[UPDATED 9:34 pm – added information about O’Connor Campaign’s Press Release]

If I could nominate a phrase for this year’s campaigns in Ohio, my 2nd choice would be “Talk is cheap.”  As vocal supporters of teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other organized labor unions over the past year, my friends and I felt the depth of that phrase often and on many different levels.  While I spent the majority of my time in front of a computer screen reading and writing, I know literally hundreds of people who first collected signatures, then went door-to-door to encourage Ohio residents to oppose Issue 2.

As a result of the combined efforts of thousands of Ohioans, Issue 2 was soundly defeated in the November general election as millions of Ohioans cast votes in opposition.  That story has been well-documented not only on Plunderbund, but in national media outlets.  2011 was a landmark year for organized labor in Ohio, and we will long remember those elected officials who supported us.

Teacher Donna O’Connor was one of those teachers who worked hard on the behalf of Ohioans to vote down Issue 2.  As the vice president of her local teacher’s association, Donna has exhibited the knowledge & leadership we wanted to see from our elected officials last year, and that is why she is running for the Democratic nomination for House District 21.  Again, we wrote about that already.  But unlike most of the teachers running for office this year, Donna is faced with the challenge of having to first earn the party’s nomination in a primary election this March.

David W. Robinson is the main challenger for the Democratic Party nomination for House District 21.  In the past, a businessman like Robinson with multiple campaigns under his belt might easily merit the nomination.  He has recently been a vocal supporter of working Ohioans and summarizes his position expertly on his campaign website:

That’s why I joined millions of Ohioans last year in working to overturn Senate Bill 5. I was offended by the politicians who sought to deny working Ohioans a seat at the table. The issue was one of fairness, and that’s why we worked together to defeat SB5, ensuring that our teachers, police, firefighters, and other public workers will be treated with respect and dignity.

That segues into my top choice for the 2012 campaign slogan for working Ohioans: “Actions speak louder than words.”

This morning, Donna O’Connor’s campaign manager sent out a Press Release reporting that David Robinson “did not vote to defend the rights of school teachers, firefighters, police officers and public employees last year in the 2011 general election.”  According to the Franklin County Board of Elections and the Ohio Secretary of State, David W. Robinson did not cast a ballot in the November general election.  Public records indicate that Robinson neither voted for, nor against, Issue 2 on November 8, 2011.  I can’t say that I like how that feels.

And that leaves me with some questions:

  1. In 2012, how are we supposed to back a candidate on a pro-labor platform that abstained on the most important vote in recent history?
  2. How will Robinson reply when his Republican opponent blows off any pro-worker claims by pointing out his lack of action on the day it meant the most?

I’ve heard that Robinson’s campaign is putting forth the improbable claim that his absentee ballot was erroneously credited to one of the other ten other David Robinson’s in Franklin County, only five of whom are credited with casting a ballot.  This validity of such a claim can only truly be answered by the Board of Elections or Secretary of State, but it seems implausible given the data in voter records:

  • Only one of the 16 David Robinsons in Franklin County has the middle initial W. (our candidate)
  • Only one of the 16 David Robinsons in Franklin County lives in Worthington (our candidate)
  • Only one of the 16 David Robinsons in Franklin County lives in Sharon Township (our candidate)
  • Our candidate lives in a precinct with a number that is unique from the other 15
  • The identification numbers on file with the Franklin County Board of Elections are all vastly different (see pic below)

A month from now, unless voters turn out for teacher Donna O’Connor, Robinson could be the candidate for Ohio House District 21.  And if that happens, I just want to know how the teachers, firefighters, and police officers living in Dublin and Worthington will be able to explain away Robinson’s decision not to vote on Issue last November.

As I said – I have questions.

2012: Actions speak louder than words.



  • A set of tough issues.  I donated $50 to David Robinson this cycle as well as last cycle.  The current donation is because my head believes he’d be the most likely to pick up the seat in the general.

    However, my heart is with Donna because of her background and because of a certain other teacher who ran for and very narrowly lost this seat in 2006 and was crapped on by the entire establishment to the point where those in power spread the word that she advocated closing down schools in our district.

    So I understand the concept of the underdog.  The current absentee ballot is on the way and I really don’t know which way I’m going to vote.

    And then there is the fact that the voter files shows that I didn’t vote in the 2008 primary and I know that is absolute nonsense.

    Hard to know what to believe here.

  • Anonymous

    Chris Redfern told us (the Delaware Co. Dems) that 65% of police and 55% of teachers voted for John Kasich in 2010.  My question to Donna would be, are you one of the 45% or one of the 55%?  Dave Robinson is a man of impeccable character.  If he says his vote was credited wrong, I would believe him.  Since I don’t live in this district, I don’t have a dog in this fight, so to speak, but I do know Dave.

  • becca

    At this point, why does it matter if a person voted for Kasich?  Someone responded once with the statement that while he disagreed w/ the Republican’s stance on social issues, he still considered himself a Republican……until  this last year.  I can identify with that statement ~ a whole lot!  To the person that says the BOE makes mistakes – while in theory that can be a true statement, prove it.  As educators, we NEED someone in the legislature that really understands the trials and tribulations of educators.

    So – Greg – when are YOU going to run??  🙂

  • Annekarima

    Perhaps, if this is the Robinson I think it is, the answer to his future lies in his past.  Didn’t he run against Tiberi once?  And wasn’t there some dirty campaigning?  Not unusual if one if doing well against one’s opponent, but perhaps worth a “you owe us” in the future???  But again, maybe not….

  • Annekarima

    Yes, and they don’t change your name on the voter registration when you correctly fill out the paperwork and send it in and then behold!   here comes your voter registration in the mail, same as it has always been.  What do they do with their mail?  Do our votes count or don’t they?

  • I would be very surprised if David didn’t vote in the general last time and vote down Issue 2.  I’m reaching out to David to see what I can find out. 

  • Anonymous

    Dave Robinson’s campaign has just sent out an email explaining how his ballot was lost and it’s quite plausible.  I don’t know Donna O’Conner, but I think she is totally wrong on this one.  PB, I think you may have jumped the gun on this non-story.

  • mwoods

    I can attest to votes not being counted.  When my son was in college in Indiana, he voted in his first primary.  He called me to ask questions about the Democratic candidates on his ballot.  I know he requested a Democratic ballot.  After the primary, he was listed as a Republican.  In the fall election,  his ballot was received but never counted.  I called the BOE to ask but they could not tell me why it was never counted.  It might have arrived too late, the privacy envelope could have been filled out improperly or there could have been a processing error and the vote was counted after all.  We will never know.  But, without question, errors do occur.  There are errors by the voter, the post office, the Board of Elections, poll workers and volunteers involved in campaigns who give voters incorrect information.  Human error will always factor into any human effort.  My suggestion is that voters check the progress of their ballot by going online at the BOE website.  The website has been updated to show the dates when requests and ballots are received and mailed.  I always vote early  in person at the BOE to avoid any problems.  And, I do suggest that we give voters the benefit of the doubt when they say they have voted but it is not recorded at the Board of Elections.  Last fall, Democrats were highly motivated to vote, we turned out in record numbers to vote absentee after BOE’s were not allowed to mail request forms until requested by the voter, and we made sure that our opportunities to vote early were not cut short by the voter suppression bill.  I trust that David Robinson voted.  I know him to be an honest man and I take him at his word.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll take any heat for this story personally and not cast blame on the other writers at the blog.  I hope he did vote and does have an explanation backed up by the Board of Elections because I’d hate to have to defend him as our candidate if he wins the primary.

    And if his story is as he says, then I hope he is planning on raising hell with the Secretary of State and Franklin County BOE for not counting his vote.  With only a 44% turnout rate and 336,526 votes cast, the odds of his being the only lost vote are extreme and it raises an entirely different issue regarding the accuracy of the election results and Robinson should demand an explanation from the officials who are supposedly running fair elections in Ohio. 

    In Hilliard during this election, a school levy initially lost by 8 out of 30,000 votes cast.  After a recount and inclusion of provisional ballots, the levy passed by 210 votes, a mere 0.7% of the ballots cast. If Robinson has evidence that his vote in Franklin County (like Hilliard) was lost, then this should be considered a scandal of major proportions.  How many other Democrats had their votes lost during that very significant election?  And what about this primary?  Shouldn’t we be concerned about these candidates getting a fair election?  How can we be confident that it will occur?

    It will be very interesting to hear the FC Board of Elections explain why votes are not being counted regardless of the magnitude of the issues or candidates on the ballot.


  • Pilib4

    I have heard that one before, “check was lost in the mail.” If you believe that I’m sure there is a bridge in Brooklyn that I can sell you.

  • Pilib4

    missskeptic, would you please provide your source?  saying that chris redfern said this is not sufficient!  how pray tell would redfern or anyone else have statistics that you claim? if these statistics about teachers were true, strickland would have lost in a landslide!!! so there is no misunderstanding, missskeptic, i am saying you have your facts wrong. not having a dog in this fight and taking a shot at teachers is quite contradictory!

  • Elisabeth Warner

    There is simply no way that David Robinson, an outspoken, passionate advocate for worker’s rights, a man who has spent countless hours knocking on doors collecting signatures against SB5, who has genuinely dedicated his personal and professional life to making a positive difference in his community, did not vote in the November election. It strikes me as shockingly naive to say nothing untoward could happen to a ballot cast in Ohio- we’ve lived through some pretty crazy elections in this state, as I’m sure we all remember (for myself, I was told to vote provisionally in the 2010 election because the BoE had mistakenly registered me as a Republican!). I also find it disappointing to have one Democrat sling mud at another- it doesn’t speak well of the slinger, whether the mud comes from the campaign itself, or campaign endorsers, and it does none of us any favors to give voice to this kind of dirty smear tactic.

    I have worked with David in a number of campaigns now, and have come to know him personally. I have every confidence in his ability to first win both the primary and the general election, and then represent District 21 in a way that reflects the values of he has worked so tirelessly to give voice to.

  • I would encourage all concerned about selecting one or the other of these candidates to consider my candidacy – voters do have a third choice in this primary, and the only one with real Statehouse experience. Learn more at http://www.DavidDonofrio.com.

  • Mr. Ackerman – you do have a third choice. Please consider my candidacy, and learn more at http://www.DavidDonofrio.com. The “concept of the underdog” is the man not mentioned in this article.

  • Perhaps David Donofrio has a point.  As I said earlier today, this whole thing smells.  In no particular order:

    1)  I personally have experience the whole vote got lost issue (see my other comment)

    2) David Robinson’s email detailing the exact dates in which he did this, that and the other is bizarre unless he has a photographic memory.  Sounds like special pleading.  I’m willing to accept his word that he voted but please …

    3)  The concept that a newbie Dem running in a primary for a state house campaign has a DC based campaign manager was bizarre.  It has since been explained to me that this is part of a coordinated ODP effort with teachers running in 2012 which leads me to:

    4) I trust the state party and the Ohio House Democratic Caucus as far as I can throw them.  As me why sometimes and I’ll bore your ear off with the stories.

    5) The whole “how you vote” thing can be sooo misinterpreted.  My wife and I both decided in the 2000 primary to vote FOR John McCain against George W. Bush because even then we knew Bush was trouble.  Naive as we were then, we didn’t know it would make us “Republicans” until the next primary.  That vote was tossed in my wife’s face by the establishment as the “Republican” running in the 2006 Dem primary in this seat despite her voting D in later primaries.

    6) And then there is Lucie Pollard rushing to defend Robinson without at least mentioning that her daughter is Robinson’s campaign manager.  Not the crime of the century but still like everything else about this … it smelled.  Maybe “everybody knows it” is true but then I’m not part of “everybody”

  • Forgot to add:

    7) Any sort of push poll is skeevy.  Push polling is something best left to Karl Rove.

  • Jeanne Melvin

    Donna’s campaign advisors, as well as Plunderbund, crossed the line by promoting this counterproductive article.  These days, it’s not surprising to see presidential candidates attacking one another, but local candidates from the same party should not feel the need to resort to negative campaign tactics. 
    Votors in the 21st District expect these candidates to tackle the issues, not one another, and to be united in speaking about what positive changes they can make for our district.  United we stand…

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