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"Dave Yost was a ghost when Ohio needed him most."

If I were creating slogans for Democrat Steve Dettelbach's campaign for Ohio attorney general, I would have put the one above on television starting on Oct. 31.

Launching the ads on Halloween would have been perfect because Republican Dave Yost as attorney general would be downright scary for Ohio taxpayers.

I would include ghastly sound effects while showing an Avenger-like Dettelbach character removing the cowering Yost ghost from the Statehouse/ECOT castle and tossing him into a dungeon with some dubious characters who resemble the Cuyahoga County crooks that Dettelbach convicted as U.S. attorney.

The ad would end with "that's scary" to depict the prospect of Yost as AG.

In the real world, the combatants are duking it out on the airwaves. Dettelbach accurately portrays himself as a crusading prosecutor who's "got your back" and accurately attacks Yost as asleep at the switch while ECOT pillaged the state treasury. Yost's folks try to denigrate Dettelbach as having a conflict of interest and try to sell Yost as a good old country boy taking kids to the ballpark and seeking "justice" seated in a courtroom wearing a gold tie. Seriously, who would hire a lawyer wearing a gold tie?


Cleveland, Akron Newspapers Endorse Dettelbach

Meanwhile, the connections of Ben Marrison, the departed Columbus Dispatch editor who is running Yost's campaign, landed Yost the Dispatch endorsement, but fell short in two major northeast Ohio newspapers.

Both the Cleveland Plain Dealer ( and the Akron Beacon Journal ( published strong editorials of support for Dettelbach over Yost that honed in on auditor Yost's inability to police ECOT.

One can't help but wonder if the editors in Cleveland and Akron were not impressed by editor Marrison's flaunting of journalistic conventions to run political errands for the Wolfe family, who owned the paper then, and one can't help but wonder if Marrison big-dealed it once too often and turned off the editors in Cleveland and Akron.

If Yost is ghosted by the electorate Nov. 6, he may wonder if turning his political fortunes over to Marrison was such a brilliant idea after all.


Final Political Tracker Predicts Democratic Landslide

OH 12: Danny O'Connor by 1 percent over Troy Balderson. OSU students rule.

OH 4: Janet Garrett upsets Jim Jordan by 10 votes. Puppet ads pay off.

Governor: Rich Cordray by 2 percent over Mike DeWine. Kit trick falls flat.

Senate: Sherrod Brown by 5 percent over James Renacci. Old incidents take toll.

Attorney General: Steve Dettelbach by 4 percent over Dave Yost. Ghost story.

Secretary of State: Kathleen Clyde by 6 percent over Frank LaRose. Class tells.  Auditor: Zack Space by 10 percent over Keith Faber. ECOT fallout.

Treasurer: Rob Richardson by 1 percent over Robert Sprague. Stigma no more.

Ohio House: Dems gain 12 seats. Ohio Senate: Dems gain three.

U.S. House: Dems gain 30 seats. U.S. Senate: Dems gain two.


Desperate 'Bad Ted' Attack Ad Quickly Countered

The long anticipated DeWine attack ad on Cordray, linking the Democrat to the "failed" administration of Ted Strickland, was launched three weeks before the election. This represented the last desperate attempt by the Republicans to derail the surging Cordray campaign. The ads aped U.S. Sen. Rob Portman's $60 million "Ted was a bad governor and left Ohio in the lurch" broadside of 2016 that did in Strickland.

Within a day the Democrats were up with the answer, an ad featuring professional women bemoaning negative attack ads and urging a vote for Cordray. The ancient history pushed by the GOP pales in comparison with the ECOT debacle and Republicans' current Statehouse corruption.



  • The $180 million down the drain via ECOT may be the tip of the iceberg. Its replacement as Ohio's largest online charter school, the Ohio Virtual Academy, apparently has many of the same accountability problems. State Rep. Teresa Fedor has called out the Maumee-based institution for attendance padding, a poor academic record and making donations to Republican political causes.

  • Sore loser Melanie Leneghan has finally, grudgingly stated on social media that she will vote for fellow Republican Troy Balderson in OH 12 November 6. After losing the primaries to him, losing a court challenge of the results, and vowing not to vote for him, Leneghan came around to support Balderson for Congress, but only with the understanding that he must be defeated in the primary in 2020.  Profiles in courage, indeed.

  • Ohio Department of Education blows $1.5 million for a tool to help businesses tap expertise at Ohio's universities. Google is free.

  •, The Portage County Tea Party, and intrepid journalist John Michael Spinelli had their day in the Sixth U.S. District Court of Appeals. They are contesting a portion of an Ohio law that criminalizes abusing and harassing speech on the internet on Freedom of Speech grounds. A decision will be forthcoming.

  • Dispatch cartoonist Nate Beeler keeps churning out racist and sexist cartoons. He gets a free pass to violate journalistic ethics while editors and reporters are constrained.

  • National Johnny Kasich is not around much. summed it up: "Kasich's Ohio Residency Questioned." Anybody miss him?


(Please send your comments and suggestions for future columns to John K. Hartman,

(ColumbusMediaInsider, copyright, 2018, John K. Hartman, All Rights Reserved)


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