It looks like perennial Republican candidate Ron Hood is back again, and this time he’s running against Democrat Jeremy VanMeter in Ohio’s 78th House District.
Hood’s political career in Ohio is interesting, to say the least. He’s had a few wins and, most recently, a long series of losses. And his time in office – in multiple districts around the state – was punctuated by moments of extremism that would make only Rick Santorum and the most extreme anti-labor advocates proud.
Most recently (since 2006), Hood has run for State Senate and twice for congress, losing in the primary all three times. This year Hood managed to pull off a primary win in the revamped 78th which puts him up against Democrat VanMeter, an energetic young school board president who grew up in the area and who has received the endorsements of local labor groups including police, fire and teachers.
But back to Hood…
Ron first held office in Mahoning County from 1995 to 2000 during which time he introduced a bill to make Ohio a “right to work” state and sponsored bills that helped serve as a model for Ohio’s current disaster of a charter school system.
Since at least 2003, Hood has worked for the National Right-to-Work committee. Estimates based on financial disclosure form filings indicate he has likely received $200,000+ in compensation from the anti-union group.
Hood’s campaign has also received thousands in contributions from David Brennan and his family, the founder of White Hat which has received nearly One Billion Dollars in state money to operate dozens of failing charter schools in Ohio.
After losing his seat to John Boccieri, Hood moved to Pickaway County and again ran for state rep in 2004, defeating Dan Dodd by a narrow margin in the 91st district.
During his single term in the 91st, Hood introduced HB515 “to prohibit an adoptive or foster child from being placed in the private residence of a homosexual, bisexual, or transgender person”. The legislation was so extreme and so offensive that Republican House Speaker Jon Husted killed the bill before it ever came up for a vote.
Hood, as we mentioned earlier, attempted to run for State Senate and then for Congress, but was defeated in the primary each time.
During his primary this year, Hood participated in a Tea Party debate during which he complained about the size of the state budget. “The nature of the legislator is to spend more money,” said Hood. “And they want to spend other people’s money, which is even worse.” Remember this quote, people. We’ll come back to it in our next post on Mr. Hood.
But since winning the primary, Hood has been MIA. He’s skipped candidate forums attended by his opponent Mr. VanMeter and has generally dropped off the map completely.
Hood appears to think he can hide out and win this election without engaging his opponent or discussing the issues simply because he has an R next to his name.
With SB5 still fresh on our minds, and with labor groups already offering their endorsements of VanMeter, I hope we’ll see them – and everyone else – step up and do a little more. Great polling around races at the top of the ticket could certainly make down-ticket races like this one more winnable – especially with VanMeter out campaigning and Hood hiding wherever guys like Hood hide.
Ron Hood spent nearly two decades fighting to destroy the rights of Ohio’s workers, Ohio’s women and Ohio’s LGBT community. Let’s make sure we don’t give him a chance to do any more damage.