Words Columbus Media Insider with the M looking like broken glass

Having lost the governorship and other statewide offices in 2018, Ohio Democrats have a chance to reassert themselves in state government in 2020 by capturing two Republican-held seats on the Ohio Supreme Court.

Democrats Michael Donnelly and Melody Stewart were elected justices in 2018, shrinking the GOP majority to five-two. If Democrats knock off GOP justices Sharon Kennedy and Judith French, they would control the state's highest court by four-three.

It would mark the first time Democrats have led any of the three branches of Ohio government since 2010.

Such a stunning reversal of fortune would augur well for 2022 when the statewide administrative offices are on the ballot again and when redistricted and reapportioned state and federal legislative boundaries will improve Democrats' prospects of, among other things, retaking the Ohio House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, 2020 features a Presidential election the likes of which we have never seen before and may never see again, which is likely to affect races lower on the ballot.

The smart money, the Wall Street crowd, keeps telling us that President Trump is likely to be re-elected. This is self-serving advice because Trump has been good for the stock market and the Wall Street crowd makes more from us peons when the market is up.

The pollsters have another take. Trump's approval-disapproval rating has been under water, a remarkably consistent 42-52 percent, for two years. His approval rating in Ohio is almost identically bad. A recent poll showed Democrat Joe Biden thumping Trump by eight percent in Ohio.

What is happening to Trump reminds me of the woes of Presidents Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush. Both fell out of favor with the public and never recovered no matter what they did.

I believe Trump is in the same boat as Carter and Bush – incapable of improving his popularity. He has offended too many people in too many ways.

Enter Biden, whose popularity in Ohio rivals Sen. Sherrod Brown, the only Democrat to win a statewide non-judicial race last year. (By the way, Brown is rumored to be thinking about re-entering the presidential derby.)

Biden beats Trump with numbers outside the margin of error, not only in Ohio, but also in many of the other 15 battleground states that will decide the presidency.

Biden at the top of the ticket in Ohio (I am not endorsing, but I am just sayin') would have the "legs" capable of carrying Democrats in lesser races across the finish line.

And even though Ohio does not allow the party label to appear on judicial races in the general election, a solid campaign and publicity effort like what was done for Donnelly and Stewart last year could put two Democratic candidates for Ohio Supreme Court over the top. Democrats running for legislative and county offices would benefit from Biden's coattails, too.

Who are the best Democrats to run for the Supreme Court?

I put Richard Cordray, who lost for governor last year, at the top of my list. People want brains, competence and probity. Cordray has them in large supply.

Mike Coleman, former Columbus mayor turned rain-making Columbus attorney, has a keen legal mind and the name recognition and popularity to carry the day.

Kathleen Clyde, former state legislator, unsuccessful candidate for secretary of state and Portage County Commissioner, has a great legal mind and a statewide following. Her northeast Ohio ties would balance the ticket. 

Get Ready To Scrape Well-Known Name Off Buildings

You do not have to be a brain surgeon to see that the name of a well-known local billionaire philanthropist will soon be scraped off a number of buildings around town.

There are not enough public relations geniuses around to save you know who.

As our mothers said, "Birds of a feather flock together."

Council, Dispatch Oppose Citizen Vote On Tax Hike

It is clear that Columbus City Council and the Columbus Dispatch do not respect the people they purport to serve.

More than 10,000 valid signatures were collected to force a vote on the entertainment tax, but the "city fathers" found a technicality to keep the measure from going to the voters and the Dispatch winked its assent.


The Columbus Board of Education should have sold WCBE-FM for $3-5 million and paid off the $870,000 debt with the proceeds instead of paying the debt and now "thinking" of selling the station. Likely buyer: WOSU Public Media.

All the bad stuff about ECOT has been FORGOTTEN as the state legislature and governor ease regulations and pump more public school money into dubious charter schools.

The new state budget is GOP business as usual. Dems largely excluded.

No more double newsprint latte. Starbucks soon won't sell newspapers.

(Send your comments and suggestions to John K. Hartman,

(ColumbusMediaInsider, copyright, 2019, John K. Hartman, All Rights Reserved)

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