On Tuesday night in Celina, a Republican stronghold in northwest Ohio, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley mercilessly harpooned John Kasich and his agenda over the last six years like Ahab going after Moby Dick. According to the Daily Standard, she’s “sounding as if she’s ready to enter the 2018 gubernatorial race.” Whaley is widely regarded as a “progressive, pragmatic leader with a track record of getting things done.”
Others have similar thoughts on Whaley’s talents and Democratic futures. Liz Walters, a Summit County Council Member and former Ohio Democratic Party Executive Director, primed the pump Thursday with a solicitation for funds for Whaley, who is running unopposed for another term as Mayor of Dayton. With former House Member and 2014 candidate for state treasurer Connie Pillich and former member of congress Betty Sutton already declared, many believe Whaley is poised to be the third woman to enter the Democratic primary for governor.
State Senator Joe Schiavoni has also declared for governor. Candidates who are in the news but undeclared so far are TV daytime talk show host Jerry Springer, former Cleveland mayor and congressman Dennis Kucinich, and Consumer Finance Protection Bureau chief Richard Cordray, who President Trump wants to fire but some Republicans want to stay in Washington to keep him off the playing field in Ohio.
Republican candidates include Lt. Governor Mary Taylor, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Congressman Jim Renacci.
Speaking at the Mercer County Democrats’ spring dinner at Romer’s Catering in Celina, Daily Standard reporter William Kincaid said Whaley “used the occasion to go right for the jugular, scorching Kasich and ‘his cronies’ for their policies that she said have failed and put Ohio into a crisis.” Whaley keelhauled Gov. Kasich, who won the 2016 Mercer County primary over Donald Trump by just 955. Mr. Trump went onto take 80 percent of the Mercer County vote in the General Election against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Walters said she’s “worked with candidates running for every level of office who have shown their commitment to progressive values and give working families something to believe in. And in my view, Nan Whaley is a candidate for governor we all can believe in.” If Democratic candidates get swept away as they did in 2010 and 2014, 2018 will be a year to be cursed, as any similar across the board losses will scuttle the party and its candidates for a decade or more and is likely to result in one Democrat congressman from northeast Ohio loosing their seat, as Republicans will redistrict to force two Democrats to fight each other for survival.
With Gov. Kasich again out of state, this time selling his book “Two Paths” about his run for president last year, the second time he’s tried and failed to win the White House, Nan Whaley didn’t dance around the mulberry bush, as she harpooned Ohio’s Great White Whale governor, saying “Many of our friends and neighbors are angry and pessimistic about the future of our state. Many of them are convinced that the system has failed them, our institutions have failed them, the politicians have failed them and our government has failed them.”
Beltway reporters in New York and Washington are amnesiacs when it comes to John Kasich’s real record in Ohio of taking from the poor and giving to the rich. Some Ohio media have finally mustered the courage to criticize the 65-year old Kasich for his false claims of economic miracles being worked due to his income tax cuts, deregulation and budgeting razzle dazzle. Whaley must have been channeling Plunderbund at some point, because she said Kasich’s “miracle is nothing more than a mirage.” Supply side economics doesn’t work even though John Kasich still believes it does, and Whaley didn’t forget to take aim at “the tax and economic policies Republicans have pushed for more than a decade that have failed miserably.”
“The schemes that we were promised would spur economic growth have flopped,” she said, Kincaid reported. “For more than four years Ohio has consistently lagged behind the rest of the nation in terms of job growth.” Hitting all the high notes Democrats and independents have made over time, but many Ohio newsgroups have failed to point out, Whaley isn’t happy that Ohio trails the rest of the nation in personal income growth, noting that its median household income has declined steadily year after year.
Mr. Kasich has enjoyed challenge-free interviews on national TV shows, so he should pray he doesn’t have to confront Whaley in a one-on-one because she’s got his number: “The tax-shifting game has done nothing but saddle low- and middle-income families with a greater share of the tax burden.”
Dayton’s mayor T-boned Kasich, saying “‘his cronies’ brag about cutting taxes and balancing the state budget, but if you ask my colleagues or other local officials around the state, we will tell you it’s easy to balance the budget when you use money promised to someone else.” Gov. Kasich’s theft of local funding is doing great harm to Buckeye communities, she said, noting that neighborhoods are less safe now due to compromised vital services, “some mandated by law.”
Other editorial commentators have painted a picture of broken bonds between municipalities and state government, following power and money grabs by the Kasich administration, enabled by a friendly right-win GOP-led legislature.
What criticism of Ohio over the Kasich years would be complete without talking about Ohio’s nation-leading black eye of opioid overdoses. “Paying off? Who is he kidding?” Whaley said of Mr. Kasich’s claim of tackling the heroin crisis. She called for a statewide state of emergency and prioritization of drug prevention and treatment, reporter Kincaid wrote, noting she refused to let pharmaceutical companies off the hook. They “should be held accountable and foot the bill for causing the epidemic” Whaley said.
“Nan will be able to draw on her record as mayor to show voters that Democrats are the leaders Ohio needs,” Walters said in her fundraising email. “Her [Whaley’s] strategy for Dayton, which included smart investments in infrastructure and neighborhoods, will stand in sharp relief to the GOP’s slash-and-burn agenda, which has failed Ohio families.”