[Full disclosure: I’m a long time friend of David’s wife Lorraine and have known David for several years. I attended their wedding.]
Sometimes talk is cheap. Sometimes posts are weak.
Last week Greg wrote a piece taking David Robinson, Democratic candidate for Ohio House in the 21st District, to task for allegedly not voting in the past election to help stop Issue 2 (SB5). The post was fueled by a press release attacking Robinson for this very thing.
Let me start by saying I don’t know Donna personally or politically, but based on Greg’s earlier post highlighting educators running for office she seems like a great candidate that we should be working to get into the statehouse. Both David and Donna are endorsed by the Franklin County Dems.
That said, there are several problems I have with this line of attack and Greg’s post. It’s worth noting that Greg didn’t just pass along the O’Connor press release without checking the facts. He did a great amount of work and verified that the Franklin County BOE records don’t indicate a returned ballot for David. This raised questions that were legitimate in Greg’s view and I don’t have a problem with the post from that standpoint.
Where we differ is the relative strength of the argument and an inability to consider evidence that would counter the narrative of “talk is cheap”.
I’ve never been a fan of the BOE records style of argument in politics. So and so didn’t vote in this election. So and so pulled a Republican ballot in this election. Weak sauce.
If Greg had wanted evidence of whether talk was cheap he could have simply taken a look at Robinson’s campaign YouTube account. This video was posted on October 11th:
It would seem odd to me that someone who either didn’t care about SB5 or was just talking the talk would shoot such a video. It would also seem odd – and Greg had no way of knowing this really – that David would also canvass in support of repealing SB5.
I also find it curious that Greg would position Robinson as O’Connor’s “main challenger for the Democratic Party nomination”. David nearly defeated Mike Duffey in 2010. The two were vying for a seat left open by Kevin Bacon who ran for the Senate. Duffey won with 19,859 votes to Robinson’s 19,482. That, folks, is about as close to a tie as we get in politics. Robinson is clearly a favorite to take on Duffey having come within 377 votes out of 39,341 (less than 1%). Duffey will surely have an incumbent advantage, but his support of SB5 could be his undoing. Before it was repealed in a landslide, he said opponents would have a hard time persuading voters to overturn a law that, as he said “is a restoration of power to the taxpayers and to the voters.” My guess is the taxpayers and voters have spoken on the issue and Mike Duffey is at severe odds with them at this point.
Primaries tend to foster intra-party squabbling and the clash of the like minded. Look no further than the Democratic Presidential Nomination process of 2007. Our own ModernEsquire and I fought vigorously over our preferred candidates. It happens. I would hope, however, that such sparing would be done over legitimate issues and not envisioning mountains where molehills exist.
I have no problem with questioning something like this, but when you start going along with a campaign narrative while ignoring the facts that counter it, I think you wander a bit off the mark. David clearly took action. He clearly has the same position on workers, police, firefighters, and teachers as Donna. There is very little substantive difference on the issues between these candidates, which probably lead to these Rovian tactics being employed. Anything to differentiate.
The bigger issue here – and one I think PB should explore – is the integrity of the absentee voting by mail process. It seems really unlikely to me that someone who has run for office previously and planned to again would not vote in an important election with an issue on the ballot that motivated progressives in droves.
The question I have is not whether David is a words guy and not an action guy. He’s proven that to me – with his actions. No, the question for me is what happened in the mysterious case of Mr. Robinson’s missing ballot?