November 2010: John Kasich is narrowly elected Governor over incumbent Governor Ted Strickland with 49% of the vote. Kasich would act as if 100% of Ohio had just voted for him.
December 9, 2010: For the first time ever, John Kasich announces the outlines of what would eventually become Senate Bill 5 at a press conference billed as the announcement of his appointment to Tax Commissioner: [Source: Ohio Capital Blog]
January 21, 2011: After being embarrassingly caught misleading the press about an Ohio EPA air permit that Kasich falsely presented as evidence of his administration dislodging bureaucracy (the permit had already been approved under the Strickland Administration, but not executed), Kasich tells a story about getting a traffic ticket wherein he repeatedly called the police officer an “idiot.”
The video of the conference is leaked and instantly becomes viral, as does video of Kasich’s traffic stop three years prior. Kasich is forced to apologize to the officer three years after the fact. The video becomes fodder in the future SB 5 debate by opponents.
At the same time, Kasich shows the worst polling of a first-term Governor in Ohio history with only 1983 Dick Celeste as a close comparison. Celeste, too, would see one of his first legislative achievements challenged in a referendum—an income tax increase, and not the new collective bargaining law that SB 5 would largely roll back—except Celeste would prevail as his poll numbers improved as Ohio entered a historical economic recovery.
By November 2011, Kasich’s approval rating will have improved to 33% in PPP and 36% in Quinnipiac (a six point improvement since the first poll in January.) His disapproval more than doubled over that time, increasing a whopping thirty points from 22% in January to 52% in October.
February 9, 2011: Republican Senate Majority Whip Shannon Jones reveals the substantive language of Senate Bill 5, which replaced a placeholder bill for Governor Kasich’s collective bargaining reform. Governor Kasich attends the unveiling at the legislative committee and announces his support. The next day, Kasich tells the Ohio Newspaper Association that if the legislature doesn’t move fast enough to approve SB 5, he’ll incorporate it into his budget.
800 people showed up to protest the bill at its introduction, a relatively unprecedented level of public opposition to a piece of legislation.
The crowds at the Statehouse would grow to unprecedented levels as opposition grows.
Their message was simple:
Meanwhile, a progressive site called “Plunderbund” becomes the leading website for information on the whip count on SB 5 and is the first to point what the media suddenly realizes: the GOP Senate, despite its 23-10 GOP advantage, is having trouble passing the bill.
Rather than deal with criticisms within their own caucus over the bill, Senate President Tom Niehaus pulls Bill Seitz from the Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee in order to make sure it has the votes to pass the committee and be brought to the floor. After considerable revisions and closed-door arm twisted, SB 5 passes by a single vote. After unceremoniously tossing Bill Seitz rather than address his objections, the Senate GOP leadership publicly chides the Democrats for not offering a single amendment. Later, the Republicans would ignore hundreds of amendments Democrats offered for the State budget.
February 22, 2011: For the first time in Ohio history, the public is locked out of the Statehouse while the legislature was in session. John Kasich’s Public Safety Director Tom Charles is later identified as the party responsible for the decision to lock SB 5 protesters out in the cold as legislators attended a lobbyist wine function.
Meanwhile, the pro-labor protestors outside, upon learning that they were locked out from attending a public session of the state legislature, break out in song, singing “God Bless America.”
February 27, 2011: On eve of critical Senate committee vote on SB 5, Kasich Administration leaks to the Columbus Dispatch an analysis of SB 5 that claims its provisions will save the State nearly a quarter of a billion and local governments over a billion. The report become hotly disputed as it’s quickly pointed out that contains a number of factual errors, false assumption, and double counting. By May, we reported (exclusively) that the officials behind the report privately expressed grave concern that the report had been so politically gamed that its conclusions were indefensible.
March 23, 2011: Quinnipiac releases its first poll on SB 5 showing 41% support the proposed law, but 48% oppose it. It turns out to be the best the legislation has ever polled in Ohio this year. By May, Quinnipiac shows it at 38%-50%… by October, it’s at 33%-56%.
The GOP scrambles to get SB 5 passed in time to force it for a 2011 referendum vote as opposed to a 2012 vote. The GOP publicly states its confident that SB 5 has a better chance to prevail in an expected lower turnout election that typically occurs in off-year elections.
March 28, 2011: The NSFW video “John Kasich: A**hole is released on YouTube. Probably not news. But I still find it hysterical and this is my post, darn it.
March 31, 2011: After publicly acknowledging the opposition to SB 5 and promising to hold a private signing ceremony for SB 5 in respect of how divisive it has become, Governor Kasich suddenly reverses course and makes SB 5 signing one of his most public bill signing by broadcasting it live.
In March alone, Plunderbund has 1/4th the visitors it had in all of 2010—a statewide election year and unprecedented for a political blog in what is supposed to be an off-year election.
April 5, 2011: Kasich and his supporters contemplate incorporating a copy SB 5 into the State budget to attempt to frustrate what becomes an apparent plan by its opponents to submit the bill to a referendum.
Opposition to the plan becomes so controversial, the Senate GOP publicly forces it to be largely abandoned it just a little over a week later.
April 15, 2011: We Are Ohio is approved to circulate petitions to place SB 5 on a referendum.
May 31, 2011: Building A Better Ohio is formed with mostly Kasich staffers and lead by a major lobbyist for the tobacco/energy/insurance industries, and then promptly claims its a “grassroots organization”.
June 23, 2011: In yet another scheme to try to save SB 5, Governor Kasich’s office is tied to an effort to have the Ballot Board (which is GOP controlled) split SB 5 into multiple issues in the hopes that voters will approve at least some portion of Issue 2.
June 29, 2011: We Are Ohio submits nearly 1.3 million signatures to place SB 5 to referendum vote—a record number of signatures in Ohio.
July 21, 2011: Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) certifies that We Are Ohio has submitted sufficient signatures to subject SB 5 to a referendum in the 2011 November general election.
July 31, 2011: Dispatch reports that Building a Better Ohio predicts it can win if it focus on the few provisions of SB 5 that poll well (teacher merit pay, 15% cap on insurance premiums and 10% for pension contributions) and also predicts it will raise $20 million for its efforts.
August 3, 2011: Ohio Ballot Board meets and declares SB 5 referendum shall be Issue 2 on the ballot. After a protracted closed-door recess, Ballot Board unanimously votes to make a “No” vote be a vote for repeal in accordance with prior issues, against the private urging Governor Kasich and the public urging of the Building a Better Ohio campaign. This leads to Kamp Kasich to become incredibly frustrated with Jon Husted, who they believe undermined Kasich with this decision.
August 7, 2011: The Columbus Dispatch, one of Kasich’s most vocal supporters in the State, begs for Kasich and the unions to meet to discuss a compromise to avoid an all-or-nothing referendum. It is later revealed that Republicans establishment figures with ties to Kasich were behind genesis of getting a compromise on SB 5 to avoid a vote fearing that a defeat of Issue 2 could cause harm to the Republican brand in the 2012 elections.
August 19, 2011: John Kasich and the GOP legislative leadership stage a meeting with labor leaders to discuss a compromise on Issue 2, even though We Are Ohio and every labor leader had publicly said it was too late for Kasich to reach out for a compromise… a compromise months earlier he ridiculed on 700 WLW conservative radio talk show host Willie Cunningham’s show.
Any talk of compromise ends.
September 8, 2011: Governor Kasich warns at a speech to NEO business leaders that if Issue 2 is defeated, then “card check” will become law in Ohio because labor will become emboldened. Kasich later is reported to threaten that Ohio might go into a recession if Issue 2 is defeated.
September 9, 2011: Plunderbund breaks the story about how the Ohio GOP Senate had granted its top staff large retroactive raises, which the GOP later points was also approved for some Democratic staffers after the GOP raises.
September 14, 2011: Building a Better Ohio is caught using a common stock photo model to pose as it’s police officer in its campaign mailings to suggest that it’s on the side of law enforcement.
October 11, 2011: Building A Better Ohio splices footage of a We Are Ohio ad in which Cincinnati great-grandmother praises the firefighters that saved her great-granddaughter’s life and how she opposes Issue 2 into an ad that makes it appear she supports Issue 2. “GrannyGate” is born.
Building a Better Ohio sees a growing list of TV stations agreeing to pull the ad as deceptive. A public relations nightmare ensues and the campaign finds itself not on the air during a critical period of the campaign. Refusing to acknowledge its error or apologize, a defiant Building a Better Ohio has to place a different ad on the air but vows that “Grannygate” ad will air again. It never does, except for a We Are Ohio ad that using the great-grandmother to clarify that she opposes Issue 2 and is outraged by what Building a Better Ohio had done.
Polls that had shown the gap in Issue 2 has closed to the low teens seemingly show the gap roughly double overnight. Any momentum Building a Better Ohio had made in the campaign is reversed, and it appears it never again regains the momentum with the remaining few weeks left.
October 25, 2011: GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns at Ohio GOP Issues 2 & 3 campaign office in Cincinnati, only to be heard in earshot of the media that he wouldn’t endorse either issue, even though he had already endorsed Issue 2 back in June on his Facebook page.
October 27, 2011: Building a Better Ohio has to publicly report it has only raised less than third of what it expected it would raise in the late July Dispatch story. Despite focusing on the “victory” plan it outlined, opposition to Issue 2 has never been higher. Defeat is imminent.
November 2, 2011: Conservative publication National Review publishes a story in which close aides of Governor Kasich blame the Romney fiasco on long feud with Ohio GOP Chairman Kevin DeWine whom they are convinced want to embarrass Kasich over Issue 2 in favor of Jon Husted who they suspect may primary Kasich come 2014. The entire GOP establishment is shown doing a post-mortem on Issue 2 a week before the election.
November 6, 2011: PPP joins Quinnipiac in showing opposition to Issue 2 is well above 50% and with an > 20 point lead… essentially a tie for its high water mark. Kasich’s approval rating has dropped to 33%, disapproval up at 57%.
November 8, 2011: ???