Columbus Metropolitan Club yesterday, there was an audience member seated near the stage nodding in agreement.

Former Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat.

“Not everyone agrees with those changes, but he’s making an effort. You can tell that he cares.” . . .  Kasich is “dedicated to reforming Ohio,” Brunner said.

When you read a story and the only thing that your mind creates that makes a news story makes sense involves alien “pod people” or that you somehow got transported to “Bizarro Ohio,”  you know you’ve hit a WTF moment.

I was one of the first people to publicly jump to support Jennifer Brunner when she decided to run for the Senate last year.  I did so because I admired Jennifer Brunner’s work as Secretary of State, her position on the issues, and her willingness to unapologetically support progressive causes (and because I believed that history had shown that Lee Fisher would be a train wreck of a nominee.)  But who is this person who talks about John Kasich as the empathizer?  John Kasich the reformer?  REALLY?!?

Brunner, allegedly, has been considering running for Governor in 2014.  Perhaps it was just a rumor, but I had heard it from multiple reliable sources who would seem to know what Brunner was intending.  But I fail to see how these comments Brunner positions her to make such a run.

I supported Brunner’s Senate candidacy because of where she stood on the issues, and tactically, I thought Lee Fisher was the worst candidate at the worst possible time.

But unless the Dispatch did a massive hatchet job in reporting her comments, how does Brunner run against John Kasich after calling him a reformer who is effective at getting his agenda through and as someone who cares.

And if you read the rest of the story, you’d see a prime example of how Kasich cares:

“I don’t want any foreigners working on wellheads. Foreigners are people who come from Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Kentucky, and those distant foreigners from Texas,” Kasich said. “We want Ohioans. And let me let you in on something. I want African-Americans on those wellheads. (emphasis added.)

So African-Americans have little place for them in Kasich’s Cabinet, but they can work fracking gas wellheads in Appalachia Ohio with its…. um… massive African-American population.

It’s like Kasich views the economy with the zest of an interior decorator.  “I want African-Americans working in the natural gas industry over here in Appalachia, and I want Asians doing the fishing in Lake Erie… Oh, and see if we can get some Native Americans for the casinos…”  Look, I’m glad that Kasich says he wants African-Americans to find jobs but…. I mean… did he really say that and did Brunner really nod in approval during such a speech?

I checked on Brunner’s Facebook pages, and although at least one other follower has asked her to respond to this story, she hasn’t.  Before posting this, I’ve emailed Brunner for an explanation.  If she responds and agrees to go on the record, I’ll post it.  But she’s got some serious explaining to do.

[UPDATE:]  Here’s the response Brunner posted on her Facebook site to comments from followers who were asking her to explain her comments in the Dispatch:

Thanks for your comments. I fully support the SB 5 referendum effort. I also believe that we must respect our government officials for the offices they hold. Public service for the sake of public service recognizes that respect is the foundation for public policy that promotes further respect, fairness and equality. Those taking the free market view often believe they are working for the public good, but with an entirely different approach and emphasis. Sometimes you throw rocks; other times you use them to build bridges, even when rocks have been thrown at you. It’s up to each of us to decide for ourselves what we will do. I respect all of your opinions.

We respect the office in which Kasich holds.  We probably respect it more than he does.  But I’ve always been taught that if you wanted to respect, you had to earn it.  Kasich’s bullying and braying has divested him of the respect he would get for the office he holds.

So Jennifer Brunner wants to build a bridge with Kasich?  Fine.  That’s her choice.  And it’s my choice not to cross that bridge with her.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    Has she bumped her head lately?

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    Has she bumped her head lately?

  • Anonymous

    I could understand her comments if she was recording them as part of her role as Kasich’s psychiatrist and was trying to provide a diagnosis for his obvious mental illness.  They definitely seemed out of context when I first read them, considering the source.

  • Sluggo

    Politically, she’s dead to me.

    Brunner ran a Senate campaign against Fisher without seriously raising money and crippled him for the 2010 general.  Fisher was a weak candidate and terrible in terms of organization.  But the handwriting was on the wall pretty early and a quixotic run was only going to do damage.

    We also needed Brunner in the SoS office to have a crack at the apportionment board. In fact, it would be nice if we weren’t wondering about the SB5 ballot language right now because we’d know Secretary of State Brunner would be doing the right thing.

    All of that might be forgivable but calling Kasich a reformer and complimenting him on what he’s done is enough to have her banished to the wilderness.  You’ve got to have more savvy than that to be in the big leagues.

  • leeseh

    I was hoping you guys would say she was misquoted or the Dispatch twisted her words!  Please!

  • Anonymous

    Shaking my head wondering WTF is going on.
    Cordray just became the frontrunner to challenge King Kasich in 2014.

  • The Dispatch lies all the time. It is hard to call them a newspaper.  Hope it isn’t true. If she want to run and win a Dem primary, this will not get her there.

  • I’m glad she ran because she exposed the flaws in Lee Fisher’s campaign. It is unfortunate that money is more important than people or message in regards to winning elections.

    The problem will always be that the money has taken over our political process, completely. The only way to win is to be a rotten rich person, connected to rotten rich persons or to sell your soul to the devil as the R’s have done for over 100 years.

  • Willowforkaboya

    Somebody needs to check the water in Columbus.

  • Anonymous

    Bunk. If she had been forced to go back to the SoS race with her tail between her legs like a nice obedient little girl, several things would have happened: A. her followers would have been even ANGRIER at Lee Fisher, Ted Strickland, John Haseley, Doug Kelly, and the Democratic establishment and less interested in working, so Strickland probably would have lost even a little bigger. B. Lee Fisher, without any challenger and being  anointed by the party which did his bullying and heavy lifting for him, would have  been an even LAZIER candidate if that’s possible, and C. Jennifer would have lost along with everyone else, thus hurting her political future, and not benefiting us in any way.

    Conversely, if FISHER had dropped out, I’m dubious Jennifer could have beaten Portman, but Ted Strickland would DEFINITELY still be governor and chances are excellent that Rich Cordray would still be AG.

    But if Jennifer really said this crap, though, I have some serious issues too. Kasich is not a “reformer,” he’s a destroyer. Simply changing things doesn’t make someone a “reformer,” unless they improve things. For instance, for me, one of the main marks of a “reformer” is that they make governor more transparent and responsive. Not only hasn’t Kasich done that, he has blasted us 150 mph in the opposite direction. He’s piled corruption upon corruption upon corruption. How is it “reform” to let lobbyists write key legislation on which the future of the state depends, based only on how they can profit from tax dollars? That isn’t reform. 

    Kasich ISN’T “making an effort” to show he “cares.” He has snubbed anyone and everyone who isn’t marching in lockstep with him, including members of his own party. Failing to listen to any dissenting voices doesn’t show he’s “making an effort” but the opposite. When even a Republican publicly stands up to say Kasich needs to “drop the Dirty Harry act,” and another Republican privately says he is a Nazi and his staff are “brown shirts,” I don’t see the evidence of his “efforts.”

    Just based on his actions so far, I don’t see evidence that Kasich wants to strengthen the state, but rather pillage it for the profit of his cronies and donors. All I can do is judge someone on their actions, and so far, Kasich’s have been disastrous.

  • Anonymous

    Amen, Adrienne. I think the foundational flaw of our government today is that money speaks so loud it can drown out everything else. It’s why I’m not pooh-poohing the idea that a corporate zombie like Josh “The Empty Suit” Mandel could snatch the Ohio Senate seat next year from someone who IS dedicated to serving the people of the state. Manel’s handlers intend to purchase a series of offices for him and so far they have been successful.

  • Anonymous

    I hear Tim Ryan may be interested too.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly. You can even see Husted trying to put light between himself and Kasich since he is hoping to run for governor in 2014, it’s rumored. I don’t think it will be enough to elect him but not running as the 180 degree opposite of Kasich is going to make winning a Democratic primary in 2014 difficult but not impossible.

  • Anonymous

    There are going to be 60,000 fracking jobs IN YOUR CONTY?

  • Anonymous

    There are going to be 60,000 fracking jobs IN YOUR CONTY?

  • For the sake of unity. I’d be happier if she just unified with Democrats.  Is this another aspect of an opportunist nature?  How very politic of her. Or is it blind ambition?

  • Annekarina

    johnny’s words were chilling.  Out of state folks are foreigners?  Oh?  So what does he plan to do?  Make Ohioans prisoners in this state?  We will not be free to move around, leave the state or the country?  Stuck here at low pay or no pay to work for him?  Is that the plan?  Naww….can’t be….

  • Anonymous

    There you go again with your Ted Strickland would have been Governor if Brunner had been the nominee.  Never mind that Brunner ran a completely incomptenent campaign that make Lee Fisher look professional by comparison (showing up at events where the venue was locked out), a couple of months in early 2010 when we saw virtually no campaigning or fundraising by Brunner.

    I think the notion that Brunner was a factor in Strickland’s loss is overblown in that you think it exists at all.  I was not the only Strickland person who supported Jennifer, and for the most part, Strickland kept out of the race.  He could have done a lot more.  I think you’re projecting your personal views on a larger Democratic base more so than the facts warranted. There are multiple reasons Ted lost, but in my opinion, Brunner doesn’t even register.

    Maybe Brunner would have lost if she would have run for SoS, but the fact is that Husted got an easy victory by her not running for re-election.  As much as I supported Brunner, I never denied that her running for the Senate hurt our chances in the SoS race.  But I thought the Senate race was too important to leave it to Lee.

    But Sluggo is right, I think the Senate primary could be forgiven, but Brunner’s utter jaw dropping comments in this story (as much as I dislike the Dispatch, I seriously doubt they “made up” these quotes.  Maybe took them out of context, but I would have expected Jennifer to have said something to that affect by now) are unpardonable. 

    She is going to have to really explain herself if she expects people like me to support her again.  I’m glad to see her working on putting the election law changes to a referendum, but she’s going to need to do more than that (and less of stories like this) if she expects those of us who supported her the most to support her again.

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    He said “Foreigners are people who come from Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Kentucky, and those distant foreigners from Texas,” Kasich said. “
    well exxxcccussseee me but isnt he from Pittsburg?
    news flash — I want a governor that was born in Ohio ! 
    Hes the foreignor — all his ideas are foreign –foreign to anyone who has any common sense.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe the Bill Clinton triangulation will work for Brunner – maybe not.  If she is going to run for gov in 14 then she will need to be less than nice.

    You can respect the office and not agree with the person holding it.

    I think she is still not campaigning right.

  • Anonymous

    You and I totally disagree on this, and it has little to do with what kind of campaign Jennifer and/or Lee  would have run/ran. It has to do with who Lee IS. Portman would not have had the ability to use his huge bank account to tie ANY other candidate to Ted Strickland and sink the both with one shot. No other candidate has that connection. For that reason alone, even if Lee had been a decent candidate, he shouldn’t have been the candidate this year. It doesn’t have anything to do with Jennifer — only Lee, and little to do with whatever you imagine my “personal views” are. I don’t think it’s my “personal view” that Portman’s shots at Strickland helped bring him down. And no, I will not “get over it” until the day I never have to look at Kasich’s arrogant little mug again — and only if he disappears without destroying the state. 

  • Anonymous

    I agree.  There was no need to comment about the speech.  And that would have been the safe approach.  Instead, she becomes a trophy for Kasich to use against his critics and angers the very base she needs if she every wants to run again.

  • Wow.  The response to supporters is even more troubling than the original quotes in the Dispatch. 

  • Teacher with experience

    I don’t think bridges can be built with Kasich.  You give him an inch – he’ll take a mile.  These are the types of comments that he will see as complete endorsements.  I failed to see his caring side when he was gleefully signing SB5 into law, after stating that he wouldn’t make a big deal out of it because it’s hard for people.  Yes, it’s hard for me and others who will be directly affected by it, and he threw it in my face and smeared it around just for fun.  Caring?  No Way!!!!

  • Annekarina


  • Annekarina


  • wheredmypartygo

    Haven’t seen anything this stupid by a Democrat since Capri Cafaro shared the love on stage with Kasich at his inaugural.

    Jennifer your 15 minutes are up. Find a new line of work.

  • I like Jennifer Brunner, but I think she has lost touch with reality on this one.

  • Modern Esquire

    Would we have held onto the Apportionment Board had Brunner been re-elected as SoS?  No.

    Frankly, I can’t see how anyone could have seen the past week in Washington and not thought have another progressive Democrat in the Senate would be more important than whether we held the SoS’s office.

  • Gunther5612

    I too am a lifelong resident of the Ohio Valley and plans for drilling Marcellus shale have been in effect long before Kasich was elected.  In other words, when Strickland was governor!  To hear Kasich crow about this as if these finds were made yesterday is sickening. 

    Furthermore I have neighbors who work in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well as people in our community who live in West Virginia and Pennsylvania and work here.   I don’t consider them “foreigners” and I have never heard West Virginians or Pennsylvanians refer to workers from my Ohio city as “foreigners”.

    Kasich is out of touch with anyone who lives outside the central part of  the state.

  • Real Get Real

    Ohio is not any different than the two-party mess of a system nationwide.  To win, you must first convince voters of your own party in a primary by leaning to the extreme, then convince the silent middle in the general election by tacking back to center.  Brunner knows that she will likely be opposed by a Dem in a primary – maybe Courdray? – as Kasich is ripe for being a one-termer (by his own wishes).  But if she is trying to play the middle now in a center right state like Ohio, she’s making a blunder in strategy.  The dislike of the GOP is pretty intense and runs deep in many areas.  

    Kasich is like the one obnoxious guy in your company that everyone thinks is novel and interesting at first because he rips everyone, is loud and opinionated, and says things that no one else wants to say.   As his true colors start showing more, people may tire of his antics.  Of course, if the economy nationwide improves, people won’t care and will probably re-elect him.  If the economy is bad, Kasich can keep trying to blame everyone else but himself – but isn’t that the GOP’s strategy in the last election?

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    yup  he was born outside Pittsburg………………
    I would venture to say he put the “Pitts”  in Pittsburg 
    I bet that state doesnt claim him as a shinning star

  • Anonymous

    Well, Jen Brunner is permanently off my list of people to vote for in the future.  Wished I’d have put Marc Dann on that list.

  • Annn

    I was disappointed when she left her post as the best secretary of state Ohio has ever had but this just stuns me. 

  • And  shes in charge of the HB 194 referendum? Someone better run against her…We need our reps to stand up 4 workers rights..this is unacceptable. He cares alright, thats y taxpayers r losing another $4mil to 50 execs for Wendy’s? Hes suppose to CREATE JOBS FOR OHIOANS.. not continue to dish out millions to execs?He’s depletn our tax dollars payn exec buds..no new jobs, with 9 trillion missn n Leiman brothers n Republican Govs names being brought up in Fed Reserve? How blind do they think Ohioans are? He’s just giving away our tax dollars to his buddies..wonder what his bonus will be from them? STEALING,  n robbing Ohio taxpayers…n continues to do this…some budget he created..more like a smoke screen to steal n deceive Ohio and its citizens.. Now the Ohio Chamber of Commerce is campaigning to RETAIN SB 5, even though several businesses who belong are against SB 5..n he’s not bright enough to be slick about it…WHERE R THE JOBS KASICH FOR OHIOANS?

  • IVE HAD ENOUGH of this circus!

  • Not a foreigner..ur confusing Kasich..hes just a corrupt, thief..

  • Died? she’s an embarrassment

  • shes NOT the same person..she ran alright..n looks like she sold us out too..no confidence in her..

  • I dont trust her now..she’s missing the whole picture..n the only thing Kasich cares about is deceivn Ohioans n completing/finishn stealn every last dollar, and sending Ohio into financial ruin..hes filln his buddies pockets while bankruptn us, n the blaming the teachers, firefighters n police for his corrupt, criminal greed..If people cant see this, then they truely blind

  • She s gotta stay away from the kool aid

  • If she thinks he cares n tryn? to what send Columbus to the bottom?

  • no china

  • whoa..Pittsburgh is extactic..they lost there village idiot…

  • campaigning? she just committed suicide

  • pssst..to much tea n koolaide

  • She is missing the picture on this.  If a person is against the people who work for a living, who are they for?  I know Gov. Kasich is a Lehman Brothers flunkie, who took Ohio Pensions and invested them in Mortgage Backed securities, so anything he says is automatically suspect.  Why anyone voted for him is beyond me.  I found on Twitter, a group called “Teachers for Kasich” I bet they wish they could change their votes now.

    Governor Kasich is a member of ALEC I believe.  That means that corporations are writing the laws for the State of Ohio.

    I know I would have to do research before I could support Jennifer in the future.

  • ya mean the COLUMBUS DISGRACE? I wouldnt let my dog use there so called paper to urinate on

  • Anonymous

    Even sadder is a Brunner apologists coming on this site nearly three months after the fact trying to spin her comments. She said we needed to build a bridge with Kasich. I disagree. Kasich can’t be trusted. The reality is that she speaks kinder of Kasich than she did publicly about Strickland, especially during 2010. That’s unpardonable.

  • WellDuh

    Unpardonable? What is this Democratic prison? Strickland screwed her, and she’s not allowed to be mad. I mean, really? Having never read Plunderbund until the other day, I can’t imagine how our Party functions in this state. Brunner apologist? Please.

    It really doesn’t take too much brain function to see what she really meant. But then again, that may be asking too much. Sorry for that headache. Take some Advil.

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